Roth challenged his convictions on grounds that the state of Oklahoma didn’t have the jurisdiction to prosecute him under the McGirt ruling.
The 2020 Supreme Court decision found that since Congress had never disestablished the Muscogee Nation reservation, it still existed for purposes of criminal jurisdiction when a crime victim or suspect is American Indian and the crime occurred within the Muscogee reservation boundaries. The ruling has been expanded to include the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole nations’ reservations.
The boy who was killed was a member of the Cherokee Nation, and the death occurred within the Muscogee Nation reservation.
In its written 3-1 opinion, the court acknowledges “the exceptionally hard impact today’s decision will have on the victim’s surviving family and friends, not to mention the community where these crimes occurred …”
Despite this, the ruling states, “we have no choice but to apply the governing federal law.” The court added: “The matter is simply out of our hands after McGirt.”
The ruling sets up the possibility that Roth could be freed from prison early when the appellate court lifts its hold on the ruling after 20 days.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has typically held rulings for 20 days to give federal authorities time to seek an indictment.
What happens to a society in which judicial practice becomes unmoored from reasonable standards of evidence? How does a just society treat people with intellectual disabilities?
These are among the questions before us in Missouri’s Oct. 5 planned execution of Ernest Johnson. Johnson was convicted of the brutal 1994 murders of Mabel Scruggs, Fred Jones and Mary Bratcher in a botched armed robbery of a Casey’s General Store in Columbia. We remember the suffering of the victims and their families and grieve deeply for the loss of these three members of our Columbia community.
Johnson’s guilt is not in question, and it is reasonable that he spend life in prison for these crimes, but to carry out this execution would violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment because of extensive evidence that he has an intellectual disability.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its 2002 Atkins v. Virginia decision that executing a person with intellectual disability constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. However, states are allowed to define their own standards to determine intellectual disability, and Missouri prosecutors employed a process that would not pass muster in any reasonable intellectual assessment.
On the night of the murders, Johnson had been using crack cocaine and planned to rob the convenience store to fuel his habit. He was arrested the next day and was found guilty of the murders.
In a 2005 resentencing trial convened after the Atkins decision, jurors were asked to “trust your gut” in determining whether Johnson has an intellectual disability, and prosecutors suggested that Johnson cannot have an intellectual disability because he made efforts, albeit clumsy and unsuccessful, to plan and conceal his crime. Neither of these strategies meets any reasonable standard to determine intellectual disability, and our community deserves better. Let’s examine the evidence.
The standard definition of intellectual disability widely accepted by courts and experts includes three factors: impaired intellectual functioning as measured by IQ, impaired adaptive living skills and onset before age 18. Johnson’s history and the best available evidence are consistent with these factors.
Johnson has demonstrated lifelong marked intellectual impairment. Eight of nine full-scale IQ tests since age 8 placed him in a range consistent with intellectual disability. One single testing episode yielded a higher outlier low-average range score, but those files are not available for verification.
Some prosecution witnesses suggest Johnson might have deliberately underperformed on IQ tests to feign intellectual impairment. This claim is not supported by the evidence. First, Johnson’s 1968 IQ score at age 8 was comparable to his 2009 IQ score of 71 at age 49, suggesting consistent intellectual impairment across his lifespan. Second, no licensed professional offered scientific data that Johnson underperformed. Third, there are several widely used measures specifically designed to detect whether a person is deliberately underperforming on cognitive tests, measures that are validated scientifically in thousands of studies.
Prosecution witnesses inexplicably did not report use of such verification-free measures to see if Johnson was giving his best effort, although these measures are standard in most neuropsychological assessments and certainly should be standard in any death penalty case. When Johnson was administered such effort verification measures in an evaluation, it was found that despite good effort, Johnson still showed cognitive impairment.
IQ scores alone do not define intellectual disability, which must also include impairment in adaptive functioning. In a 2003 evaluation that formally assessed these abilities using the best available objective scientific tools, Johnson displayed severe impairment in communication, daily living skills and socialization, consistent with his lifelong inability to learn new skills, retain jobs, learn public transportation or live independently.
