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: power of free decision or latitude of choice within certain bounds imposed by law [reached the age of ] [struck down death penalty provisions administered through unbridled jury "L. H. Tribe"]: as
a : the power of a judge to use his or her own judgment in making decisions guided by what is fair and equitable and by principles of law see also abuse of discretion
b : the power of a public official or employee to act and make decisions based on his or her own judgment or conscience within the bounds of reason and the law
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.