motive. Something, esp. willful desire, that leads one to act. — Also termed ulterior intent. Cf.


“The term ‘motive’ is unfortunately ambiguous. That feeling which internally urges or pushes a person to do or refrain from doing an act is an emotion, and is of course evidential towards his doing or not doing the act. But when that evidential fact comes in turn to be evidenced, we must rely on two sorts of data, (a) the person’s own expressions of that emotion, e.g., ‘I hate M,’ or ‘I wish I owned that necklace’; and (b) external circumstances likely in human experience to arouse the emotion, e.g., a slander on D may be evidence that D became angry; a purse of money left in sight of D may be evidence that D’s desire to have it was aroused. Now this second sort of evidential circumstance (b) is loosely referred to as ‘motive,’ — though in reality it is only evidential of the emotion, which itself is evidential of the act.” John H. Wigmore, A Students’ Textbook of the Law of Evidence 76 (1935).

bad motive.A person’s knowledge that an act is wrongful while the person commits the act.

malicious motive.A motive for bringing a prosecution, other than to do justice. [Cases: Malicious Prosecution 30.]

[Blacks Law 8th]