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.