not guilty. 1. A defendant’s plea denying the crime charged. [Cases: Criminal Law 299. C.J.S. Criminal Law § 378.] 2. A jury verdict acquitting the defendant because the prosecution failed to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Cf. INNOCENT.
not guilty by reason of insanity. 1. A not-guilty verdict, based on mental illness, that usu. does not release the defendant but instead results in commitment to a mental institution. [Cases: Criminal Law 47. C.J.S. Criminal Law §§ 99–108.] 2. A criminal defendant’s plea of not guilty that is based on the insanity defense. — Abbr. NGRI. — Also termed not guilty on the ground of insanity. See INSANITY DEFENSE. [Cases: Criminal Law 286.5. C.J.S. Criminal Law § 380.]
3.Common-law pleading. A defendant’s plea denying both an act of trespass alleged in a plaintiff’s declaration and the plaintiff’s right to possess the property at issue. [Cases: Trespass 41. C.J.S. Trespass §§ 86–89.]“In trespass, whether to person or property, the general issue is ‘not guilty.’ It operates in the first place as a denial that the defendant committed the act of trespass alleged, to wit, the application of force to the plaintiff’s person, the entry on his land, or the taking or damages of his goods. It also denies the plaintiff’s possession, title, or right of possession of the land or goods.” Benjamin J. Shipman, Handbook of Common-Law Pleading § 170, at 307–08 (Henry Winthrop Ballantine ed., 3d ed. 1923).
not guilty by statute.Hist. Under certain acts of Parliament, the pleading form for a defendant’s general denial in a civil action. • This pleading form allowed a public officer to indicate action under a statute. The officer had to write the words “by statute” in the margin along with the year, chapter, and section of the applicable statute, and the defendant could not file any other defense without leave of court. The right to plead “not guilty by statute” was essentially removed by the Public Authorities Protection Act of 1893.
4. A general denial in an ejectment action. [Cases: Ejectment 68.C.J.S. Ejectment §§ 63–64.]“The general issue in ejectment is not guilty. This plea operates as follows: (1) As a denial of the unlawfulness of the withholding; i.e., of the plaintiff’s title and right of possession. (2) All defenses in excuse or discharge, including the statute of limitations, are available under the general issue in ejectment.” Benjamin J. Shipman, Handbook of Common-Law Pleading § 188, at 333 (Henry Winthrop Ballantine ed., 3d ed. 1923).
[Blacks Law 8th]