ex post facto law
ex post facto law n: a civil or criminal law with retroactive effect; esp: a law that retroactively alters a defendant's rights esp. by criminalizing and imposing punishment for an act that was not criminal or punishable at the time it was committed, by increasing the severity of a crime from its level at the time the crime was committed, by increasing the punishment for a crime from the punishment imposed at the time the crime was committed, or by taking away from the protections (as evidentiary protection) afforded the defendant by the law as it existed when the act was committed
◇ Ex post facto laws are prohibited by Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

ex post facto law
n.
A law that is passed after an occurrence that changes the law at the time the act occurred; e.g., a law that creates criminal penalties for an act that was not a crime when it was committed; ex post facto laws are prohibited by the Constitution.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.


ex post facto law
n. A law intended to apply to crimes or events that took place before its passage. The United States Constitution forbids the passage of ex post facto criminal laws, on the principle that it is wrong to punish an act which was not illegal when committed.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • ex post facto law — /eks powst faektow 16/ A law passed after the occurrence of a fact or commission of an act, which retrospectively changes the legal consequences or relations of such fact or deed. A law is unconstitutionally ex post facto if it deprives the… …   Black's law dictionary

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