Finally, Johnson meets the standard of onset before age 18. He had to repeat three grades beginning in second grade, left school while repeating ninth grade, in 2008 demonstrated academic skills in the third- to eighth-grade range and teachers testified consistently to Johnson’s inability to learn even basic tasks.
Taken together, the evidence suggests a strong case for intellectual disability and warrants Eighth Amendment protection from execution for Ernest Johnson.
We all deserve to be protected from ad-hoc arbitrary definitions and to be judged by scientifically sound standards of evidence. We deserve a legal system grounded in constitutional standards and reliable data. Therefore, we respectfully call on Gov. Mike Parson to respect the Constitution by exercising clemency. Please contact Gov. Parson’s office today at 573-751-3222 and urge him to commute Ernest Johnson’s sentence to life in prison, or at minimum to convene a Board of Inquiry of neutral mental health experts to consider the extent of his disability.
Laura Schopp, Ph.D., ABPP is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist and recently retired professor whose scientific publications include studies on standards of intellectual assessment.
About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.
SAUDI Arabia’s medieval punishments are in the spotlight as the country’s investment fund looks to set to take over Newcastle United.
Public beheading, crucifixion and paralysis are all part of its ruthless and medieval justice system, which has seen record numbers executed.
Killings include a horrific mass execution involving 37 men, including one being crucified and another having his head impaled on a spike.
But the £300million footie deal will leave the Saudi Public Investment Fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, owning 80 per cent of the Magpies.
It has come under fire from human rights campaigners Amnesty International, who called for the Premier League to “overhaul their standards”.
They slammed the deal as an attempt to “sportswash their appalling human rights record with the glamour of top-flight football”.
CEO Sacha Deshmukh said: “Instead of allowing those implicated in serious human rights violations to walk into English football simply because they have deep pockets, we’ve urged the Premier League to change their owners’ and directors’ test to address human rights issues.
“The phrase ‘human rights’ doesn’t even appear in the owners’ and directors’ test despite English football supposedly adhering to Fifa standards.”
Saudi Arabia executed a record 184 people in 2019, compared to 149 the year before, according to Amnesty figures.
Most of them were drug smugglers convicted of non-violent crimes.
The figure dropped to just eight in 2020 as it hosted the G20 presidency but it has ramped them up in the first half of this year.
A total of 40 were executed up to July, the latest figures from Amnesty show.
Among those currently facing beheading is Abdullah al-Howaiti, who was 14 when he was arrested on a murder charge he denies.
In 2017, the kingdom carried out 146 executions while in 2016 the country killed 47 men in one single day in a horrific mass murder.
Those killed during the beheading bloodbath had all been convicted of “terrorism offences” in the hardline kingdom.
However, one of those beheaded, Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, was arrested while attending an anti-government protest when he was aged just 16.
He was convicted of being a “terrorist” in a trial branded a “farce” by Amnesty International.
Saudi has the third highest rate of executions in the world behind China and Iran, according to Amnesty.
Crown Prince Salman wants to make the desert kingdom a tech savvy 21st century nation and has introduced liberal reforms.
EYE FOR AN EYE
Yet for all his ambitions, the country still has the trappings of one caught in an altogether different era, particularly when it comes to its justice system.
Saudi Arabia retains the death penalty for a large number of offences including drug trafficking and “sorcery” as well as murder.
The majority of death sentences are carried out in public by beheading, drawing comparisons with the shocking brutality of the Islamic State.
The system is based on Sharia law, which the Saudis say is rooted in Islamic tradition and the Quran.
While they insist trials are conducted to the strictest standards of fairness, evidence has emerged from the country to suggest the opposite.
Trials are reported to have lasted a day and confessions extracted under torture.
The country has no written penal code and no code of criminal procedure and judicial procedure.
That allows courts wide powers to determine what constitutes a criminal offence and what sentences crimes deserve.
The only means of appeal is directly to the King, who decides whether the condemned lives or dies.
The list of punishments makes for grim reading.
In the first four months of 2018 alone it has carried out 86 beheadings, half of them for non-violent crimes such as drugs offences.
The surge in executions since last year saw at least 27 people executed in July alone, say Amnesty International.
