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In law {{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} In criminal law, in certain jurisdictions, criminal prosecutions are brought in the name of the People. Several U.S. states, including California, Illinois, and New York, use this style.<ref>See, e.g., California v. Anderson 6 Cal. 3d 628; 493 P.2d 880; 100 Cal. Rptr. 152; 1972 Cal. LEXIS 154 (1972)</ref> Citations outside the jurisdictions in question usually substitute the name of the state for the words "the People" in the case captions.<ref>See generally, The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, rule 10.</ref> Four states — Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky — refer to themselves as the Commonwealth in case captions and legal process.<ref>See Commonwealth (United States)</ref> Other states, such as Indiana, typically refer to themselves as the State in case captions and legal process. Outside the United States, criminal trials in Ireland and the Philippines are prosecuted in the name of the people of their respective states.

The political theory underlying this format is that criminal prosecutions are brought in the name of the sovereign; thus, in these U.S. states, the "people" are judged to be the sovereign, even as in the United Kingdom and other dependencies of the British Crown, criminal prosecutions are typically brought in the name of the Crown. "The people" identifies the entire body of the citizens of a jurisdiction invested with political power or gathered for political purposes.<ref>Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed., "People".</ref>


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