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

    A debit entry in an account; an accusation; an encumbrance or lien; a court’s instruction to a jury.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    n. In general. An incumbrance, lien or burden; an obligation or duty; a liability; an accusation. Darling v. Rogers, 22 Wend. (N. Y.) 491. In contracts. An obligation, binding upon him who enters into it, which may be removed or taken away by a disebarge. Termes de 1a Ley. An undertaking to keep the custody of another person's goods. State v. Clark, 86 Me. 194, 29 AH. 984. An obligation entered into by the owner of an estate, which binds the estate for its performance. Com. Dig. "Rent," c. 6; 2 Ball & B. 223. In the law of wills. A responsibility or liability imposed by the testator upon a devisee personally, or upon the land devised. In equity pleading. An allegation in the bill of matters which disprove or avoid a defense which it is alleged the defendant is supposed to pretend or intend to set up. Story, Eq. PI. § 31. In equity practice. A paper presented to a master in chancery by a party to a cause, being a written statement of the items with which the opposite party should be debited or should account for, or of the claim of the party making it. It is more comprehensive than a claim, which implies only the amount due to the person producing it, while a charge may embrace the whole liabilities of the accounting party. Hoff. Mast. 36. In common-law practice. The final address made by a judge to the jury trying a case, before they make up their verdict, in which he sums up the case, and instructs the jury as to the rules of law which apply to its various issues, and which they must observe, in deciding upon their verdict, when they shall have determined the controverted matters of fact. The term also applies to the address of the court to a grand jury, in which the latter are instructed as to their duties. In Scotch law. The command of the king's letters to perform some act; as a charge to enter heir. Also a messenger's execution, requiring a person to obey the order of the king's letters; as a charge on letters of horning, or a charge against a superior. Bell.
    —General charge. A charge or instruction by the court to the jury upon the case as a whole, or upon its general features or characteristics.
    —Special charge. A charge or instruction given by the court to the jury, upon some particular point or question involved in the case, and usually in response to counsel's request for such instruction.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    v. To impose a burden, ob-llgation. or lien; to create a claim against property; to claim, to demand; to accuse; to instruct a jury on matters of law. In the first sense above given, a jury in a criminal case is "charged" with the duty of trying the prisoner (or, as otherwise expressed, with his fate or his "deliverance") as soon as they are impaneled and sworn, and at this moment the prisoner's legal "jeopardy" begins. This is altogether a different matter from "charging" the jury in the sense of giving them instructions on matters of law, which is a function of the court. Tom-asson v. State, 112 Tenn. 596, 79 S. W. 803.