Legal technicality

The term legal technicality is a casual or colloquial phrase referring to a technical aspect of law. The phrase is not a term of art in the law; it has no exact meaning, nor does it have a legal definition. It implies that strict adherence to the letter of the law has prevented the spirit of the law from being enforced. However, as a vague term, the definition of a technicality varies from person to person, and it is often simply used to denote any portion of the law that interferes with the outcome desired by the user of the term.[1]

Some legal technicalities govern legal procedure, enable or restrict access to courts, and/or enable or limit the discretion of a court in handing down judgment. These are aspects of procedural law. Other legal technicalities deal with aspects of substantive law, that is, aspects of the law that articulate specific criteria that a court uses to assess a party's compliance with or violation of, for example, one or more criminal laws or civil laws.[2]

See also


  1. ^ An example: In the case of U.S. v. Shipp, 214 US 386 (1909), the U.S. Supreme Court quoted a local newspaper as follows:
    • “In the News, published the evening of March 19, there was an editorial reviewing the local proceedings, which concluded: 'All of this delay is aggravating to the community. The people of Chattanooga believe that Johnson is guilty, and that he ought to suffer the penalty of the law as speedily as possible. If by legal technicality the case is prolonged and the culprit finally escapes, there will be no use to plead with a mob here if another such crime is committed. Such delays are largely responsible for mob violence all over the country.'”(U.S. v. SHIPP, 1909) The newspaper plainly was using the phrase "legal technicality" to refer to technical aspects of the law which the newspaper's editorial staff saw as an obstacle to its preferred outcome.
  2. ^ In the U.S., for example, the Supreme Court has used the informal phrase "legal technicality" in its decisions 13 times in the last century. In every case the use of the words refers to merely "technicalities of the law". The three most recent uses are illustrative:
    • (1) “The function of counsel as a guide through complex legal technicalities long has been recognized by this Court.” (U.S. v. Ash, 1973)
    • (2) ”Furthermore, during the federal habeas corpus hearing Davis showed his awareness of legal technicalities.”(used in a footnote, Davis v. North Carolina, 1966)
    • (3) ”If recovery were denied in this case, the railroads, by the simple expedient of doing each other's work, could tie their employees up in legal technicalities..." (Shenker v. Baltimore and Ohio R.Co., 1963)
Bandamanna saga

Bandamanna saga (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈpantamanːa saɣa]listen ) is one of the sagas of Icelanders. It is the only saga in this category that takes place exclusively after the adoption of Christianity in the year 1000.

The story starts with the relationship between Odd son of Ofeig and Ospak son of Glum; Ospak is the nephew of Grettir. Odd, with little help from his father, became rich and Ospak was known for his difficult character. Ospak asks to live with Odd at the latter's home; Odd agrees because of Ospak's connections even though he is aware of the man's reputation. Things go well until Odd wants to make a trading trip. He has to talk Ospak into becoming his steward and priest, although Ospak actually wants to do those things. While Odd is away, Ospak woos a rich woman named Svala and moves to her lands after a falling-out with Odd over the priesthood after Odd comes home.

Although everything went fine while Odd was away, after Ospak moves out Odd's animals start to go missing and Vali, who was raised by Odd's father and now lives with Odd, promises to find out if Ospak stole them as Odd suspects. Vali tells Ospak that he is suspected, and is killed later when he and Odd visit Ospak's home by mistake for Odd. Odd tries to bring Ospak to trial but makes a legal mistake and fails.

Going home disappointed, Odd meets his father, who promises to take on the case if paid what Odd would have paid anybody else who could have fixed things. Ofeig gets the jurymen to agree to do what they want to do, condemn somebody as infamous as Ospak, and get paid into the bargain, in spite of the legal technicality.

The bribe is suspected by Thorarin, father of Ospak's wife, and his friend Styrmir, and they form a band and swear an oath with six other men to take Odd to court and hopefully fine him of all his money.

