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Outlawry

law whatever english conviction

A declaration under old ENGLISH LAW by which a person found in CONTEMPT on a civil or criminal process was considered an outlaw—that is, someone who is beyond the protection or assistance of the law.

During the Anglo-Saxon period of English history, a person who committed certain crimes lost whatever protection he or she had under the law, forfeited whatever property he or she owned, and could be killed by anyone. If the crime committed was TREASON or a felony, a declaration of outlawry was tantamount to a conviction and attainder. Outlawry for a misdemeanor did not, however, amount to a conviction for the offense. The Norman Conquest led to significant changes in the law governing outlawry, eventually leading to its abolition.

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