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Legal Definition and Related Resources of Attainder

Meaning of Attainder

A form of punishment for treason or felony , now abolished in England, whereby the convicted person ‘s civil rights and capacities were extinguished. In the United States the doctrine of attainder is rarely known, being primarily of historic interest . Acts of attainder were passed by several States after the revolution .

Attainder Alternative Definition

That extinction of civil rights and capacities which takes place whenever a person who has committed treason or felony receives sentence of death for his crime. 1 Steph. Comm. 408; 1 Bish. Crim. Law, § 641. Attainder by confession is either by pleading guilty at the bar before the judges, and not putting one’s self on one’s trial by a jury, or before the coroner in sanctuary, when, in ancient times, the offender was obliged to abjure the realm. Attainder by verdict is when the prisoner afe the bar pleads not guilty to the indictment, and is pronounced guilty by the verdict of the jury. Attainder by process or outlawry is when the party flies, and is subsequently outlawed. Co. Litt. 391. The efifect of attainder upon a felon is, in general terms, that all his estate, real and personal, is forfeited; that his blood is corrupted, and so nothing passes by inheritance to, from, or through him (1 Wm. Saund. 361, note; 6 Coke, 63a, 68b; 2 Rob. Ecc. 547; 24 Eng. Law & Eq. 598) ; that he cannot sue in a court of justice (Co. Litt. 130a). See 2 Gibbett, Crim. Law; 1 Bish. Crim. Law, § 641.

Related Entries of Attainder in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Attainder in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Attainder in Historical Law

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Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

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This definition of Attainder is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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This term is a noun.

Etimology of Attainder

(You may find attainder at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

mid-15c., in law, “extinction of rights of a person sentenced to death or outlawry,” from noun use of Old French ataindre “to touch upon; strike, hit; seize; accuse, condemn” (see attain). For use of French infinitives as nouns, especially in legal language, see waiver.


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