Abuse of Discretion (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
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.
Where a trial court must exercise discretion in deciding a question, it must do so in a way that is not clearly against logic and the evidence. An improvident exercise of discretion is an error of law and grounds for reversing a decision on appeal. It does not, however, necessarily amount to bad faith, intentional wrong, or misconduct by the trial judge.
For example, the traditional standard of appellate review for evidence-related questions arising during trial is the "abuse of discretion" standard. Most judicial determinations are made based on evidence introduced at legal proceedings. Evidence may consist of oral testimony, written testimony, videotapes and sound recordings, documentary evidence such as exhibits and business records, and a host of other materials, including voice exemplars, handwriting samples, and blood tests.
Before such materials may be introduced into the record at a legal proceeding, the trial court must determine that they satisfy certain criteria governing the admissibility of evidence. At a minimum, the court must find that the evidence offered is relevant to the legal proceedings. Evidence...
(The entire section is 685 words.)
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