What is OYER AND TERMINER?

A half-French phrase applied in England to the assizes, which are so called from the commission of oyer and terminer directed to the judges, empowering them to “inquire, hear, and determine” all treasons, felonies, and misdemeanors. This commission is now issued regularly but was formerly used only on particular occasions, as upon sudden outrage or insurrection in any place. In the United States, the higher criminal courts are called “courts of oyer and terminer.” Burrill.

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