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n. A reason alleged for the doing or not doing a thing. A reason to justify an act or emission which relieves a person of their liability for the act. In criminal law, excuse defenses are duress, entrapment, insanity, infancy, and involuntary intoxication. This word presents two ideas differing essentially from each other. In one case an excuse may be made in, order to claim that the party accused is not guilty; in another, by showing that though guilty, he is less so, than he appears to be. Take, for example, the case of a sheriff who has an execution against an individual, and who in performance of his duty, arrests him; in an action by the defendant against the sheriff, the latter may prove the facts, and this shall be a sufficient excuse for him: this is an excuse of the first kind, or a complete justification; the sheriff was guilty of no offense.


But suppose, secondly, that the sheriff has an execution against Paul, and by mistake, and without any malicious design, be arrests Peter instead of Paul; the fact of his having the execution against Paul and the mistake being made, will not justify ...

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