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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a passionate plea
▪ She made a passionate plea for tolerance.
entered...plea (=said that he was not guilty at the beginning of a court case)
▪ Wilson entered a plea of not guilty .
impassioned plea
▪ She appeared on television to make an impassioned plea for help.
plea bargaining
▪ Exxon subsequently withdrew guilty pleas to four misdemeanour charges relating to the spill, thereby formally dissolving the out of court settlement.
▪ The prosecutions that did not end until this year resulted in 14 convictions and guilty pleas.
▪ It can withdraw its guilty pleas and go to trial.
▪ Maryland authorities obtained a guilty plea from him to charges of securities violations, he admits.
▪ It can let its guilty pleas stand and then take its chances in court.
▪ The division brought charges against thirty-six Klan defendants in thirteen cases, resulting in fifteen guilty pleas.
▪ But the verdicts showed that the jury believed Hale despite his guilty plea and his admitted lies.
▪ The Justice Department also obtained guilty pleas in several cases.
▪ The sisters are concerned and making an impassioned plea.
▪ The Princess Royal yesterday made an impassioned plea for help on behalf of the country's six million carers.
▪ The parents' impassioned pleas that the best places of safety for their children were with their families was disregarded.
▪ If the impassioned pleas are directed at those close to the culprits, I can not see them having much effect.
▪ He issued a passionate plea to Labour and the Conservatives to spell out what they would do in a hung Parliament.
▪ I am compelled to add my personal plea to the current campaign for all young adults to receive the Salk vaccine.
▪ And Burr has issued a personal plea to Millwall fans in the match programme.
▪ He had state officials and bank presidents making personal pleas on his behalf.
▪ He originally faced a 25-count indictment, which was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
▪ The Reagan-era Interior Department chief faces a possible six-month sentence and $ 5, 000 fine in the plea agreement.
▪ As part of her plea agreement, she agreed to cooperate with federal officials and received two years' probation.
▪ Six had reached plea bargain arrangements with the authorities and the remaining seven were due to be tried later in the year.
▪ A source close to the defense team said the no contest plea was a key element in plea bargain negotiations.
▪ With their case in trouble, prosecutors agreed to a plea bargain.
▪ Herbert 92X refused to accept a plea bargain, since he regarded what had happened as an accident.
▪ Within this context, many observers were not surprised that the prosecuting authorities reached an unusual plea bargain arrangement with Kanemaru.
▪ Meaux accepted the plea bargain after the judge refused to suppress any of the evidence against him.
▪ The commencement of the trial ended a period of intense speculation that Barry would reach a plea bargain with the federal authorities.
▪ Ray Lewis sold out his homies for time served and a misdemeanor plea bargain.
▪ A classic case of plea bargaining.
▪ But they say methods such as plea bargaining help to stop the courts becoming congested.
▪ The general sentiment among lawyers is that the Commission is likely to favour plea bargaining if sufficient safeguards can be built in.
▪ The system in Britain is not as dominated by plea bargaining, but it is certainly present.
▪ The class have to plead for mercy on his behalf, but the King's envoy will only accept written pleas.
▪ Herbert 92X refused to accept a plea bargain, since he regarded what had happened as an accident.
▪ But the jury at Northampton Crown Court didn't accept his not guilty plea.
▪ Meaux accepted the plea bargain after the judge refused to suppress any of the evidence against him.
▪ She accepted a plea bargain and received a general discharge under honorable conditions.
▪ Arthur changed his plea half-way through his trial earlier and admitted the offence.
▪ If federal officials had their way, the defendants in three high-profile spy cases would change their pleas of not guilty.
▪ They changed their pleas mid-way through a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court.
▪ He wrote a letter seeking to change his plea three days later, but the judge died before acting on it.
▪ But as the trial opened, she changed her plea and admitted shooting Staudinger last December, at his Manhattan apartment.
▪ A last-minute application by him to change his plea was turned down by Judge Robin David yesterday.
▪ After changing their pleas to guilty 19 of the defendants were given suspended sentences; the remaining defendant was acquitted.
▪ So may I enter a plea for simplicity, homeliness and humour, in the teaching of chemistry?
▪ Bokin, wearing a jailhouse orange shirt and slacks, did not enter a plea during his court hearing.
▪ He is not required to enter a plea at this point.
▪ His first appearance, an arraignment to enter a plea of guilty or not-guilty, is required by law.
▪ He entered no plea, but had previously denied any involvement in the killings.
▪ Highway 101 near Asti July 11, but entered a plea of no contest to assaulting the peace officer during the escape.
▪ Neither suspect entered a plea Tuesday.
▪ But she did not hear his plea because the vertebrae in her neck had already snapped.
▪ Our request has been heard, our plea has been responded to.
▪ Jacqueline Hamilton, 41, also claims the police have ignored her pleas for help.
▪ Benitez, disgusted, gestured toward home plate umpire Jim Joyce, then turned toward McCoy, who ignored his plea.
▪ Trevor, thankfully, ignored my plea.
▪ He ignored Cranston's excited pleas to hurry and went over to the window, unrolling them carefully.
▪ Impassively, relentlessly, Curtis continued to soak the ranting man's clothing, ignoring his pleas.
▪ A note blaming social services chiefs for ignoring their plea for help was on the dashboard.
▪ The sisters are concerned and making an impassioned plea.
▪ He had state officials and bank presidents making personal pleas on his behalf.
▪ Brittan: Can I make a final plea?
▪ Pataki hugged Mondello as Kemp made a plea for party unity.
▪ Tizhe made his decision to plea the day after prosecutors introduced devastating evidence that surfaced less than two weeks ago.
▪ He made no plea and was remanded in custody.
▪ I was on the verge of making one last plea when I was propelled backward through the open door.
▪ He flatly rejected the pleas of Aung San to stand for election.
▪ At the dinner, Gandhi repeated his plea to present the award.
▪ They responded eagerly to the plea for help from their re-attached and perhaps rather intimidated kinsmen.
▪ Therefore, I am pleased to support this plea.
cop a plea
▪ Duckett copped a plea to avoid going to jail.
▪ Thought I was copping a plea on ... diminished responsibility.
▪ A homeless mother of six made a tearful plea for a home for her family.
▪ Ignoring the man's pleas, the soldier shot him in the head.
▪ A heartfelt plea to any theatre proprietors who have a venue available during November.
▪ And owners note a perceptible increase in door-hangers, fliers and other pleas from agents to put their homes up for sale.
▪ And you stand condemned to centuries of ignominy, your well-polished plea unheard.
▪ Benitez, disgusted, gestured toward home plate umpire Jim Joyce, then turned toward McCoy, who ignored his plea.
▪ He sent a message saying that the Phoenix King did not answer demands but granted pleas.
▪ My final plea is that those who create new policies take seriously and consider fully the perspectives and situations of the practitioner.
▪ She had returned to try one more plea, but had stopped to listen.
▪ The goddess listened to his plea.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Plea \Plea\, n. [OE. plee, plai, plait, fr. OF. plait, plaid, plet, LL. placitum judgment, decision, assembly, court, fr. L. placitum that which is pleasing, an opinion, sentiment, from placere to please. See Please, and cf. Placit, Plead.]

