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April 2001


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Jim Folts <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 6 Apr 2001 10:40:59 -0400
text/plain (29 lines)
Execution of a civil judgment means that the sheriff or a deputy levies the amount of the judgment against the personal property of the judgment debtor, and against the real property, if the value of the personal property is insufficient to satisfy the judgment.  The sheriff sells the property, and the proceeds of the sheriff's sale are paid to the judgment creditor (also to the court for its fees).

The document termed an "execution" would post-date 1848, when major changes in civil procedure were enacted by the Legislature.  The execution is simply an order to the sheriff to sell property to satisfy a civil judgment.  The pre-1848 counterpart was the common-law writ of fieri facias.

While routine imprisonment for debt was abolished in New York in 1833, I believe the law still provides for arrest and detention of a judgment debtor if he or she is about to abscond with assets that are subject to a judgment levy. Certain assets (e.g. personal clothing, workers' tools, etc.) have always been exempt from sheriff's sale.

Details of the process of civil executions may be obtained from current and superseded versions of the New York Consolidated Laws, available in law libraries around the state.  (Try the Supreme Court library in the county seat.)

Jim Folts
New York State Archives

>>> [log in to unmask] 04/02/01 02:40PM >>>
        I am processing some "Executions Against Property" and have come
across an "Execution Against Person" dated 1868.  It is my understanding
that Debtors Prison, as such was outlawed on the Federal level around 1833.

        Can anyone give me any information on the NYS law about debtors
during the early to mid nineteenth century?  Recommend any publications?
Sharon A. Pullen, CA
Suffolk County Archivist
Office of the County Clerk
310 Center Drive
Riverhead, NY 11901-3392

Phone: 631-852-2015
Email: [log in to unmask]