How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jim Reilly Your Own Question
Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Jim Reilly is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What does strict construction mean and how does or should

Resolved Question:

What does "strict construction" mean and how does or should it apply to law and a criminal defendant?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 7 years ago.
HelloCustomerand welcome to JustAnswer.

"Strict construction" is a principle of legal interpretation which means essentially that any court considering a statute or a constitutional provision should read it very narrowly rather than giving it an expansive interpretation.

Criminal statutes are generally construed very narrowly -- that is, "strict construction" is applied to them -- as a matter of public policy. The reason, of course, is that people should be subjected to criminal prosecution only if they had fair notice of what conduct is criminal. And that objective can be achieved only by applying "strict construction" to the interpretation of criminal statutes.

In other words, it is generally not enough for a court to say, "well, I know what the legislature meant". Criminal liability can only be attached to conduct which is clearly and unequivocally covered by the statutory language.

Edit: After I posted the foregoing, your optional and already tried information showed up on the screen. Now I'm unclear exactly what you are looking for. The concept of "strict construction" would not seem to have any application to the situation you have described and, in particular, I don't see how a criminal defendant can be "denied" strict construction in the context of ineffectiveness of counsel.

Thanks for asking your question here on JustAnswer. If you can clarify the situation for me, I will give you a further response.
Jim Reilly and 4 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you

Related Criminal Law Questions