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4 definitions found
 for indictment
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Indictment \In*dict"ment\, n. [Cf. Inditement.]
     [1913 Webster]
     1. The act of indicting, or the state of being indicted.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. (Law) The formal statement of an offense, as framed by the
        prosecuting authority of the State, and found by the grand
        [1913 Webster]
     Note: To the validity of an indictment a finding by the grand
           jury is essential, while an information rests only on
           presentation by the prosecuting authority.
           [1913 Webster]
     3. An accusation in general; a formal accusation.
        [1913 Webster]
     Bill of indictment. See under Bill.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: a formal document written for a prosecuting attorney
           charging a person with some offense [syn: indictment,
           bill of indictment]
      2: an accusation of wrongdoing; "the book is an indictment of
         modern philosophy"

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  49 Moby Thesaurus words for "indictment":
     accusal, accusation, accusing, allegation, allegement, anathema,
     arraignment, bail, bill of particulars, blame, bringing of charges,
     bringing to book, castigation, censure, charge, complaint,
     condemnation, count, damnation, decrial, delation, denouncement,
     denunciation, excoriation, flaying, fulmination, fustigation,
     impeachment, implication, imputation, information, innuendo,
     insinuation, lawsuit, laying of charges, pillorying, plaint,
     presentment, prosecution, reprehension, reproach, reprobation,
     skinning alive, stricture, suit, taxing, true bill,
     unspoken accusation, veiled accusation

