Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    To bring a formal charge against a person, to the effect that he is guilty of a crime or punishable offense, before a court or magistrate having jurisdiction to inquire into the alleged crime. People v. Frey, 112 Mich. 251, 70 N. W. 548; People v. Braman, 30 Mich. 460; Castle v. Houston, 19 Kan. 426, 27 Am. Itep. 127; Gordon v. State, 102 Ga. 673, 29 S. E. 444; Pen. Code Texas, 1895, art. 240. In its popular sense "accusation" applies to all derogatory charges or imputations, whether or not they relate to a punishable legal offense, and however made, whether orally, by newspaper, or otherwise. State v. South. 5 Rich. Law (S. 0.) 489; Com. v. Andrews, 132 Mass. 263; People v. Braman, 30 Mich. 460. But in legal phraseology it ls limited to such accusations as have taken shape in a prosecution. United States v. Patterson, 150 U. S. 65, 14 Sup. Ct. 20, 37 In Ed. 999.