He keeps order chiefly thanks to the patronage that he can grant and withdraw according to his discretion and whim.
If she did not sell them, she was left in the red and “subject to further penalties at the discretion of defendants.”
We suspect that those courts will recognize a healthy degree of discretion under the law.
c.1300, dyscrecyun, "moral discernment," from Old French discrecion or directly from Late Latin discretionem (nominative discretio) "discernment, power to make distinctions," in classical Latin "separation, distinction," noun of state from past participle stem of discernere "to separate, distinguish" (see discern). Phrase at (one's) discretion attested from 1570s, from sense of "power to decide or judge" (late 14c.); the age of discretion (late 14c.) in English law was 14.