harmless error
harmless error see error

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

harmless error
n.
An error made by an appellate court during a trial that is usually trivial or academic, does not prejudice the rights of the party affected by it, and does not necessitate the reversal of the judgment.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.


harmless error
An error by a judge in the conduct of a trial that an appellate court finds was not damaging enough to the appealing party's right to a fair trial to justify reversing the judgment. Harmless errors include technical errors that have no bearing on the outcome of the trial, and an error that was corrected (such as mistakenly allowing testimony to be heard, but then ordering it stricken and admonishing the jury to ignore it). In general, the more overwhelming the evidence against the appealing party (appellant), the harder it will be to convince the appellate court that any errors were harmful. In such situations, courts rule that even in the absence of the errors, the appellant could not have won.
Category: Criminal Law
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.


harmless error
An error committed during a trial that was corrected or was not serious enough to affect the outcome of a trial and therefore was not sufficiently harmful (prejudicial) to be reversed on appeal.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

harmless error
n.
   an error by a judge in the conduct of a trial which an appellate court finds is not sufficient for it to reverse or modify the lower court's judgment at trial. Harmless error would include: a technical error which has no bearing on the outcome of the trial, an error that was corrected (such as allowing testimony and then ordering it stricken and admonishing the jury to ignore it), the issue affected by the error was found in the appellant's favor (such as hearsay evidence on premeditation, but the jury found no premeditation), and the appeals court's view that even though there were errors the appealing party could not have won in trial in any event. This last gives the appeals court broad latitude to rule that errors were not significant. It is frustrating to appealing parties and their attorneys for the appeals court to rule that there were indeed several errors, and then say: "However, they appear to be harmless."
   See also: error

Law dictionary. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Harmless error — A harmless error is a ruling by a trial judge that, although clearly mistaken, does not meet the burden for a losing party to reverse the original decision of the trier of fact on appeal, or to warrant a new trial. Harmless error is easiest to… …   Wikipedia

  • harmless error — Trivial, formal, or merely academic error; a determination which although erroneous, is not prejudicial to the substantial rights of the party who assigns it and in no way affects the final outcome of the case. State v Britton, 27 Wash 2d, 336,… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • harmless error — noun : a trivial technical error of law not requiring in the interests of justice a reversal of a judgment or the setting aside of a verdict or a new trial …   Useful english dictionary

  • harmless error doctrine — The doctrine that minor or harmless errors during a trial do not require reversal of the judgment by an appellate court. An error which is trivial or formal or merely academic and was not prejudicial to the substantial rights of the party… …   Black's law dictionary

  • harmless error doctrine — The doctrine that minor or harmless errors during a trial do not require reversal of the judgment by an appellate court. An error which is trivial or formal or merely academic and was not prejudicial to the substantial rights of the party… …   Black's law dictionary

  • error — er·ror n: an act that through ignorance, deficiency, or accident departs from or fails to achieve what should be done procedural error s; esp: a mistake made by a lower court in conducting judicial proceedings or making findings in a case to… …   Law dictionary

  • harmless — harm·less adj 1: free from harm, liability, or loss often used in the phrase to hold harmless see also hold harmless 2: lacking capacity or intent to injure harm·less·ly adv harm·less·ness n …   Law dictionary

  • error — A mistaken judgment or incorrect belief as to the existence or effect of matters of fact, or a false or mistaken conception or application of the law. Such a mistaken or false conception or application of the law to the facts of a cause as will… …   Black's law dictionary

  • error — A mistaken judgment or incorrect belief as to the existence or effect of matters of fact, or a false or mistaken conception or application of the law. Such a mistaken or false conception or application of the law to the facts of a cause as will… …   Black's law dictionary

  • error — A mistake of law or fact; a mistake of the court in the trial of an action; a writ to review a judgment of an inferior court in a higher court for errors appearing on the face of the record. A proceeding under a writ of error, distinct, under the …   Ballentine's law dictionary

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