ex post facto

Pronunciation key

( eks pōst faktō )

ex post fac•to


[Med. L. ex postfacto from the thing or what is done afterward].

  1. Made after something. Done after something, but having retroactive effects
  2. Formulated and enacted and functions retroactively. Ex post facto law.

A law which is retroactive and makes an act a crime, that was not criminal under prior law when the act was actually committed. To increase the penalty for a crime that has already been committed or altering the rules of evidence to the disadvantage of the person who is under indictment for a crime. Congress is forbidden to pass any ex post facto law by Article 1, section 9, part 3 of the American Constitution and individual states are prohibited from passing any such legislature by Article 1, section 10, part 1.

References and Further Reading

  • Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (College Edition) ©1955
  • The New World Family Encyclopedia ©1955
  • The American Peoples Encyclopedia ©1960
  • Encyclopedia International ©1966 (Grolier Inc.)
  • The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition ©1985
  • Further Reading

  • Ex Post Facto Law
  • Ex Post Facto Law
  • Minnesota State Legislation: Prohibition against Ex Post Facto Law
  • Oxford Journals: Ex Post Facto Law
  • The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed."
  • Missouri Constitution, Article 1, Bill of Rights
  • University of Chicago Law, 1947
  • Cato Institute: The Case Against Ex Post Facto Civil Law
  • Ex Post Facto
  • Ex Post Facto, "No...ex post facto Law shall be passed." Article I, Section 9, Clause 3
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