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STARE DECISIS

Lat.: to stand by that which was decided. Rule by which common law courts are reluctant to interfere with principles announced in former decisions and therefore rely upon judicial precedent as a compelling guide to decision of cases raising issues similar to those in previous cases. EXAMPLE: A state supreme court rules that a person's privacy interests demand court protection of telephone toll records from police investigations. Several years later, the issue is brought back to the court. The prosecutor claims that other states allow the records to be used without interference in privacy and that other privacy protections can be employed if necessary. Even if some new members of the court agree with the prosecutor, the court most likely will apply stare decisis and abide by the previous decision. Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016

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