Generally, to allocute in law means "to speak out formally." In the field of apologetics, allocution is generally done in defense of a belief. In politics, one may allocute before a legislative body in an effort to influence their position on an issue. In law, it is generally meant to state specifically and in detail what one did and for what reason, often in relation to commission of a crime.

In most United States jurisdictions a defendant is allowed the opportunity to allocute—that is, explain himself—before sentence is passed. Some jurisdictions hold this as an absolute right, and in its absence, a sentence may potentially be overturned, with the result that a new sentencing hearing must be held.

Allocution is sometimes required of a defendant who pleads guilty to a crime in a plea bargain in exchange for a reduced sentence. In this instance, allocution can serve to provide closure for victims or their families. In principle, it removes any doubt as to the exact nature of the defendant's guilt in the matter. However, there have been many cases in which the defendant allocuted to a crime that he did not commit, often because this was a requirement to receiving a lesser sentence.Fact|date=August 2007

The term "allocution" is generally only in use in jurisdictions in the United States, though there are vaguely similar processes in other common law countries.

For example in Australia the term "allocutus" will be used. It will be used by the Clerk of Arraigns or another formal associate of the Court. It will generally be phrased as "Prisoner at the Bar, you have been found Guilty by a jury of your peers of the offense of XYZ. Do you have anything to say as to why the sentence of this Court should not now be passed upon you?". The defense counsel will then make a "plea in mitigation" (also called "submissions on penalty") wherein he or she will attempt to mitigate the relative seriousness of the offense and heavily refer to and rely upon the defendant's previous good character and good works (if any). In Australia, the right to make a plea in mitigation is absolute. If a judge or magistrate were to refuse to hear such a plea, or obviously fail to properly consider it, then the sentence would, without doubt, be overturned on appeal.

In many other jurisdictions it is for the defense lawyer to mitigate on his client's behalf, and the defendant himself will rarely have the opportunity to speak.

In Media

Allocution refers to the one way dissemination of information through a media channel. It assumes that one party has an unlimited amount of information (usually through some kind of expertise) and can act as the ‘information services provider’ (pg 268) while the other party acts as the ‘information services consumer’ (Bordewijk and Kaam, 1986:268)

The term allocution differs from distribution as distribution implies that the original party loses some kind of control over the information. One party can tell many others a piece of information without losing it themselves, the original information store never becomes empty. (Bordewijk and Kaam, 1986:268)

The original party holds all control over the information. They decide when, how and how much information to give to the information services consumer. The consumer has no control over it in this model.

Examples of this type of communication include radio and traditional television programs such as the news.

Bordewijk, Jan L. and van Kaam, Ben (2002) [1986] “Towards a New Classification of Tele-Information Services,” in Denis McQuail (ed.) McQuail’s Reader in Mass Communication Theory, Sage, London, pp.113-24

See also

* Confession (legal)

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  • allocution — [ a(l)lɔkysjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1705; lat. allocutio, de alloqui « haranguer » ♦ Discours familier et bref adressé par une personnalité, dans une circonstance particulière et à un public précis. Une allocution radiotélévisée du chef de l État. ⇒ 1.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Allocution — • A solemn form of address or speech from the throne employed by the Pope on certain occasions Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Allocution     Allocution      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • allocution — al·lo·cu·tion /ˌa lə kyü shən/ n [Latin allocutio, from alloqui to speak to, from ad to + loqui to speak]: a formal speech; esp: one made by a defendant at the time of sentencing Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • Allocution — Al lo*cu tion, n. [L. allocuto, fr. alloqui to speak to; ad + loqui to speak: cf. F. allocution.] 1. The act or manner of speaking to, or of addressing in words. [1913 Webster] 2. An address; a hortatory or authoritative address as of a pope to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • allocution — ALLOCUTION. s. f. (On prononce les deux L.) Terme par lequel on désigne les harangues que les Généraux et les Empereurs Romains faisoient à leurs troupes. [b]f♛/b] On donne aussi dans ce sens le nom d Allocution aux médailles sur le revers… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Allocution — (v. lat. Allocutĭo, Anrede), 1) (röm. Ant.), Anrede, die ein Feldherr bes. vor der Schlacht zur Anfeuerung des Muthes u. der Tapferkeit an die Soldaten hielt; die beifällige Antwort der Truppen durch Erheben der Schilde od. durch Waffengetös od.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Allocution — Allocution, Anrede des Papstes an das Collegium der Cardinäle; wird nur über einen besonders wichtigen Gegenstand gehalten und vertritt häufig die Stelle eines Manifests …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • allocution — [al΄ō kyo͞o′shən, al΄əkyo͞o′shən] n. [L allocutio < alloqui, to speak to < ad , to + loqui, to speak] a formal address, esp. one warning or advising with authority …   English World dictionary

  • Allocution —  Ne doit pas être confondu avec Allocation. Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sur les autres projets Wikimedia  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ALLOCUTION — n. f. Discours, en général de peu d’étendue, adressé par un supérieur à ceux qu’il commande ou qu’il dirige. Après cette courte et vive allocution, il les conduisit à l’ennemi. Ce chef de fabrique a adressé à ses ouvriers une allocution vraiment… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

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