Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)
A law passed by Congress in 1986 establishing the due process requirements that law enforcement officers must meet in order to legally intercept wire communications.

electronic evidence
Information and data of investigative value that are stored in or transmitted by an electronic device.18

element (of a crime)
In a specific crime, one of the essential features of that crime, as specified by law or statute.

embezzlement
The misappropriation, or illegal disposal, of legally entrusted property by the person to whom it was entrusted, with the intent to defraud the legal owner or the intended beneficiary.

emergency search
A search conducted by the police without a warrant, which is justified on the basis of some immediate and overriding need, such as public safety, the likely escape of a dangerous suspect, or the removal or destruction of evidence.

entrapment
An improper or illegal inducement to crime by agents of law enforcement. Also, a defense that may be raised when such inducements have occurred.

equity
A sentencing principle, based on concerns with social equality, that holds that similar crimes should be punished with the same degree of severity, regardless of the social or personal characteristics of the offenders.

espionage
The "gathering, transmitting, or losing"19 of information related to the national defense in such a manner that the information becomes available to enemies of the United States and may be used to their advantage.

ethnocentric
Holding a belief in the superiority of one's own social or ethnic group and culture.

ethnocentrism
The phenomenon of "culture-centeredness," by which one uses one's own culture as a benchmark against which to judge all other patterns of behavior.

European Police Office (Europol)
The integrated police-intelligence gathering and dissemination arm of the member nations of the European Union.

evidence
Anything useful to a judge or jury in deciding the facts of a case. Evidence may take the form of witness testimony, written documents, videotapes, magnetic media, photographs, physical objects, and so on.

excessive force
The application of an amount and/or frequency of force greater than that required to compel compliance from a willing or unwilling subject.20

exclusionary rule
The understanding, based on U.S. Supreme Court precedent, that incriminating information must be seized according to constitutional specifications of due process or it will not be allowed as evidence in a criminal trial.

excuse
A legal defense in which the defendant claims that some personal condition or circumstance at the time of the act was such that he or she should not be held accountable under the criminal law.

exemplary damages
See punitive damages.

Exemplary Projects Program
An initiative, sponsored by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, designed to recognize outstanding innovative efforts to combat crime and to provide assistance to crime victims.

expert system
Computer hardware and software that attempts to duplicate the decision-making processes used by skilled investigators in the analysis of evidence and in the recognition of patterns that such evidence might represent.

expert witness
A person who has special knowledge and skills recognized by the court as relevant to the determination of guilt or innocence. Unlike lay witnesses, expert witnesses may express opinions or draw conclusions in their testimony.

ex post facto
Latin for "after the fact." The Constitution prohibits the enactment of ex post facto laws, which make acts committed before the laws in question were passed punishable as crimes.

extradition
The surrender by one state to another of an individual accused or convicted of an offense in the second state.

18. Adapted from Technical Working Group for Electronic Crime Scene Investigation, Electronic Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for First Responders (Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice, 2001), p. 2.

19. Henry Campbell Black, Joseph R. Nolan, and Jacqueline M. Nolan-Haley, Black's Law Dictionary, 6th ed. (St. Paul, MN: West, 1990), p. 24.

20. International Association of Chiefs of Police, Police Use of Force in America 2001 (Alexandria, VA: IACP, 2001), p. 1.

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