The rest of the story is about Ofeig's handling of the case and its outcome. Ofeig, very skillfully, convinces two of the other six men conspiring against Odd (the six men being known as the "Confederates") into helping them instead with even more bribery, convincing them that they will get no money because Odd is already gone, that they will look like embarrassed fools when they are caught and promises one of them that Odd will marry one of their daughters (works out for Odd). They agree and Ofeig convinces the court that if they are allowed one thing in this court case (where 6 (the Confederates) against 1 (Odd) is unconventional) it is that at least Ofeig can choose 2 of the men within the Confederates to decide the case and punishment. As previously agreed by Ofeig and the 2 men, they find him guilty but charge him very minimally. Thus, they (the two Confederates) do not break their oaths with the other Confederates and still get money. All parties but the remaining conspirators win.

Bible Believers

Bible Believers is the antisemitic website of the Bible Believers' Church of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Not to be confused with "Whole Bible Believers" which is based in the US.

Because the website reprints antisemitic material such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Henry Ford’s The International Jew, and Holocaust denial material from authors such as Bradley Smith and Mark Weber, a complaint was lodged under Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act. In 2007, Justice Richard Conti of the Federal Court of Australia ordered Anthony Grigor-Scott to remove from the website antisemitic claims that Jews deliberately exaggerated the number of Jews killed during World War II. However, the order was overturned on appeal due to a legal technicality: "Bible Believers Church" could not be sued, since it lacked legal personality, and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cth) (HREOC Act) would not permit (in the same proceeding) its substitution with another defendant who could be.Bible Believers were described as "[o]ne of the most visible of the plethora of eccentric pseudo-Christian groups in Australia" and "extremist" by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) in their 2008 report on antisemitism in Australia.The church is run by Anthony Grigor-Scott.

Commonwealth v. Twitchell

Commonwealth v. Twitchell, 416 Mass. 114, 617 N.E.2d 609 (1993), was the most prominent of a series of criminal cases, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in which parents who were members of the Christian Science church were prosecuted for the deaths of children whose medical conditions had been treated only by Christian Science prayer.

In 1988, Massachusetts prosecutors charged David and Ginger Twitchell with manslaughter in the 1986 death of their two-year-old son Robyn. Robyn Twitchell died of a peritonitis caused by a bowel obstruction that medical professionals declared would have been easily correctable.

The Twitchells' defense contended that the couple were within their First Amendment rights to treat their son's illness with prayer and that Massachusetts had recognized this right in an exemption to the statute outlawing child neglect.

The Twitchells were convicted of involuntary manslaughter. They were sentenced to ten years probation and required to bring their remaining children to regular visits to a pediatrician. The conviction was overturned in 1993 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on a legal technicality. Robert Gittens, speaking for the prosecutors' office commented, "the law is now clear: parents cannot sacrifice the lives of their children in the name of religious freedom."

Dempsey (dog)

Dempsey (ca. 1986 - 2003) was a female American Pit Bull Terrier who was the subject of a high-profile challenge to the British Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. She was owned by Dianne Fanneran and lived in London.

While being walked one evening in April 1992, muzzled and kept on a lead in accordance with the law, she began acting sick and her muzzle was removed, allegedly to allow her to vomit.

Two passing police officers noted the unmuzzled dog and charged the caretaker under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Three months later, at Ealing Magistrates' Court, Dempsey was ordered to be euthanised for failing to be muzzled in a public place.

Appeals took three years before the Crown Court, the High Court and the House of Lords, during which time the media covered the story, not least Auberon Waugh in his Way of the World column in The Daily Telegraph. Animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot offered the dog sanctuary at her home in France, to avoid British law.The case was dismissed in November 1995 on a legal technicality, as it emerged that Dempsey's owner, not involved in the original incident, was unaware that the court hearing was taking place. This legal loophole meant the case was thrown out.

Dempsey was reprieved and died at the age of 17 in 2003.

