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

    Discharge; release; exoneration.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In contracts. A release, absolution or discharge from an obligation, liability or engagement. In criminal practice. The legal and formal certification of the innocence of a person who has been charged with crime; a deliverance or setting free a person from a charge of gulit In a narrow sense, it is the absolution of a party accused on a trini before a traverse jury. Thomas v. De Graffenreid, 2 Nott & MeC. (S. Ct) 143; Teague v. Wiiks, 3 McCord (S. C.) 46L Properly speaking, however, one is not acquitted by the jury but by the judgment of the court. Burgess v. Boetefeur, 7 Man. & G. 481, 504; People v. Lyman, 53 App. Div. 470, 65 N. Y. Supp. 1062. And he may be legally acquitted by a judgment rendered otherwise than in pursuance of a verdict, as where he is discharged by a magistrate because of the insufficiency of the evidence, or the indictment is dismissed by the court or a nol. pros, entered. Junction City v. Keeffe, 40 Kan. 275, 19 Pac. 735; People v. Lyman, 53 App. Div. 470, 65 N. Y. Supp. 1062; Lee v. State, 26 Ark. 260, 7 Am. Rep. 611; Morgan County v. Johnson, 81 Ind. 463. But compare Wilson v. Com., 3 Bush (Ky.) 105; State v. Champeau, 52 Vt. 813, 315, 36 Am. Rep. 754. Acquittals in fact are those which take place when the jury, upon trial, finds a verdict of not guilty. Acquittals in law are those which take place by mere operation of law; as where a man bas been charged merely as an accessary, and the principal has been acquitted. 2 Co. Inst. 364. In feudal law. The obligation on the part of a mesne lord to protect his tenant from any claims, entries, or molestations by lords paramount arising out of the services due to them by the mesne lord. See Co. Litt. 100a.