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disjunctive - vocabulary

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disjunctive - adjective

Helping or serving to disconnect or separate; dividing; distinguishing.

Note: In grammar, disjunctive describes the process of syntactically setting two or more elements in opposition to each other, as in poor but happy, or expressing an alternative, as in John or Mary. A disjunctive series of elements is joined by the coordinating conjunction or, and any one element of the series may satisfy the proposition.

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure phrase the sanction provision somewhat differently, but retain the disjunctive form: "[T]he court shall order that the testimony of the witness be stricken from the record and that the trial proceed, or . . . shall declare a mistrial if required by the interest of justice." Fed. R. Crim. P. 26.2(e).

The government seizes upon the disjunctive form of this language to argue that a district court may never impose both the sanction of a mistrial and the sanction of suppressing the testimony of the witness when a Jencks Act violation occurs.

—United States v. McKoy U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, March 4, 1996

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