Homework Assignment #1
Due before class on Friday, 19 January 2018
 
Part 1.  Identify the linguistic source of each word below and give its meaning in a legal context.  Give the approximate date of its first documented use.  I recommend using the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) (as a WSU student, you have access to the OED via the university library at http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2340/).  

Follow the pattern in my example below.  Use the link to go to the OED entry for “defendant” and select “full entry”; you’ll find that it goes on for more than a page.  I’ve reported only the part that (a) refers to the noun, (b) refers to a legal context, and (c) is not marked as obsolete, or historical, or rare.  For “defendant”,  the relevant legal usage is flagged as “
Law”,  but for some other examples you’ll need to figure out for yourself which part of the entry is relevant to a legal context.  I got the source languages  by expanding the Etymology tab.  I found the dates for the relevant legal use by looking at the earliest quotations for that sense of the word.

I copied and pasted the relevant part of the OED entry;  you are free to quote or paraphrase,  whichever seems more useful for the word you are working on.  A quote that is half a page long probably should be paraphrased and cut down to its essentials.

You need to acknowledge whatever sources you use.  If you use the OED,  you can just say “OED” and give the link to the relevant entry, as shown in the example;  if you use other sources,  you should give a brief citation in any standard format and include a link if relevant.
 
Example: defendant (n)

The OED reports that defendant comes from Anglo-Norman and Middle French and the examples show that its first documented use as a noun in this meaning is from around 1325.  As a term in law,  the OED defines “defendant” as "A person or organization against whom a legal action, claim, or charge is brought; a party that is prosecuted or sued in a court or tribunal." (http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2340/view/Entry/48789)


  1.  subpoena (n)
  2.  witness (n)
  3.  plaintiff (n)
  4.  abet (v)
  5.  attorney (n)
  6.  writ (n)
  7.  heir (n)
  8.  affidavit (n)
  9.  de facto  (adj, adv)
  10.   judge (n)
   
Part 2.  The following texts are from the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).  Rewrite them in plain English to eliminate confusion and ambiguity.  Your revision can be shorter or longer than the original text and does not have to be the same number of sentences (i.e., if the original is a single sentence, you may find it is clearer to paraphrase it as several sentences).  You may find that you need to look up some of the technical terminology in the laws I am asking you to rewrite.  For example, what does “condition precedent” mean?  The OED will give you a short definition;  a law school textbook would tell you more than you need to know now.

Example: RCW 9A.16.090
No act committed by a person while in a state of voluntary intoxication shall be deemed less criminal by reason of his or her condition, but whenever the actual existence of any particular mental state is a necessary element to constitute a particular species or degree of crime, the fact of his or her intoxication may be taken into consideration in determining such mental state.

Plain English:  A person who commits a crime while willingly drunk or willingly high is responsible for that crime.  If the crime requires a person to be able to think clearly or to decide to do something, then the court may consider whether someone who is drunk or high has the relevant mental ability to think clearly or to make conscious decisions.
  1. If any part of this chapter is found to be in conflict with federal requirements which are a condition precedent to the allocation of federal funds to the state, the conflicting part of this chapter is inoperative solely to the extent of the conflict and with respect to the agencies directly affected, and such findings or determination shall not affect the operation of the remainder of this chapter in its application to the agencies concerned.  (RCW 34.05.040)

  2. A person commits robbery when he or she unlawfully takes personal property from the person of another or in his or her presence against his or her will by the use or threatened use of immediate force, violence, or fear of injury to that person or his or her property or the person or property of anyone. Such force or fear must be used to obtain or retain possession of the property, or to prevent or overcome resistance to the taking; in either of which cases the degree of force is immaterial. Such taking constitutes robbery whenever it appears that, although the taking was fully completed without the knowledge of the person from whom taken, such knowledge was prevented by the use of force or fear. (RCW 9A.56.190)

  3. Whoever, with intent that his or her act shall, or with reason to believe that it may, injure, interfere with, interrupt, supplant, nullify, impair, or obstruct the owner's or operator's management, operation, or control of any agricultural, stockraising, lumbering, mining, quarrying, fishing, manufacturing, transportation, mercantile, or building enterprise, or any other public or private business or commercial enterprise, wherein any person is employed for wage, shall willfully damage or destroy, or attempt or threaten to damage or destroy, any property whatsoever, or shall unlawfully take or retain, or attempt or threaten unlawfully to take or retain, possession or control of any property, instrumentality, machine, mechanism, or appliance used in such business or enterprise, shall be guilty of criminal sabotage.  (RCW 9.05.06o)