  1. (Law) That which is alleged by a party in support of his cause; in a stricter sense, an allegation of fact in a cause, as distinguished from a demurrer; in a still more limited sense, and in modern practice, the defendant's answer to the plaintiff's declaration and demand. That which the plaintiff alleges in his declaration is answered and repelled or justified by the defendant's plea. In chancery practice, a plea is a special answer showing or relying upon one or more things as a cause why the suit should be either dismissed, delayed, or barred. In criminal practice, the plea is the defendant's formal answer to the indictment or information presented against him.

  2. (Law) A cause in court; a lawsuit; as, the Court of Common Pleas. See under Common.

    The Supreme Judicial Court shall have cognizance of pleas real, personal, and mixed.
    --Laws of Massachusetts.

  3. That which is alleged or pleaded, in defense or in justification; an excuse; an apology. ``Necessity, the tyrant's plea.''

    No plea must serve; 't is cruelty to spare.

  4. An urgent prayer or entreaty.

    Pleas of the crown (Eng. Law), criminal actions.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

early 13c., "lawsuit," from Anglo-French plai (late 12c.), Old French plait "lawsuit, decision, decree" (9c.), from Medieval Latin placitum "lawsuit," in classical Latin, "opinion, decree," literally "that which pleases, thing which is agreed upon," properly neuter past participle of placere (see please). Sense development seems to be from "something pleasant," to "something that pleases both sides," to "something that has been decided." Meaning "a pleading, an agreement in a suit" is attested from late 14c. Plea-bargaining is first attested 1963. Common pleas (early 13c.) originally were legal proceedings over which the Crown did not claim exclusive jurisdiction (as distinct from pleas of the Crown); later "actions brought by one subject against another."


n. 1 An appeal, petition, urgent prayer or entreaty. 2 An excuse; an apology. 3 That which is alleged or pleaded, in defense or in justification. 4 (context legal English) That which is alleged by a party in support of his cause. 5 (context legal English) An allegation of fact in a cause, as distinguished from a demurrer. 6 (context legal English) The defendant’s answer to the plaintiff’s declaration and demand. 7 (context legal English) A cause in court; a lawsuit; as, the Court of Common Pleas. See under Common.