Beheading remains the most common form of execution and the sentence is traditionally carried out in a public square on a Friday after prayers.
Deera Square in the centre of the capital Riyadh is known locally as “Chop Chop Square”.
The work may be grim but the country’s chief executioner appeared to take pride in his work.
After visiting the victim’s family to see if they want to forgive the prisoner, they are then taken for beheading.
“When they get to the execution square, their strength drains away,” the BBC reported Muhammad Saad al-Beshi as saying.
“Then I read the execution order, and at a signal I cut the prisoner’s head off.”.
A recent surge in rate of executions led to ads place for an eight executioners on the civil service jobs website.
A downloadable PDF application form for jobs said they fell under the term “religious functionaries” and would be at the lower end of the civil service pay scale.
In Saudi Arabia, the practice of “crucifixion” refers to the court-ordered public display of the body after execution, along with the separated head if beheaded.
In one case pictures on social media appearing to show five decapitated bodies hanging from a horizontal pole with their heads wrapped in bags.
The beheading and “crucifixion” took place in front of the University of Jizan where students were taking exams takes place in a public square to act as a deterrent.
The ability of courts to decide for themselves sentences that fit the crime has led to sentences of “qisas” or retribution.
The most high profile example was that of Ali al-Khawahir, who was 14 when he stabbed a friend in the backbone, leaving him “completely paralysed” from the waist down.
Ten years later was sentenced to be paralysed from the waist down unless he paid a million Saudi riyals to the victim.
At the time Amnesty International said the sentence was “utterly shocking” even for Saudi Arabia.
However, Mr al-Khawahir was not paralysed after his family agreed to pay his victim the one million riyals ($270,000) in compensation.
In such cases, the victim can demand the punishment be carried out, request financial compensation or grant a conditional or unconditional pardon.
Stoning remains a punishment for adultery for women in Saudi Arabia.
According to one witness, the accused are put into holes and then have rocks tipped on them from a truck.
A Dallas judge is recommending a new trial for a Jewish death row inmate after finding the judge who presided over his trial used offensive terms to describe Jewish people and the inmate in particular.
Judge Lela Mays recommended that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals toss the conviction of Randy Halprin, who was sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer during a robbery after he and six other men broke out of a Texas prison. NBC News and the Washington Post have coverage.
Halprin said he wasn’t the triggerman, but he was found criminally responsible under Texas’ law of parties, which holds conspirators liable for the actions of other conspirators.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had stayed Halprin’s execution in October 2019 and ordered Mays to make findings and recommendations regarding Halprin’s claim of judicial bias.
In her Oct. 11 findings, Mays said Halprin’s trial judge, Vickers “Vic” Cunningham, harbored a bias against Halprin because he is Jewish, violating his due-process right to a fair trial, his First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, and his 14th Amendment right to equal protection.
Mays found that “inbred bias was thoroughly situated into the conscious mind of Judge Cunningham and it is too much to ignore.”
Mays said Halprin’s Jewish identity was a recurring subject during trial. Halprin had testified he was “picked on” in prison for being Jewish. In the punishment phase, the defense argued that his life was shaped by his search for a Jewish identity and a desire to please his Jewish father. Prosecutors, on the other hand, presented information that Halprin “hated Christians with a passion” after he was shipped off to a Christian boarding school in middle school.
Prosecutors had accepted Halprin’s allegations as true but argued there was no due process violation. Cunningham had himself denied racism allegations when confronted by the Dallas Morning News and said he was always fair on the bench.
Among the allegations:
• Cunningham acknowledged in a videotaped interview that he set up a trust that withheld distributions to any of his children if they married a person who is not white or not Christian.
• A woman who grew up with Cunningham said he didn’t like anyone not of his race, religion or creed. He would use the N word to belittle his brother, and would use other offensive terms to describe minorities. When talking about Jewish people he would use the words “f—in’ Jew” or a “goddamn k-k-.” When he talked about the “Texas Seven” cases, he would often make hateful comments and mention the defendants’ race, ethnicity or religion. He also used offensive terms when talking about Halprin.
