In jurisprudence, an excuse is a defense to criminal charges that is distinct from an exculpation. Justification and excuse are different defenses in a criminal case (See Justification and excuse). Exculpation is a related concept which reduces or extinguishes a person's culpability, such as a their liability to pay compensation to the victim of a tort in the civil law.
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The excuse provides a mitigating factor for a group of persons sharing a common characteristic. Justification, as in justifiable homicide, vindicates or shows the justice. Thus, society approves of the purpose or motives underpinning some actions or the consequences flowing from them (see Robinson[clarification needed]), and distinguishes those where the behavior cannot be approved but some excuse may be found in the characteristics of the defendant, e.g. that the accused was a serving police officer or suffering from a mental illness. Thus, a justification describes the quality of the act, whereas an excuse relates to the status or capacity (or lack of it) in the accused. These factors can affect the resulting judgment which may be an acquittal, or in the case of a conviction may mitigate sentencing. An excuse may also be something that a person or persons use to explain any criticism or comments based on the outcome of any specific event.