plea, n. 1. An accused person’s formal response of “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest” to a criminal charge. — Also termed criminal plea. [Cases: Criminal Law 267–275. C.J.S. Criminal Law §§ 365–378, 384–408, 410–418.]
Alford plea. See ALFORD PLEA.
blind plea. A guilty plea made without the promise of a concession from either the judge or the prosecutor. Cf. negotiated plea.
conditional plea. A plea of guilty or nolo contendere entered with the court’s approval and the government’s consent, the defendant reserving the right to appeal any adverse determinations on one or more pretrial motions. • If an appeal is successful, the plea is withdrawn and a new one entered. Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(a)(2).
guilty plea. An accused person’s formal admission in court of having committed the charged offense. • A guilty plea is usu. part of a plea bargain. It must be made voluntarily, and only after the accused has been informed of and understands his or her rights. A guilty plea ordinarily has the same effect as a guilty verdict and conviction after a trial on the merits. [Cases: Criminal Law 272–274. C.J.S. Criminal Law §§ 365–374, 384–397, 400–407, 410.]
insanity plea. See INSANITY DEFENSE.
negotiated plea. The plea agreed to by a criminal defendant and the prosecutor in a plea bargain. See PLEA BARGAIN. Cf. blind plea. [Cases: Criminal Law 273.1(2). C.J.S. Criminal Law §§ 365–374.]
no-contest plea. See NO CONTEST.
nolo plea. A plea by which the defendant does not contest or admit guilt. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(b); NOLO CONTENDERE.
not-guilty plea. An accused person’s formal denial in court of having committed the charged offense. • The prosecution must then prove all elements of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt if the defendant is to be convicted. [Cases: Criminal Law 299. C.J.S. Criminal Law § 378.]
provident plea. Military law. A plea that is entered knowingly, intelligently, and consciously, and is legally and factually consistent and accurate. 2. At common law, the defendant’s responsive pleading in a civil action. Cf. DECLARATION(7). [Cases: Pleading 76–100, 101–111. C.J.S. Abatement and Revival §§ 2–3, 5, 9, 11–12, 16; Pleading §§ 159–162, 164, 166, 168–182, 202, 764, 769.] 3. A factual allegation offered in a case; a pleading. See DEMURRER.
affirmative plea. See pure plea.
anomalous plea. An equitable plea consisting in both affirmative and negative matter. • That is, it is partly confession and avoidance and partly traverse. The plea is appropriate when the plaintiff, in the bill, has anticipated the plea, and the defendant then traverses the anticipatory matters. — Also termed plea not pure. Cf. pure plea.
common plea. 1. A common-law plea in a civil action as opposed to a criminal prosecution. — Also termed common cause; common suit. 2. Hist. A plea made by a commoner.
“By ‘common pleas’ Magna Carta meant no more than ordinary pleas between commoners.” Alan Harding, A Social History of English Law 51 (1966).
dilatory plea (dil-<<schwa>>-tor-ee). A plea that does not challenge the merits of a case but that seeks to delay or defeat the action on procedural grounds. [Cases: Pleading 101–111.49. C.J.S. Abatement and Revival §§ 2–3, 5, 9, 11–12, 16; Pleading §§ 179–182.]
“Dilatory pleas are those which do not answer the general right of the plaintiff, either by denial or in confession and avoidance, but assert matter tending to defeat the particular action by resisting the plaintiff’s present right of recovery. They may be divided into two main classes: (1) Pleas to the jurisdiction and venue. (2) Pleas in abatement. A minor class, sometimes recognized, is pleas in suspension of the action.” Benjamin J. Shipman, Handbook of Common-Law Pleading § 220, at 382 (Henry Winthrop Ballantine ed., 3d ed. 1923).
double plea. A plea consisting in two or more distinct grounds of complaint or defense for the same issue. Cf. alternative pleading under PLEADING(2); DUPLICITY(2).
general plea. See general denial under DENIAL.
issuable plea. A plea on the merits presenting a complaint to the court. Cf. issuable defense under DEFENSE(1).
jurisdictional plea. A plea asserting that the court lacks jurisdiction either over the defendant or over the subject matter of the case. — Also termed plea to the jurisdiction. [Cases: Pleading 104. C.J.S. Pleading § 179.]
