A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder) is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without privilege of a judicial trial. As with attainder resulting from the normal judicial process, the effect of such a bill is to nullify the targeted person’s civil rights, most notably the right to own property (and thus pass it on to heirs), the right to a title of nobility, and, in at least the original usage, the right to life itself. Bills of attainder were used in England between about 1300 and 1800 and resulted in the executions of a number of notable historical figures. However, the use of these bills eventually fell into disfavour due to the obvious potential for abuse and the violation of several legal principles, most importantly separation of powers, the right to due process, and the precept that a law should address a particular form of behaviour rather than a specific individual or group. For these reasons, bills of attainder are expressly banned by the United States Constitution as well as the constitutions of all 50 US states.