, a verdict
is the formal finding of fact made by a jury
on matters or questions submitted to the jury by a judge. (see Black's Law Dictionary
, p. 1398 (5th ed. 1979) The term, from the Latin veredictum
, literally means "to say the truth" and is derived from Middle English verdit
, from Anglo-Norman
: a compound of ver
("true," from the Latin vērus
) and dit
("speech," from the Latin dictum
, the neuter
form of dīcere
, to say).
In a criminal case
, the verdict is either a "not guilty" or a "guilty" finding, except in Scotland
where the verdict of "not proven
" is also available. Different counts in the same case may have different verdicts.
A verdict of guilty in a criminal case is generally followed by a judgment of conviction rendered by the judge, which in turn will be followed by sentencing.
In US legal nomenclature, the verdict is the finding of the jury on the questions of fact submitted to it. Once the court (the judge) receives the verdict, the judge enters judgment on the verdict. The judgment of the court is the final order in the case. If the defendant is found guilty, he can choose to appeal the case to the local Court of Appeals.
A verdict is also issued by the coroner
at the conclusion of an inquest
into sudden deaths: possible verdicts include death by misadventure
, accidental death
, unlawful killing
, lawful killing
, natural causes
and an open verdict
In English law
, a special verdict
is a verdict by a jury
that pronounces on the facts of the case but does not draw the ultimate inference of whether the accused is guilty
or not; the judge then applies the law and to convict or acquit. In the words of William Blackstone
, "The jury state the naked facts, as they find them to be proved, and pray the advice of the court thereon".
A famous instance was the case of R v. Dudley and Stephens but generally such verdicts should only be returned in the most exceptional cases.