Exclusionary rule

In the United States, the exclusionary rule is a legal rule, based on constitutional law, that prevents evidence collected or analyzed in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights from being used in a court of law. This may be considered an example of a prophylactic rule formulated by the judiciary in order to protect a constitutional right. The exclusionary rule may also, in some circumstances at least, be considered to follow directly from the constitutional language, such as the Fifth Amendment's command that no person "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself" and that no person "shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law"."The exclusionary rule is grounded in the Fourth Amendment and it is intended to protect citizens from illegal searches and seizures." The exclusionary rule is also designed to provide a remedy and disincentive, which is short of criminal prosecution in response to prosecutors and police who illegally gather evidence in violation of the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights compelled to self-incrimination. The exclusionary rule also protects against violations of the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the right to counsel.

Most states also have their own exclusionary remedies for illegally obtained evidence under their state constitutions and/or statutes, some of which predate the federal constitutional guarantees against unlawful searches and seizures and compelled self-incrimination.This rule is occasionally referred to as a legal technicality because it allows defendants a defense that does not address whether the crime was actually committed. In this respect, it is similar to the explicit rule in the Fifth Amendment protecting people from double jeopardy.

In strict cases, when an illegal action is used by police/prosecution to gain any incriminating result, all evidence whose recovery stemmed from the illegal action—this evidence is known as "fruit of the poisonous tree"—can be thrown out from a jury (or be grounds for a mistrial if too much information has been irrevocably revealed).

The exclusionary rule applies to all persons within the United States regardless of whether they are citizens, immigrants (legal or illegal), or visitors.

Fine print

Fine print, small print, or "mouseprint" is less noticeable print smaller than the more obvious larger print it accompanies that advertises or otherwise describes or partially describes a commercial product or service. The larger print that is used in conjunction with fine print by the merchant often has the effect of deceiving the consumer into believing the offer is more advantageous than it really is. This may satisfy a legal technicality which requires full disclosure of all (even unfavorable) terms or conditions, but does not specify the manner (size, typeface, coloring, etc.) of disclosure. There is strong evidence that suggests the fine print is not read by the majority of consumers.Fine print may say the opposite of what the larger print says. For example, if the larger print says "pre-approved" the fine print might say "subject to approval". Especially in pharmaceutical advertisements, fine print may accompany a warning message, but this message is often neutralized by the more eye-catching positive images and pleasant background music (eye candy). Sometimes television advertisements flash text fine print in camouflagic colors, and for brief periods of time, making it difficult or impossible for the viewer to read.

The use of fine print is a common advertising technique in certain market niches, particularly those of high-margin specialty products or services uncompetitive with those in the mainstream market. The practice, for example, can be used to mislead the consumer about an item's price or value, or the nutritional content of a food product.US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations state that, for an advertised offer to be lawful, the terms of the offer must be clear and conspicuous, not relegated to fine print.

Frederick escape

The Frederick escape was an 1834 incident in which the brig Frederick was hijacked by ten Australian convicts and used to abscond to Chile, where they lived freely for two years. Four of the convicts were later recaptured and returned to Australia, where they escaped the death sentence for piracy through a legal technicality.

High Mountain Rangers

High Mountain Rangers was a weekly television series about a group of highly trained wilderness search and rescue/law enforcement officers in Tahoe, Nevada.

It starred Robert Conrad as Jesse Hawkes and also starred his two sons, Christian Conrad and Shane Conrad. Robert's daughter Joan was the executive producer. 12 episodes were broadcast, from January 2, 1988 until April 9, 1988 on CBS, before the show was cancelled. The series also had a spin-off titled Jesse Hawkes.

The series was centered on Jesse Hawkes, an ex-Marine who started the High Mountain Rangers 35 years before the pilot. He retired after hauling his long-time nemesis, murderous criminal mastermind T.J. Cousins, to justice. Spared the death penalty on a legal technicality, Cousins instead was given life imprisonment without eligibility for parole. Meanwhile, Jesse's eldest son Matt tries out for the HMRs and eventually becomes the team's #2 Ranger...after Merlin, who has succeeded Jesse as director. Then Cousins gets broken out of jail by his hoods, and fatally ambushes Merlin. Now, as the team's third director, Matt urges his father out of retirement to help the Rangers recapture Cousins.

