Vacated judgment

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A vacated judgment makes a previous legal judgment legally void. A vacated judgment is usually the result of the judgment of an appellate court, which overturns, reverses, or sets aside the judgment of a lower court. An appellate court may also vacate its own decisions.

A trial court may have the power under certain circumstances, usually involving fraud or lack of jurisdiction over the parties to a case, to vacate its own judgments.

A vacated judgment may free the parties to civil litigation to re-litigate the issues subject to the vacated judgment.

Another means of having a vacated judgment would be if the defendant dies prior to all appeals being exhausted. Notable defendants having their convictions vacated under this include Kenneth Lay (the former Chairman/CEO of Enron who died before sentencing) and Aaron Hernandez (the former football player who committed suicide in jail before his appeals were exhausted).

United States of America[edit]

"Relief from judgment" of a United States District Court is governed by Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[1] The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit noted that a vacated judgment "place[s] the parties in the position of no trial having taken place at all; thus a vacated judgment is of no further force or effect."[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Dec. 1, 2012)
  2. ^ United States v. Williams, 904 F.2d 7, 8 (7th Cir. 1990) (citations removed).