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[Anglo-French atteinder, from ateindre to convict, sentence, literally, to reach, attain, ultimately from Latin attingere to reach, from ad to + tangere to touch]
: the termination of the civil rights of a person upon a sentence of death or outlawry for treason or a felony see also bill of attainder at bill, corruption of blood NOTE: In English law up to the nineteenth century, attainder was the harsh consequence of conviction for treason or a felony. It resulted in the forfeiture of the convicted person's property. It also involved corruption of blood, which barred the person from inheriting, retaining, or passing title, rank, or property. A person outlawed lost the right to seek protection under the law. Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits corruption of blood or forfeiture upon a conviction for treason “except during the life of the person attainted,” and Article I, Section 9 prohibits bills of attainder. Attainder was abolished in England in 1870.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.