Civil Death

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CIVIL DEATH

Theforfeitureof rights and privileges of an individual who has been convicted of a serious crime.

Civil death is provided for by statute in some states. Most civil death statutes apply only to offenders who have been sentenced to a life term.

Civil death involves the imposition of numerous disabilities, including the denial of the privilege to vote, to hold public office, and to obtain many job and occupational licenses. In addition, an offender cannot enter into judicially enforceable agreements, such as contracts, and may not obtain insurance and pension benefits. The offender may also be deprived of any right to commence certain lawsuits in court.

Successive marriages can also be affected by civil death laws. The issue is whether or not the spouse of a person declared civilly dead may enter into a subsequent marriage. The state courts are in disagreement on the matter, although, in most instances, where a felony is a ground for divorce, the spouse of the convicted person may end the marriage.

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