Hisham Talaat Moustafa

Hisham Talat Moustafa (Arabic: هشام طلعت مصطفى‎) is an Egyptian businessman who had been elected in 2004 to the Shura Council in the Parliament of Egypt. As the former chairman and head of the Real Estate Branch of the Talaat Moustafa Group, his net worth was estimated at $800 million in 2007. He was arrested on September 2, 2008 and found guilty on May 21, 2009 for his involvement in the murder of Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim, but his sentence to death by hanging was overturned on a legal technicality. Following a retrial in 2010, he was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment. Moustafa was released after 9 years on June 23, 2017 after receiving a presidential pardon.

Korea Super Prix

The International Formula 3 Korea Super Prix was a Formula Three race held annually on the streets of Changwon, Republic of Korea between 1999 and 2003. The event enjoyed brief success as a sister 'flyaway' event to complement the season-ending Macau Grand Prix, before being replaced in 2004 with an ultimately one-off Bahrain Superprix at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The Korea Super Prix was due to make a return in 2010, at the new Korea International Circuit, but this was cancelled due to "a legal technicality with the circuit" which surfaced just a few weeks before the race was due to run.

L. H. Musgrove

L. H. Musgrove (lynched November 23, 1868) was an outlaw of the American West who was sprung from jail in Denver, Colorado, and hanged by a vigilante mob. Over a number of years, he was charged with several murders and the theft of horses.Musgrove was born in Como in Panola County in northwestern Mississippi. He left the American South to join the California Gold Rush, perhaps in the early 1850s. He killed several men in Wyoming, Nevada, and California. He is known to have traveled on the Overland Trail during the Civil War, when in 1863, he was arrested for murder at Fort Halleck, Wyoming. He was then taken to Denver, where he was freed on a legal technicality. Musgrove then directed a network of horse and cattle thieves who raided government posts and wagon trains along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and followed the Cherokee Trail into Wyoming. Many of the thefts were blamed on Native Americans, and Musgrove was known on occasion to disguise himself as an Indian to thwart law enforcement officers. Profits were particularly large, compared to wages that rarely exceeded $2 per day at that time. Musgrove established his headquarters in the previously abandoned Bonner Springs stagecoach station, a natural rock fortress which provided easy access to northern Colorado and southern Wyoming.Captured horse thieves in the West were usually quickly hanged from a tree or a telegraph. Musgrove was apprehended, handcuffed, and taken to the Larimer Street prison in Denver. He predicted that he would soon escape, words which ignited the community. A vigilance committee of some fifty citizens encountered no resistance from prison guards as they removed Musgrove from confinement. Musgrove was stood on a wagon, a noose was placed about his neck, and the driver pushed away the wagon to bring about the execution.Before the wagon was removed from under Musgrove's feet, he was allowed time to write some letters, and he was permitted to finish his cigarette, which said one source he "did in the most nonchalant manner." Another source says that Musgrove "calmly puffed a cigar to its bitter butt."In 1955, in the final episode of the syndicated television series Stories of the Century, starring and narrated by Jim Davis, Musgrove is portrayed by John Archer. In the story plot, Musgrove steals a herd of horses from a railroad stockyard to use as collateral to buy ranch land in Colorado. Jim Davis as fictional railroad detective Matt Clark tracks the stolen herd, while his co-star Kristine Miller as Jonesy investigates a murder at the railroad telegraph office. The detectives soon suspect that both matters are related.Early in his career, the American artist and sculptor Alexander Phimister Proctor did a drawing of Musgrove's lynching.

