A court order requiring explanation to a judge why a prisoner is being held in custody.
Ex Post Facto Law
A retroactive criminal law that works to the disadvantage of a person.
Due Process Clause
A clause in the 5th Amendment limiting the power of the national govt.; a simial clause in the 14th Amendment prohibiting state govts. from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
The process by which provisions of the Bill of Rights are brought within the scope of the 14th Amendment and so applied to state and local govts.
A clause in the 1st Amendment that states that Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion. The Supreme Court has interpreted this to forbid governmental support to any or all religions.
Money that the govt. provides to parents to pay their children's tuition in a public or private school of their choice.
Free Exercise Clause
A clause in the 1st Amendment that states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
Bad Tendency Test
An interpretation of the 1st Amendment that would permit legislatures to forbid speech encouraging people to engage in illegal action.
Clear and Present Danger Test
An interpretation of the 1st Amendment that holds that govt. cannot interfere with speech unless the speech presents a clear and present danger that it will lead to evil or illegal acts.
Preferred Position Doctrine
An interpretation of the 1st Amendment that holds that freedom of expression is so essential to democracy that govts. should not punish persons for what they say, only for what they do.
Libel, obscenity, fighting words, and commercial speech, which are not entitled to constitutional protection in all circumstances.
Censorship imposed before a speech is made or a newspaper is published; usually presumed to be unconstitutional.
Content - or Viewpoint-neutrality
Laws that apply to all kinds of speech and to all views, not just that which is unpopular or divisive.
Written defamation of another person. For public officials and public figures, the constitutional tests designed to restrict libel actions are especially rigid.
The quality or state of a work that taken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest in sex by depicting sexual content in a patently offensive way and that lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Words that by their very nature inflict injury on those to whom they are addressed or incite them to acts of violence.
Advertisements and commercials for products and services; they receive less 1st Amendment protection, primarily to discourage false and misleading ads.
Deliberate refusal to obey a law or comply with the orders of public officials as a means of expressing opposition.
The rights of an individual to own, use, rent, invest in, buy, and sell property.
The power of a govt. to take private property for public use; the U.S. Constitution gives national and state govts. this power and requires them to provide just compensation for property so taken.
A govt. regulation that effectively takes land by restricting its use, even if it remains in the owner's name.
Established rules and regulations that restrain govt. officials.
Procedural Due Process
A constitutional requirement that govts. proceed by proper methods; limits how govt. may exercise power.
Substantive Due Process
A constitutional requirement that govts. act reasonably and that the substances of the laws themselves be fair and reasonable; limits what a govt. may do.
A writ by a magistrate that authorizes the police to search a particular place or person, specifying the place to be searched and the objects to be seized.
A requirement that evidence unconstitutionally or illegally obtained be excluded from a criminal trial.
A jury of 12 to 23 persons who, in private, hear evidence presented by the govt. to determine whether persons shall be required to stand trial. If the jury believes there is sufficient evidence that a crime was committed, it issues an indictment.
A formal written statement from a grand jury charging an individual with a offense; also called a true bill.
An agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser offense to avoid having to stand trial for a more serious offense.
A jury of 6 to 12 persons that determines guilt or innocence in a civil or criminal action.
Trial or punishment for the same crime by the same govt.; forbidden by the Constitution.