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A.Word.A.Day--Alford plea

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

This week's theme: eponyms.

Alford plea (AL-fuhrd plee) noun

A plea bargain in which a defendant pleads guilty while maintaining innocence.

[The Alford plea sounds illogical but there's a firm basis for it. The term is coined after Henry Alford in the 1970 murder case North Carolina v. Alford. In this case, the defendant pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder to avoid the death penalty which he might have received if found guilty of first-degree murder. Alford maintained that he was innocent and was pleading guilty to the lesser charge only to avoid capital punishment.]

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"The Humane Society of Washington County now owns more than 70 horses, after the animals' previous owner, Barbara Reinken, 62, entered an Alford plea to a felony aggravated animal cruelty charge and 10 animal negligence misdemeanor charges." Jeremy Hauck; Starving Horses Up For Adoption; The Gazette (Gaithersburg, Maryland); Apr 5, 2007.


Do I believe God is going to take away my illness when he turned an entirely deaf ear to the six million Jews who went into the gas chambers? -Karen Armstrong, author (1944- )


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