One who flees; always used in law with the implication of a flight, evasion, or escape from some duty or penalty or from the consequences of a misdeed. Fugitive from justice. A person who, having committed a crime, flies from the state or country where it transpired, in order to evade arrest and escape justice. Fugitive offenders. In English law. Where a person accused of any offense punishable by imprisonment, with hard labor. for twelve months or more, has left that part of his majesty’s dominions where the offense is alleged to have been committed, he is liable, if round in any other part of his majesty’s dominions, to be apprehended and returned in manner provided by the fugitive offenders act, 1881, to the part from which he is a fugitive. Wharton. Fugitive slave. One who, held in bondage, flees from his master’s power. Fugitive slave law. An act of congress passed in 1793 (and also one enacted in 1850) providing for the surrender and deportation of slaves who escaped from their masters and fled into the territory of another state, generally a “free” state.
TheLaw.com Law Dictionary & Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.