SENTENCE (Lat. sententia, a way of thinking, opinion, judgment, vote, sentire, to feel, think), a word of which the principal meanings now are: (a) in grammar, a thought expressed in words in complete grammatical form and composed of subject and predicate, and (b) in law, a judicial decision. In law, the term signifies either (i) a judgment of a court of criminal jurisdiction imposing a punishment such as a fine or imprisonment, or (2) a decree of certain competent courts, as ecclesiastical and admiralty courts. In sense (i) a sentence may be either definite or final, i.e. one giving finality to the case, or interlocutory, determining some point in the progress of the case (see, however, JUDGMENT). The sentences inflicted by the courts of various countries vary according to the gravity of the offence (see CRIMINAL LAW; also CAPITAL PUNISHMENT; and, for the " indeterminate " sentence, RECIDIVISM). Concurrent sentences are those which run from the same date in respect of convictions on various indictments. A cumulative sentence is the sum total of consecutive sentences passed in respect of each distinct offence of which an accused person has been found guilty on several counts of an indictment. A sentence, in the case of trials before a court of assize, commences to run from the first day of the sitting of the court, but in that of courts of quarter sessions from the time the sentence is pronounced.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)