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the freedom of a public officer to make choices, within the limits of his or her authority, among possible courses of action.

ABUSE OF DISCRETION: see abuse of discretion
DISCRETIONARY ACCOUNT: in the securities trade, one in which the customer gives the broker or a third party complete or partial discretion to buy and sell securities. Such discretion typically extends to selection, price, timing, and amount purchased.
JUDICIAL DISCRETION: the reasonable use of judicial power, ie, the court's freedom to decide within the bounds of law and fact.
EXAMPLE: Jason, a juvenile, is charged with an assault upon another teenager. In Jason's state, the law provides the juvenile judge with the judicial discretion to have the case heard in the juvenile court or to transfer the case to an adult court. Previous cases and the law itself establish certain standards to use in determining whether a transfer is appropriate, but the judge has the discretion to decide which court shall hear the matter. The decision, though, may be appealed to a higher court.
LEGAL DISCRETION: the use of one of several equally satisfactory provisions of law.
PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION: the wide range of alternatives for a prosecutor in criminal cases, including decision to prosecute, particular charges to be brought, bargaining, mode of trial conduct, recommendations for sentencing, parole, etc.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; ©
"Under this exception, the government remains shielded from liability if its employee committed the allegedly tortious act in the exercise of a discretionary function. Id. In order to determine whether the governmental employee was performing a discretionary function, a court must consider: (1) "whether the conduct involves an element of judgment or choice"; and (2) "whether the judgment or choice is grounded in considerations of public policy.""
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