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To overthrow; to annul; to make void or declare invalid; e.g., "quash a subpoena."

Unreasonable, obviously irregular, or oppressive subpoenas, injunctions, indictments, and orders can be quashed by a court. For example, if jurors have been selected improperly, the court can quash the proceedings.

In criminal cases, if an indictment is defective to such a degree that no judgment could be made if the defendant were to be convicted, the court typically will quash the indictment. In criminal cases, a motion made by the prosecution to quash an indictment is much more likely to succeed than one made by the defense, whose motion would appear self-serving.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


v. to annul or set aside. In law, a motion to quash asks the judge for an order setting aside or nullifying an action, such as "quashing" service of a summons when the wrong person was served.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


to annul.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

TO QUASH, practice. To overthrow or annul.
     2. When proceedings are clearly irregular and void the courts will quash them, both in civil and criminal cases: for example, when the array is clearly irregular, as if the jurors have been selected by persons not authorized by law, it will be quashed. 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 3342.
     3. In criminal cases, when an indictment is so defective that no judgment can be given upon it, should the defendant be convicted, the court, upon application, will in general quash it; as if it have no jurisdiction of the offence charged, or when the matter charged is not indictable. 1 Burr. 516, 548; Andr. 226. When the application to quash is made on the part of the defendant, the court generally refuses to quash the indictment when it appears some enormous crime has been committed. Com. Dig. Indictment, H; Wils. 325; 1 Salk. 372; 3 T. R. 621; 6 Mod. 42; 3 Burr. 1841; 5 Mod. 13; Bac. Abr. Indictment, K. When the application is made on the part of the prosecution, the indictment will be quashed whenever it is defective so that the defendant cannot be convicted, and the prosecution appears to be bona fide. If the prosecution be instituted by the attorney general, he may, in some states, enter a nolle prosequi, which has the same effect. 1 Dougl. 239, 240. The application should be made before plea pleaded; Leach, 11; 4 St. Tr. 232; 1 Hale, 35; Fost. 231; and before the defendant's recognizance has been forfeited. 1 Salk. 380. Vide Cassetur Breve.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Now the Court of Appeal has quashed two of those convictions after Winter claimed his lawyer failed to defend him properly.
"As it was not a proper committal the charges will have to be quashed and matters take a different course," said Mr Cooke.
The bench had also quashed the private complaints filed against Chidambaram's kin by the IT department, before the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) court in Egmore.
They added that the convictions for robbery with violence and attempted robbery were quashed and the sentences set aside.
'The court quashed his PSA early last week and we were expecting his release soon.
The motion stated that the prevailing rule on quashed or nullified Information or charge sheet stays quashed unless revived, citing a Supreme Court 2009 decision in the case of Ariel M.
In the package given to TDs, it was claimed 36,839 speeding tickets, 3,270 mobile phone tickets, 1,200 careless driving tickets, 1,871 seat belt tickets and 943 red light tickets were quashed for off-duty gardai, family and friends.
Mr Justice Collins, sitting at London's High Court, quashed the order after ruling, "There is no reasonable suspicion."
He was released on licence in 1998, when his case was being considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), and his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in February 2003.
He agreed that the couple's convictions for helping the pair to enter Britain should be quashed, but upheld the convictions on the other charges and ruled that the overall sentence they each must serve must remain the same.
A LIVERPOOL man who was found guilty of invading the home of a couple who ran a pizza business has had his convictions quashed -but must now face a retrial.
Speed queen Vicki Butler-Henderson reveals how to get tickets quashed in this edition of the motoring magazine.