Northeast 130th Street Beach

Northeast 130th Street Beach is a 60-foot-wide (18 m) public beach in Seattle on Lake Washington located at the eastern end of NE 130th Street in Lake City. The beach was a source of controversy when after 82 years of public access, a fence was put by the owners of the two adjoining properties after they discovered a legal technicality that gave them ownership of the segment.

Oswald Danes

Oswald Danes is a fictional character in the science fiction series Torchwood, created by Russell T. Davies and portrayed by American actor Bill Pullman. The character was promoted as one of five new main characters to join Torchwood in its fourth series, Torchwood: Miracle Day (2011), as part of a new co-production between Torchwood's British network, BBC One, and its American financiers on US premium television network Starz. Pullman appears in eight of the ten episodes, and is credited as a series regular. Whilst reaction to the serial and Pullman's character was mixed, Pullman's portrayal was praised by critics and in 2012 he received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor on Television.

Danes is a former schoolteacher who molested several of the little girls he taught, and eventually killed one of them. He was sentenced to death, but on the day of his execution - the so-called Miracle Day, when death ceases worldwide - Danes survives his own lethal injection. His survival draws global attention, and he subsequently is released from prison on a legal technicality. After being offered both exposure and protection by Public Relations expert Jilly Kitzinger (Lauren Ambrose), he becomes her client, which helps him gain more publicity. Following a series of events he ends up aiding Torchwood, a team composed of two former alien-hunters and two former CIA agents, on their mission to restore death to the world. Danes is killed off in the final episode of the series; when death is restored he takes one of the Torchwood team's enemies out in a murder–suicide.

Critics commented upon the character's resemblance both to horror film killers such as Freddy Krueger and Hannibal Lecter, as well as to American Evangelists and to the biblical Jesus Christ. The series also follows Danes' rise and fall in the public eye and the precariousness of fame. Though critics questioned the wisdom of having a pedophile as a character, the show's creative team was adamant that they had deliberately made him unlikable. In killing the character off, the creative team did not wish to suggest that the character had been redeemed for his earlier crimes, and made sure that this was emphasised even in his final act of self-sacrifice. Pullman has expressed interest in reprising the role in a future Torchwood series.

Parish of the Falkland Islands

The Parish of the Falkland Islands is an extra-provincial church in the Anglican Communion. In 1869, the "Diocese of the Falkland Isles" with jurisdiction over the rest of South America except for British Guyana was established. The name was due to a legal technicality: at that time there was no way an English bishop could be consecrated for areas outside the jurisdiction of the Crown. From the start, the bishop resided in Buenos Aires and had his administrative office there. From 1902 to 1973, the jurisdiction of the diocese was progressively reduced in area as more dioceses were established in South America and after the formation of the "Consejo Anglicano Sudamericano" in 1973 as a step towards the formation of a new province of the Anglican Communion the Parish became extra-provincial under the direct jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Until the war between Britain and Argentina in 1982, at the Archbishop's request episcopal functions were performed by the Anglican Bishop of Argentina.

Scott McCarron

Scott Michael McCarron (born July 10, 1965) is an American professional golfer who was formerly a member of the PGA Tour but now plays on the PGA Tour Champions.

McCarron was born in Sacramento, California and graduated from Vintage High School in Napa, California. He was a member of the golf team at UCLA, graduating in 1988 with a major in History. Unlike most golfers, McCarron did not transition right away from the college to the professional ranks – he gave up golf for four years (1988–1992) to work with his father in the family golf apparel business. He turned professional in 1992, and joined the PGA Tour in 1994.

McCarron won three times on the PGA Tour, with his victories coming in 1996, 1997 and 2001.McCarron has featured in the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking.

McCarron was injured in the summer of 2006 and missed the entire 2007 season. He served as an analyst for The Golf Channel for its 2007 Masters coverage. He returned to the PGA Tour in 2008 and finished 108th on the money list to retain his card for 2009.

