Motion in Arrest of Judgment – a defendant’s postjudgment motion in a criminal case claiming that a substantial error appearing on the face of the record invalidates the whole proceeding & the judgment

     This page is continued from Motions >>>> Posttrial Motions >>>> Posttrial Motions to Contest, Alter, or Attain Relief from the Judgment:

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motion in arrest of judgment:
(17c.)

1. A defendant’s motion claiming that a substantial error appearing on the face of the record vitiates the whole proceeding and the judgment.

2. A postjudgment motion in a criminal case claiming that the indictment is insufficient to sustain a judgment or that the verdict is somehow insufficient.

arrest of judgment:
(17c).

1. The staying of a judgment after its entry; especially, a court’s refusal to tender or enforce a judgment because of a defect apparent from the record.  *  At common law, courts have the power to arrest judgment for intrinsic causes appearing on the record, as when the verdict differs materially from the pleadings on when the case alleged int he pleadings is legally insufficient.  Today, the type of defect must typically be objected to before trial or before judgment is entered, so that the motion in arrest of judgment has been largely superseded. — aka allocutus. [1]

1. A remedy by motion for a party against whom a verdict has been rendered.  A remedy solely for the defendant under the earlier practice where a judgment non obstante veredicto was available only for a plaintiff. 30A Am J Rev ed Judgm § 292.

Preventing entry of judgment upon the verdict in a criminal case. 21 Am J 2d Crim L § 520. [2]

1. A judge’s order suspending or setting aside a judgment when a defect in the proceedings renders the judgment unenforceable.  A motion in arrest of judgment is a motion that asks the court to set aside a judgment. [3]

     Excerpt from U.S. v. Sisson, 399 U.S. 267, 280-81, 90 S.Ct. 2117, 2125 (1970):

     “An arrest of judgment [under common law] was the technical term describing the act of a trial judge refusing to enter judgment on the verdict because of an error appearing on the face of the record that tendered the judgment invalid. [4]

References:

Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is compiled in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: U.S. v. Sisson, 399 U.S. 267, 280-81, 90 S.Ct. 2117, 2125 (1970).

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