negative plea. A plea that traverses some material fact or facts stated in the bill. — Also termed plea to the action.
nonissuable plea. A plea on which a court ruling will not decide the case on the merits, such as a plea in abatement.
peremptory plea. A plea that responds to the merits of the plaintiff’s claim.
plea in abatement. A plea that objects to the place, time, or method of asserting the plaintiff’s claim but does not dispute the claim’s merits. • A defendant who successfully asserts a plea in abatement leaves the claim open for continuation in the current action or reassertion in a later action if the defect is cured. — Also termed abater. [Cases: Federal Civil Procedure 740; Pleading 106. C.J.S. Pleading § 180.]
plea in bar. See PLEA IN BAR.
plea in confession and avoidance. See CONFESSION AND AVOIDANCE.
plea in discharge. A plea alleging that the defendant has previously satisfied and discharged the plaintiff’s claim.
plea in equity. A special defense relying on one or more reasons why the suit should be dismissed, delayed, or barred. • The various kinds are (1) pleas to the jurisdiction, (2) pleas to the person, (3) pleas to the form of the bill, and (4) pleas in bar of the bill. Pleas in equity generally fall into two classes: pure pleas and anomalous pleas. plea in estoppel.
Common-law pleading. A plea that neither confesses nor avoids but rather pleads a previous inconsistent act, allegation, or denial on the part of the adverse party to preclude that party from maintaining an action or defense.
plea in reconvention. Civil law. A plea that sets up a new matter, not as a defense, but as a cross-complaint, setoff, or counterclaim. [Cases: Pleading 143. C.J.S. Pleading § 200.]
plea in suspension. A plea that shows some ground for not proceeding in the suit at the present time and prays that the proceedings be stayed until that ground is removed, such as a party’s being a minor or the plaintiff’s being an alien enemy. [Cases: Pleading 105.]
plea not pure. See anomalous plea.
plea of confession and avoidance. See CONFESSION AND AVOIDANCE.
plea of privilege. A plea that raises an objection to the venue of an action. See CHANGE OF VENUE. [Cases: Venue 58. C.J.S. Venue §§ 224, 227, 231.]
plea of release. A plea that admits the claim but sets forth a written discharge executed by a party authorized to release the claim. See RELEASE(2).
plea puis darrein continuance (pwis dar-ayn k<<schwa>>n-tin-yoo-<<schwa>>nts). [Law French “plea since the last continuance”] A plea that alleges new defensive matter that has arisen during a continuance of the case and that did not exist at the time of the defendant’s last pleading. [Cases: Pleading 272.]
plea to further maintenance to the action.Hist. A defensive plea asserting that events occurring after the commencement of the action necessitate its dismissal. • The plea is obsolete because of the pleading requirements in federal and state rules of civil procedure.
plea to the action. See negative plea.
plea to the declaration. A plea in abatement that objects to the declaration and applies immediately to it. — Also termed plea to the count.
plea to the jurisdiction. See jurisdictional plea.
plea to the person of the defendant. A plea in abatement alleging that the defendant has a legal
disability to be sued. plea to the person of the plaintiff. A plea in abatement alleging that the plaintiff has a legal disability to sue.
plea to the writ. A plea in abatement that objects to the writ (summons) and applies (1) to the form of the writ for a matter either apparent on the writ’s face or outside the writ, or (2) to the way in which the writ was executed or acted on.
pure plea. An equitable plea that affirmatively alleges new matters that are outside the bill. • If proved, the effect is to end the controversy by dismissing, delaying, or barring the suit. A pure plea must track the allegations of the bill, not evade it or mistake its purpose. Originally, this was the only plea known in equity. — Also termed affirmative plea. Cf. anomalous plea.
rolled-up plea. Defamation. A defendant’s plea claiming that the statements complained of are factual and that, to the extent that they consist of comment, they are fair comment on a matter of public interest. See FAIR COMMENT. [Cases: Libel and Slander 48(1), 93, 94. C.J.S. Libel and Slander; Injurious Falsehood §§ 91–92, 96, 98, 102–104, 150–151.]
special plea. A plea alleging one or more new facts rather than merely disputing the legal grounds of the action or charge. • All pleas other than general issues are special pleas. See general issue under ISSUE(1).
[Blacks Law 8th]