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

    Substitution; the substitution of a lesser punishment.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In criminal law. Change; substitution. The substitution of one punishment for another, after conviction of the party subject to it. The change of a punishment from a greater to a less; as from hanging to imprisonment. Commutation of a punishment is not a conditional pardon, but the substitution of a lower for a higher grade of punishment, and is presumed to be for the culprit's benefit In re Victor, 31 Ohio St. 207; Ex parte Janes, 1 Nev. 321; Rich v. Chamberlain, 107 Mich. 381, 65 N. W. 235. In civil matters. The conversion of the right to receive a variable or periodical payment into the right to receive a fixed or gross payment. Commutation may be effected by private agreement, but It is usually done under a statute.
    —Commutation of taxes. Payment of a designated lump sum (permanent or annual) for the privilege of exemption from taxes, or the settlement in advance of a specific sum in lieu of an ad valorem tax. Cotton Mfg. Co. v. New Orleans, 31 La. Ann. 440.
    —Commutation of tithes. Signifies the conversion of tithes into a fixed payment in money.
    —Commutation ticket. A railroad ticket giving the holder the right to travel at a certnin rate for a limited number of trips (or for an, unlimited number within a certain period of time) for a less amount than would be pnid in the aggregate for so many separate trips. Interstate Commerce Com'n v. Baltimore & O. B. Co.. (C. C.) 43 Fed. 56.