In 2010, McCarron became embroiled in controversy when he accused fellow PGA Tour player Phil Mickelson of "cheating" for using a Ping-Eye 2 wedge made before April 1, 1990 that is allowed under a legal technicality. McCarron publicly apologized to Mickelson a few days later. Thirty days later, the PGA Tour and USGA banned the use of the Ping-Eye 2 wedges.

McCarron has won nine times on the PGA Tour Champions, including one senior major, the 2017 Constellation Senior Players Championship. He made up a six shot deficit in the final round to claim his maiden major by one shot.


Technical may refer to:

Technical (vehicle), a fighting vehicle based on a pickup truck

Technical analysis, a discipline for forecasting the future direction of prices through the study of past market data

Technical drawing, also known as drafting

Technical death metal, a subgenre of death metal that focuses on complex rhythms, riffs, and song structures

Technical foul, an infraction of the rules in basketball usually concerning unsportsmanlike non-contact behavior

Technical rehearsal for a performance, often simply referred to as a "technical"

Technical support, a range of services providing assistance with technology products

Vocational education, often known as "technical education"

Legal technicality, an aspect of law

Tomcats (1977 film)

Tomcats is a 1977 American film directed by Harry E. Kerwin and starring Chris Mulkey, Polly King, Wayne Crawford, and William Kerwin. It was also known as Deadbeat, Getting Even and Avenged.Filmed and set in Miami, Florida, the film details the actions of four amoral and degenerate thugs, named M.J., Johnny, Billy, and Curly, whom travel around robbing, gang raping and murdering young women. When they are arrested but get away with their crimes on a legal technicality, the older brother of one of their victims, a law student named Cullen Garrett, decides to take the law into his own hands by stalking and killing the four thugs one by one.

When We Are Married (film)

When We Are Married is a 1943 British comedy-drama film directed by Lance Comfort and starring Sydney Howard, Raymond Huntley and Olga Lindo.The film is a screen version of the 1938 stage play by J. B. Priestley, in which three Edwardian Yorkshire couples, who were all married on the same day 25 years earlier, gather to celebrate their joint silver wedding anniversary, only to be told that due to a legal technicality, their marriages were not valid and that for the past quarter-century they have all effectively been living in sin. Some react with horror at potential scandal, while others glimpse the possibility of freedom from a deadbeat spouse, or regret potential loves that got away after they were "married". Much drama ensues as the couples each re-evaluate their respective marriages, but after grievances have been aired and new understandings forged, all ends happily. The Monthly Film Bulletin, known for its exacting standards, complimented the film as "an exceedingly amusing, if somewhat unkind, picture of a Yorkshire chapel-going fraternity...under the skilful direction of Lance Comfort all the cast bring the characters to life".

William Duff (dentist)

William John Duff (born January 1962) is a Scottish dentist from Kilbarchan in Renfrewshire who was jailed for three years (reduced on appeal to two years) for fraud and reckless endangerment in 2001.([1])

Duff worked for a number of dental practices in West Central Scotland in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was the recipient of a number of complaints (initially dismissed by authorities) about unnecessary dental work carried out on patients. It was later revealed in disciplinary and court proceedings that he also exposed his patients to infection from diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C due to his deliberate failure to follow standard sterilisation and hygiene procedures.

The issues surrounding the case were initially raised in the UK Parliament by Maria Fyfe MP for the Maryhill Constituency in Glasgow in series of debates in the British House of Commons.([2][3])

Duff was sentenced to three years imprisonment in February 2001 after pleading guilty to one charge of fraud, and one charge of reckless endangerment (15 Months for the first charge and 21 months for the second charge to run consecutively).

In June 2001 Duff appealed his sentence to the High Courts of the Justiciary in Scotland, although rejecting all the arguments put forward by his defense they agreed on a legal technicality that his sentence should be reduced to two years. The appellant judges did not disagree or dispute the findings of the original sentence.([4]).

In 2006 it was revealed that Duff was now working as a senior manager within the IT department of Inverclyde Council responsible for contract negotiation and implementation. He left this position suddenly in August 2007.

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