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felonies

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felonies


  1  definition  found 
 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
 
  Felony  \Fel"o*ny\,  n.;  pl  {Felonies}.  [OE.  felonie  cruelty,  OF 
  felonie,  F.  f['e]lonie  treachery,  malice.  See  {Felon},  n.] 
  1.  (Feudal  Law)  An  act  on  the  part  of  the  vassal  which  cost 
  him  his  fee  by  forfeiture.  --Burrill. 
 
  2.  (O.Eng.Law)  An  offense  which  occasions  a  total  forfeiture 
  either  lands  or  goods,  or  both  at  the  common  law,  and  to 
  which  capital  or  other  punishment  may  be  added,  according 
  to  the  degree  of  guilt. 
 
  3.  A  heinous  crime;  especially,  a  crime  punishable  by  death 
  or  imprisonment. 
 
  Note:  Forfeiture  for  crime  having  been  generally  abolished  in 
  the  United  States,  the  term  felony,  in  American  law, 
  has  lost  this  point  of  distinction;  and  its  meaning, 
  where  not  fixed  by  statute,  is  somewhat  vague  and 
  undefined;  generally,  however,  it  is  used  to  denote  an 
  offense  of  a  high  grade,  punishable  either  capitally  or 
  by  a  term  of  imprisonment.  In  Massachusetts,  by 
  statute,  any  crime  punishable  by  death  or  imprisonment 
  in  the  state  prison,  and  no  other  is  a  felony;  so  in 
  New  York.  the  tendency  now  is  to  obliterate  the 
  distinction  between  felonies  and  misdemeanors;  and  this 
  has  been  done  partially  in  England,  and  completely  in 
  some  of  the  States  of  the  Union.  The  distinction  is 
  purely  arbitrary,  and  its  entire  abolition  is  only  a 
  question  of  time. 
 
  Note:  There  is  no  lawyer  who  would  undertake  to  tell  what  a 
  felony  is  otherwise  than  by  enumerating  the  various 
  kinds  of  offenses  which  are  so  called  originally,  the 
  word  felony  had  a  meaning:  it  denoted  all  offenses  the 
  penalty  of  which  included  forfeiture  of  goods;  but 
  subsequent  acts  of  Parliament  have  declared  various 
  offenses  to  be  felonies,  without  enjoining  that 
  penalty,  and  have  taken  away  the  penalty  from  others 
  which  continue,  nevertheless,  to  be  called  felonies, 
  insomuch  that  the  acts  so  called  have  now  no  property 
  whatever  in  common,  save  that  of  being  unlawful  and 
  purnishable.  --J.  S.  Mill. 




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