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anticipatory breach
n. when a party to a contract repudiates (reneges on) his/her obligations under that contract before fully performing those obligations. This can be by word ("I won't deliver the rest of the goods" or "I can't make any more payments") or by action (not showing up with goods or stopping payments). Th...
beyond a reasonable doubt
adj. part of jury instructions in all criminal trials, in which the jurors are told that they can only find the defendant guilty if they are convinced "beyond a reason- able doubt" of his or her guilt. Sometimes referred to as "to a moral certainty," the phrase is fraught with uncertainty as to mean...
1) n. literally, a break. A breach may be a failure to perform a contract (breaking its terms), failure to do one's duty (breach of duty, or breach of trust), causing a disturbance, threatening, or other violent acts which break public tranquility (breach of peace), illegally entering property (brea...
breach of contract
n. failing to perform any term of a contract, written or oral, without a legitimate legal excuse. This may include not completing a job, not paying in full or on time, failure to deliver all the goods, substituting inferior or significantly different goods, not providing a bond when required, being ...
breach of warranty
n. determination that a statement as to title of property, including real property or any goods, is proved to be untrue, whether intended as a falsehood or not. It can also apply to an assurance of quality of a product or item sold. The party making the warranty is liable to the party to whom the gu...
breaking and entering
n. 1) the criminal act of entering a residence or other enclosed property through the slightest amount of force (even pushing open a door), without authorization. If there is intent to commit a crime, this is burglary. If there is no such intent, the breaking and entering alone is probably at least ...
mens rea
(menz ray-ah) n. Latin for a "guilty mind," or criminal intent in committing the act.
not guilty by reason of insanity
n. plea in court of a person charged with a crime who admits the criminal act, but whose attorney claims he/she was so mentally disturbed at the time of the crime that he/she lacked the capacity to have intended to commit a crime. Such a plea requires that the court set a trial on the issue of insan...
real property
n. 1) all land, structures, firmly attached and integrated equipment (such as light fixtures or a well pump), anything growing on the land, and all "interests" in the property, which may include the right to future ownership (remainder), right to occupy for a period of time (tenancy or life estate),...
reasonable care
n. the degree of caution and concern for the safety of himself/herself and others an ordinarily prudent and rational person would use in the circumstances. This is a subjective test of determining if a person is negligent, meaning he/she did not exercise reasonable care.
n. the crime of betraying one's country, defined in Article III, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution: "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort." Treason requires overt acts and includes the giving o...
treasury bill
n. a promissory note issued in multiples of $10,000 by the U.S. Treasury with a maturity date of not more than one year.
treasury bond
n. a long-term bond issued by the U.S. Treasury.
treasury note
n. a promissory note issued by the U.S. Treasury, for a period of one to five years.
treasury stock
n. stock of a private corporation which was issued and then bought back by the corporation or otherwise reacquired by the corporation. Treasury stock held by a corporation earns dividends for the corporation, but the corporation may not cast votes in decision-making the way a regular shareholder wou...
unreasonable search and seizure
n. search of an individual or his/her premises (including an automobile) and/or seizure of evidence found in such a search by a law enforcement officer without a search warrant and without "probable cause" to believe evidence of a crime is present. Such a search and/or seizure is unconstitutional un...

The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications