Discretion


Discretion
Discretion, Tacuinum Sanitatis casanatensis (XIV secolo)

Discretion is a noun in the English language with several meanings revolving around the judgment of the person exercising the characteristic.

Contents

Meanings

  • "The Art of suiting action to particular circumstances" (Lord Scarman)
  • 'the quality of being discreet' (Concise Oxford Dictionary)

Those in a position of power are most often able to exercise discretion as to how they will apply or exercise that power.

The ability to make decisions which represent a responsible choice and for which an understanding of what is lawful, right or wise may be presupposed. see Websters Third New International Dictionary (unabridged)

In the criminal justice system

In the criminal justice system, police, prosecutors, judges, and the jury are often able to exercise a degree of discretion in deciding who will be subject to criminal penalties and how they will be punished. For example, the police officer may decide whom to formally arrest for an offense. For a traffic violation, a police officer may simply issue a warning. A prosecutor may choose to pursue the same or different charges against the person a police officer has arrested. Discretion gives the prosecutor the power to dismiss a case against an arrestee based on factors such as the probability of conviction, the nature of the offense, the characteristics of the offender, and availability of adequate civil remedies. Plea bargaining also plays a major role in determining charges.

Abuse of discretion

The exercise of discretion by judges is an inherent aspect of judicial independence under the doctrine of the separation of powers. The standard of review applied to appeals from decisions involving the exercise of judicial discretion is "abuse of discretion."

An abuse of discretion is a failure to take into proper consideration the facts and law relating to a particular matter; an arbitrary or unreasonable departure from precedent and settled judicial custom.[1]

Other contexts

The term often comes as part of "Viewer Discretion Is Advised" warning on TV shows before the show begins. In this context, VDA implies the show's content may not be suitable for some viewers, that is, too explicit.

References

External links


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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • discrétion — [ diskresjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1160; lat. discretio « discernement » → 1. discret I ♦ Vx Discernement; pouvoir de décider. S en remettre à la discrétion de qqn, s en rapporter à sa sagesse, à sa compétence. ♢ Mod. Être à la discrétion de qqn, en dépendre …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • discretion — dis·cre·tion /dis kre shən/ n: power of free decision or latitude of choice within certain bounds imposed by law reached the age of discretion struck down death penalty provisions administered through unbridled jury discretion L. H. Tribe: as a:… …   Law dictionary

  • discrétion — DISCRÉTION. s. f. Judicieuse retenue, circonspection dans les actions et dans les paroles. Agir, parler avec discrétion. Il a beaucoup de discrétion. Il n a point de dircrétion. Son zèle est sans prudence et sans discrétion. [b]f♛/b] On dit, que… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • discretion — Discretion. s. f. Judicieuse retenuë, circonspection dans les actions & dans les paroles. Agir, parler avec discretion. il a beaucoup de discretion. il n a point de discretion. On dit, d Un homme qui est dans l âge où l on commence ordinairement… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Discretion — Dis*cre tion, n. [F. discr[ e]tion, L. discretio separation, difference, discernment, fr. discernere, discretum. See {Discreet}, {Discern}.] 1. Disjunction; separation. [Obs.] Mede. [1913 Webster] 2. The quality of being discreet; wise conduct… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • discretion — c.1300, dyscrecyun, moral discernment, from O.Fr. discrecion or directly from L.L. discretionem (nom. discretio) discernment, power to make distinctions, in classical Latin separation, distinction, from pp. stem of discernere to separate,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • discretion — ou separation, Discrimen. User de discretion, Prudentiam ad omnes res adhibere. Joinct ce que la noble et sage discretion de la Cour sçaura mieux supplier et adviser, Implorare in auxilium suae causae etiam fidem Iudicum, intimosque sensus et… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • discretion — ► NOUN 1) the quality of being discreet. 2) the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation. ● discretion is the better part of valour Cf. ↑discretion is the better part of valour DERIVATIVES discretionary adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • discretion — [di skresh′ən] n. [ME discrecioun < OFr discrecion < L discretio, separation (in LL, discernment) < discretus: see DISCREET] 1. the freedom or authority to make decisions and choices; power to judge or act 2. the quality of being… …   English World dictionary

  • Discretĭon — (v. lat.), 1) eigentlich Scheidung, Unterscheidung; daher Discretionsjahre, Jahre der Verstandesreife od. der Mündigkeit; 2) Berücksichtigung; daher Discretionsgeld, so v.w. Centnergeld 1); Discretionstage, so v.w. Respecttage; 3) Anstand u.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon