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Motion to Quash an Indictment

What is a Motion to Quash? 

First of all, yes, the correct word is "quash", not "squash" as many people believe.

The La. Code of Criminal Procedure (all states have their own similar code of criminal procedure),  Article 531 states that all pleas or defenses raised before trial, other than mental incapacity to proceed or pleas of "not guilty" and of "not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity," shall be urged by a motion to quash.

 The defense challenges all other pretrial issues such as a flawed  indictment or an improper subpoena of a person or of specific business records or personal files by filing a motion to quash.

 I found this humorous article about a motion to quash a subpoena issued to Twitter by the Manhattan District Attorney's office seeking all of the tweets of a single occupy Wall Street protester who was arrested during the Brooklyn Bridge protest. Apparently the arrested individual protester, while waiting inside the police van, wondering where he was being taken and when he would be released, tweeted the following: "Help, I am being kidnapped by armed thugs." It seems the NYPD was not nearly as amused as I was

What I found amusing was what the judge asked the prosecutor on the morning of the hearing for the motion to quash the subpoena issued to Twitter. The judge turned to the prosecutor and asked, "Where is Twitter?" He asked as if under the impression that a person named Mr. Twitter failed to appear in court.

This resulted in a loud outburst of laughter in the courtroom followed by a round of applause and a moderate outburst of anger from the courtroom deputies and ultimately a couple of spectators being removed from the courtroom.

"New York County Criminal Court Judge, asked the prosecutor, Where is Twitter?"


  The legal definition of quash:

quash 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.

Microsoft asks the Court to Quash Samsung Subpoena

In a motion filed with the court late Tuesday, we find that Microsoft is trying to quash a subpoena served by Samsung.
 As you can see, a motion to quash is often filed by a corporation in attempt to keep from having to turn over sensitive business documents to a competitor. It is also filed in criminal cases to challenge indictments & other charging instruments.

 Have you checked out the other participants in the 2002 A to Z blogging Challenge?


Melissa Sugar said...

LOL I bet the judge's world caused all that twittering. It was funny, though.

And now I feel a helluva lot smarter about what motion to quash means. I didn't know that was what it was called. :)

Melissa Sugar said...

Yep. The word definitely is quash. I've heard this uttered in court when I was on jury duty a few years ago and left wondering what it meant. Haha, found out right away once I paid close attention to the lawyers!

Melissa Sugar said...

The Twitter story is funny!

Melissa Sugar said...

Who ever thought that "motion to quash" and Twitter would be used in the same blog post. I've missed you the last several posts, Melissa. I even had quid pro quo as my Q post just for you!

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