Can you explain what a dictum is and effect of a dictum on the courts? - Criminal Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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Can you explain what a dictum is and effect of a dictum on the courts?

Law Office of Mark Bruce
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Dictim is the term used by lawyers for statements made in published, written decisions which are not part of the actual ruling of the court. Sometimes, when there are no published rulings on a particular point of law but an appellate court has mentioned the issue in dicta, a court will cite this to give it guidance.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/4/2012

Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
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I assume that you are referring to the extraneous non-binding but informative language that a judge in the minority would write in an appellate opinion.

Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 10/4/2012

Answer By Larry K. Dunn

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Every appellate case has a "Holding" which is binding authority on a particular legal point. Dictum or Dicta (Plural) occurs when the court pronounces legal points that are not necessary to deciding the case and are not considered binding legal authority.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/4/2012


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Dictum is a line of legal reasoning that deviates a bit from the reasoning that supports the actual holding, but is highly relevant. Dictum is not binding, but is viewed as strongly suggestive and is often used as the reasoning in future holdings that are binding.

Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/3/2012

William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
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Dictum is the statements by the court beyond the primary holding. It is non binding on other courts.

Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 10/3/2012

Answer By Gary M. Wilson
Wilson & Cain, P.A.
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Dictum is language or ideas stated in a court's opinion that is not central to the holding (or decision) of the court in that case. Basically just extra stuff that a judge/justice throws in to flesh out their ideas, but dicta/dictum is not germane to the outcome, and is not of any value as precedent (binding on later courts). It is often used as a springboard for counter-arguments in other court proceedings, though.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/3/2012

Answer By Seth L. Reszko

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In general, dictum is not precedent from the Court's and therefore it is not binding on the Courts when applying the law to a case. Dictum is usually considered comments that a Judge makes in a decision in how the Judge reached the decision or their own opinions but is not the holding in the case.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/3/2012

Lawrence Lewis
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Consult an attorney.

Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 10/3/2012

Michael Breczinski
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Dictum is just something in a appellate opinion that does not have binding effect on other cases.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/3/2012

Answer By Mace Yampolsky
Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD
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Dictum is additional language in the holding of a case, but other courts do not need to (but they can) rely on it a precedent.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/3/2012

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