At common law, that extinction of civil rights and capacities which took place whenever a person who had committed treason or felony received sentence of death for his crime. The effect of "attainder" upon such felon was, in general terms, that all his estate, real and personal, was forfeited.
At the common law, attainder resulted in three ways, viz.: by confession, by verdict, and by process or outlawry. The first case was where the prisoner pleaded guilty at the bar, or having fled to sanctuary, confessed his guilt and abjured the realm to save his life. The second was where the prisoner pleaded not guilty at the bar, and the jury brought in a verdict against him. The third, when the person accused made his escape and was outlawed.
In England, by statute 33 & 34 Viet. c. 23, attainder upon conviction, with consequent corruption of blood, forfeiture, or escheat, was abolished.
In the United States, the doctrine of attainder is now scarcely known, although during and shortly after the Revolution acts of attainder were passed by several of the states. The passage of such bills is expressly forbidden by the Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 9).
Bills of attainder.
Such special acts of the legislature as inflict capital punishments upon persons supposed to be guilty of high offenses, such as treason and felony, without any conviction in the ordinary course of judicial proceedings. If an act inflicts a milder degree of punishment than death, it is called a "bill of pains and penalties," but both are included in the prohibition in the Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 9). Losier v. Sherman, 157 Kan. 153, 138 P.2d 272, 273; State v. Graves, 352 Mo. 1102, 182 S.W.2d 46, 54.
See also bill

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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  • attainder — at·tain·der /ə tān dər/ n [Anglo French atteinder, from ateindre to convict, sentence, literally, to reach, attain, ultimately from Latin attingere to reach, from ad to + tangere to touch]: the termination of the civil rights of a person upon a… …   Law dictionary

  • Attainder — • An Act of Parliament for putting a man to death or for otherwise punishing him without trial in the usual form Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Attainder     Attainder      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Attainder — At*tain der, n. [OF. ataindre, ateindre, to accuse, convict. Attainder is often erroneously referred to F. teindre tie stain. See {Attaint}, {Attain}.] 1. The act of attainting, or the state of being attainted; the extinction of the civil rights… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • attainder — [ə tān′dər] n. [ME atteindre < Anglo Fr atteinder, inf. used as n. < OFr ataindre (see ATTAIN); sense infl. by ME atteinten, ATTAINT] 1. forfeiture of property and loss of civil rights of a person sentenced to death or outlawed: see BILL OF …   English World dictionary

  • attainder — (n.) extinction of rights of a person sentenced to death or outlaw, mid 15c., from noun use of O.Fr. ataindre to touch upon, strike, hit, seize, accuse, condemn (see ATTAIN (Cf. attain)). For use of French infinitives as nouns, especially in… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Attainder — In English criminal law, attainder or attinctura is the metaphorical stain or corruption of blood which arises from being condemned for a serious capital crime (felony or treason). It entails losing not only one s property and hereditary titles,… …   Wikipedia

  • attainder — /euh tayn deuhr/, n. 1. the legal consequence of judgment of death or outlawry for treason or felony, involving the loss of all civil rights. 2. Obs. dishonor. [1425 75; late ME, n. use of AF attaindre to convict, OF ataindre to convict, ATTAIN]… …   Universalium

  • attainder — /ateyndar/ At common law, that extinction of civil rights and capacities which took place whenever a person who had committed treason or felony received sentence of death for his crime. The effect of attainder upon such felon was, in general… …   Black's law dictionary

  • attainder — [ə teɪndə] noun historical the forfeiture of land and civil rights suffered as a consequence of a sentence of death for treason or felony. Phrases act (or bill) of attainder an item of legislation inflicting attainder without judicial process.… …   English new terms dictionary

  • attainder — The state into which the offender was placed by operation of law when sentence was pronounced against him for a capital offense, by the ancient common law. The three principal incidents of attainder were forfeiture of property, corruption of… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

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