embracery | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

Embracery, in the context of criminal law, refers to the act of trying to corrupt or influence a juror, judge, or other officials in a court proceeding.

To understand embracery, we first need to break it down. It isn’t just about bribing a judge or a juror. It also involves other corrupt practices aimed at manipulating the outcome of a court case. Threats, intimidation, or even subtle persuasion fall under embracery.

Why is it considered a big deal? This crime strikes at the heart of the judicial system. It undermines the fairness of trials and taints the integrity of the law. A courtroom’s verdict relies on the unbiased judgment of the jury and judge. When someone tries to influence this, they’re committing embracery.

Consequences of Embracery

This crime doesn’t go unpunished. It’s a serious crime, and courts take a dim view of it. In countries that follow common law – a system of law based on court judgments – embracery can be seen as contempt of court or obstruction of justice.

Those found guilty could face severe penalties. In some cases, it could lead to imprisonment. If the perpetrator is a legal professional, they could be disbarred. That means they lose their license to practice law. It can also lead to sanctions, which could involve fines or other penalties.


Embracery isn’t always straightforward. It’s often divided into two types: direct and indirect.

Direct embracery happens when someone tries to influence a juror or official directly. They might approach them with a bribe or try to sway their opinion through persuasion.

Indirect embracery is sneakier. In this case, the person trying to influence the case does so through a third party. They might convince someone else to approach the juror or official on their behalf. Whether direct or indirect, the goal is the same – to sway the legal proceeding.

Embracery and Jurors

A key target of embracery is jurors. These are members of the public chosen to decide a case. They should base their decision only on the evidence presented in court. But what if someone tries to influence a juror? They’re committing embracery. This can involve bribes, threats, or attempts at persuasion. It could also involve discussions about the case outside of court.

The Fight Against Embracery

To maintain the integrity of the justice system, it’s crucial to combat embracery. Courts use various measures to prevent it. For example, jury deliberations are private. And any communication with jurors about the case is usually forbidden outside the courtroom. Legal professionals also have strict ethical guidelines to follow. Breaking these can lead to serious consequences, including disbarment.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, embracery is a serious offense. It aims to corrupt the legal process and undermines the principle of a fair trial. Despite its varying forms and methods, all types of embracery have one common goal: to influence a court case’s outcome unfairly. Society relies on the justice system to function properly. Hence, fighting embracery is vital to uphold the rule of law and ensure justice prevails.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/18/2023

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