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  INDICTMENT, crim. law, practice. A written accusation of one or more persons 
  of a crime or misdemeanor, presented to, and preferred upon oath or 
  affirmation, by a grand jury legally convoked. 4 Bl. Com. 299; Co. Litt. 
  126; 2 Hale, 152; Bac. Ab. h.t.; Com. Dig. h.t. A; 1 Chit. Cr. L. 168. 
       2. This word, indictment, is said to be derived from the old French 
  word inditer, which signifies to indicate; to show, or point out. Its object 
  is to indicate the offence charged against the accused. Rey, des Inst. 
  l'Angl. tome 2, p. 347. 
       3. To render an indictment valid, there are certain essential and 
  formal requisites. The essential requisites are, 1st. That the indictment be 
  presented to some court having jurisdiction. of the offence stated therein. 
  2d. That it appear to have been found by the grand jury of the proper county 
  or district. 3d. That the indictment be found a true bill, and signed by the 
  foreman of the grand jury. 4th. That it be framed with sufficient certainty; 
  for this purpose the charge must contain a certain description of the crime 
  or misdemeanor, of which the defendant is accused, and a statement of the 
  facts by which it is constituted, so as to identify the accusation. Cowp. 
  682, 3; 2 Hale, 167; 1 Binn. R. 201; 3 Binn. R; 533; 1 P. A. Bro. R. 360; 6 
  S. & R. 398 4 Serg. & Rawle, 194; 4 Bl. Com. 301; Yeates, R. 407; 4 Cranch, 
  R. 167. 5th. The indictment must be in the English language. But if any 
  document in a foreign language, as a libel, be necessarily introduced, it 
  should be set out in the original tongue, and then translated, showing its 
  application. 6 T. R. 162. 
       4. Secondly, formal requisites are, 1st. The venue, which, at common 
  law should always be laid in the county where the offence has been 
  committed, although the charge is in its nature transitory, as a battery. 
  Hawk. B. 2, c. 25, s. 35. The venue is stated in the margin thus, "City and 
  county of _____ to wit." 2d. The presentment, which must be in the present 
  tense, and is usually expressed by the following formula, "the grand inquest 
  of the commonwealth of ______ inquiring for the city and county aforesaid, 
  upon their oaths and affirmations present." See, as to the venue, 1 Pike, R. 
  171; 9 Yerg. 357. 3d. The name and addition of the defendant; but in case an 
  error has been made in this respect, it is cured by the plea of the 
  defendant. Bac. Ab. Misnomer, B; Indictment, G 2; 2 Hale, 175; 1 Chit. Pr. 
  202. 4th. The names of third persons, when they must be necessarily 
  mentioned in the indictment, should be stated with certainty to a common 
  intent, so as sufficiently to inform the defendant who are his accusers. 
  When, however, the names of third persons cannot be ascertained, it is 
  sufficient, in some cases, to state "a certain person or persons to the 
  jurors aforesaid unknown." Hawk. B. 2, c. 25, s. 71; 2 East, P. C. 651, 781; 
  2 Hale, 181; Plowd. 85; Dyer, 97, 286; 8 C. & P. 773. See Unknown. 5th. The 
  time when the offence was committed, should in general be stated to be on a 
  specific year and day. In some offences, as in perjury, the day must be 
  precisely stated; 2 Wash. C. C. Rep. 328; but although it is necessary that 
  a day certain should be laid in the indictment, yet, in general, the 
  prosecutor may give evidence of an offence committed on any other day 
  previous to the finding of the, indictment. 5 Serg. & Rawle, 316. Vide 11 
  Serg. & Rawle, 177; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 217, 224; 1 Ch. Pl. Index, tit. Time. 
  See 17 Wend. 475; 2 Dev. 567; 5 How. Mis. 14; 4 Dana. 496; C. & N. 369; 1 
  Hawks, 460. 6th. The offence should be properly described. This is done by 
  stating the substantial circumstances necessary to show the nature of the 
  crime and, next, the formal allegations and terms of art required by law. 1. 
  As to the substantial circumstances. The whole of the facts of the case 
  necessary to make it appear judicially to the court that the indictors have 
  gone upon sufficient premises, should be set forth; but there should be no 
  unnecessary matter or any thing which on its face makes the indictment 
  repugnant, inconsistent, or absurd. Hale, 183; Hawk. B. 2, c. 25, s. 57; Ab. 
  h.t. G 1; Com. Dig. h.t. G 3; 2 Leach, 660; 2 Str. 1226. All indictments 
  ought to charge a man with a particular offence, and not with being an 
  offender in general: to this rule there are some exceptions, as indictments 
  against a common barrator, a common scold, and the keeper of a common bawdy 
  house; such persons may be indicted by these general words. 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 
  230, and the authorities there cited. The offence must not be stated in the 
  disjunctive, so as to leave it uncertain on what it is intended to rely as 
  an accusation; as, that the defendant erected or caused to be. erected a 
  nuisance. 2 Str. 900; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 236. 
       2. There are certain terms of art used, so appropriated by the law to 
  express the precise idea which it entertains of the offence, that no other 
  terms, however synonymous they may seem, are capable of filling the same 
  office: such, for example, as traitorously, (q.v.) in treason; feloniously, 
  (q.v.) in felony; burglariously, (q.v.) in burglary; maim, (q.v.) in 
  mayhem, &c. 7th. The conclusion of the indictment should conform to the 
  provision of the constitution of the state on the subject, where there is 
  such provision; as in Pennsylvania, Const. art. V., s. 11, which provides, 
  that "all prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by the authority 
  of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and conclude against the peace and 
  dignity of the same." As to the necessity and propriety of having several 
  counts in an indictment, vide 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 248; as to. joinder of 
  several offences in the same indictment, vide 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 253; Arch. 
  Cr. Pl. 60; several defendants may in some cases be joined in the same 
  indictment. Id. 255; Arch. Cr. Pl. 59. When an indictment may be amended, 
  see Id. 297. Stark. Cr. Pl. 286; or quashed, Id. 298 Stark. Cr. Pl. 831; 
  Arch. Cr. 66. Vide; generally, Arch. Cr. Pl. B. 1, part 1, c. 1; p. 1 to 68; 
  Stark. Cr. Pl. 1 to 336; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 168 to 304; Com. Dig. h.t.: Vin. 
  Ab. h.t.; Bac. Ab. h.t.; Dane's Ab. h.t.; Nels. Ab. h.t.; Burn's Just. 
  h.t.; Russ. on Cr. Index, h.t., 
       5. By the Constitution of the United States, Amend. art. 5, no person 
  shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless 
  on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in 
  the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time 
  of war, or public danger. 

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