  1. n. a humble request for help from someone in authority [syn: supplication]

  2. (law) a defendant's answer by a factual matter (as distinguished from a demurrer)

  3. an answer indicating why a suit should be dismissed


In legal terms, a plea is simply an answer to a claim made by someone in a criminal case under common law using the adversarial system. Colloquially, a plea has come to mean the assertion by a defendant at arraignment, or otherwise in response to a criminal charge, whether that person pleaded guilty, not guilty, no contest or (in the United States) Alford plea.

The concept of the plea is one of the major differences between criminal procedure under common law and procedure under the civil law system. Under common law, a plea of guilty by the defendant waives trial of the charged offences and the defendant may be sentenced immediately. This produces a system known under American law as plea bargaining.

In civil law jurisdictions, there is generally no concept of a plea of guilty. A confession by the defendant is treated like any other piece of evidence, and a full confession does not prevent a full trial from occurring or relieve the plaintiff(s) from its duty of presenting a case to the trial court.

A "blind plea" is a guilty plea entered with no plea agreement in place. One defendant accused of illegally protesting nuclear power, when asked to enter his plea, stated, "I plead for the beauty that surrounds us"; this type of unorthodox plea is sometimes referred to as a "creative plea," and will usually be interpreted as a plea of not guilty. Likewise, standing mute and refusing to enter any plea at all will usually be interpreted as a not guilty plea; the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, for instance, state, "If a defendant refuses to enter a plea or if a defendant organization fails to appear, the court must enter a plea of not guilty."

Usage examples of "plea".

Parents who are sensitive to this unstated plea and who, through acts of love, concern, restraint, and respect, demonstrate repeatedly It Is You We Care About will find the years of adolescence can produce rewards and surprises far beyond their expectations.

Gaelic song, in the Minor Key, deep and throbbing and full of patient despair and ambitionless longing-he had the Irish fiddle sound in it, the hoarse dark harmony of the lower strings played together in a plea that sounded more purely human than any sound made by child, man or woman.

His wisdom shone forth in an oration so persuasive and aphoristic that had it not been based on a plea against honour, it would have made Sir Austin waver.

In August, even the Ayatollah Khomeini, who had resisted all previous pleas to end the war, was forced to concede that Iran could not fight both Iraq and the United States any longer.

Now has Bertrand made his plea and complaint to the emperor in the hearing of all, but they consider him an idle babbler because he says that he has seen the empress stark naked.

Clipping the beeper safely to his belt, Nathan presses thumb and forefinger, his messages flying off to wherever they fly, to message heaven, the graveyard of electronically snubbed pleas and particles of undesired need.

After dinner I went out on the plea of business, and, taking the first coach I came across, in a quarter of an hour I succeeded in renting a first floor window in excellent position for three louis.

I was crafty enough to take no notice of him, and so far from giving up my plea, I only thought how I could put it on good train.

R heard my statement he said he could neither keep him in prison nor drive him out of the town unless I laid a plea before him, craving protection against this man, whom I believed to have come to Lugano with the purpose of assassinating me.

Governor Clarke, on the plea of retaliating Spanish outrages, gave letters of marque to several privateers, including Coxon, the same famous chief who in 1680 had led the buccaneers into the South Seas.

Casey was not only warning Cozy about upcoming retribution for the horn thing, she was also thanking him for being so responsive to her urgent plea for help on a weekend night.

He stated that he was coerced, forced to confess to the crimes, and possibly drugged before entering a plea of guilty.

He seemed to address the plea to some invisible deva rather than to anyone present.

He had no wish to see the duologue, and it was only after the loss of much precious time that Jimmy was enabled to tear himself away on the plea of having to dress.

The emancipists, for obvious reasons, tended to be convicts, former convicts, or the children of convicts, and consequently had difficulty getting the authorities to listen to their pleas for equal treatment.