• A friend who worked on Cunningham’s unsuccessful campaign for Dallas County district attorney said he used disparaging words to refer to minorities. She also said Cunningham said he was running so we didn’t have to worry about minorities, saying at one point that his job “is to prevent n—— from running wild again.” The friend also heard Cunningham describe the Texas Seven case using racial and religious epithets. He also confided that he believed God has chosen him to preside in the Texas Seven cases.
• Cunningham instructed his daughter to break up with “that Jew boy” she was dating in college. He said some Jewish people were good attorneys, but Jewish people in general needed to be shut down because they controlled all the money and power. He also called renowned defense lawyer Barry Scheck a “filthy Jew” who was going to free “all these n—–.”
• When Cunningham ran for county commissioner he reminded the public that he had presided over Texas Seven death penalty trials and bragged that he “has put more criminals on death row than almost any judge in the nation.”
• Cunningham’s brother reported that Cunningham refused to allow the brother’s husband, a Black man, to enter his home.
According to the Washington Post, one member of the Texas Seven killed himself and four others have been executed. Only Halprin, 44, and Patrick Murphy, 60, remain.
The U.S. Supreme Court blocked Murphy’s execution in March 2019 after he alleged he wasn’t allowed to bring his Buddhist spiritual adviser into the execution chamber. Texas changed its policy, but federal courts have continued to stay the execution amid concerns it didn’t go far enough, the Texas Tribune reported.
One year ago, SEMO student Lea Brady went public with her story of sexual assault on Facebook. Her Dec. 10 post seemed to resonate with the student body and ignited concerns with the way the university handles cases of sexual assault and misconduct. Today, students continue to voice their frustrations on social media, most recently in a documentary named Hold SEMO Accountable, the same name as a 2020 petition created by student Kelsy Carrington.
The 22-minute documentary, created by photography major Alona Jenkins, was uploaded to Youtube Nov. 9, 2021. Jenkins created the documentary to bring awareness to sexual assault on campus and advocate for further action from school officials. The video cuts between results from a survey administered by Jenkins and three interviews, two from anonymous sources and one from current Redhawks Rising President Sophia Davis. The student organization Redhawks Rising was founded in 2016 to support survivors of sexual assault, raise awareness and provide educational opportunities on the issue to the student body.
A sexual misconduct situation might happen, and then it gets a lot of attention, Davis said. Maybe for a couple weeks people are outraged, and they might start petitions or there will be a big social media movement and a couple emails from administration, but then nothing really changes, and it happens again. Its a vicious cycle.
Concerns with reporting and hearing process
In the documentary, subjects described their frustrations with individuals accused of sexual assault being allowed to participate in university activities during the reporting and hearing process. A screenshot of Bradys original Facebook post further described these frustrations in the documentary.
In an interview with the Arrow, Brady said she originally filed a sexual assault report against a male athlete in October 2020, and the University issued a Letter of No Contact, a document similar to a restraining order, before opening a campus investigation. Two months later, she posted in the Living at Southeast Facebook group because she was frustrated the athlete remained on campus and continued to attend practices.
One day after her post, she received an email from the Office of Student Conduct telling her referring to the man on social media violated the Letter of No Contact.
I had to stop posting, Brady said. I felt like nobody was on my side. I was the one who set [the events on campus] off, and Im so happy that everyone got attention for their stuff, but I still got pushed back and felt like nobody was paying attention.
Bradys complaint ultimately was resolved in her favor, which included dismissing the student from the university, issuing a no-trespass order and imposing a $50 judicial fine. By this time, Brady said the accused had already transferred to another school.
Bradys Facebook post inspired one of the anonymous sources in the documentary to go public with her story of sexual assault on social media. The anonymous source told the Arrow the accused in her case was also an athlete, and by going public, she wanted to show that its a frequent thing happening.
During the investigation and hearing, the anonymous source said she was also frustrated the accused was allowed to continue attending athletics practices.
In regards to this issue, dean of students Trae Mitten explained when a student is accused, the university cannot prohibit the individual from participating in school sports or organizations because they are required by federal law to protect the rights of both reporting and accused students.
As a person, I completely understand that can be very frustrating, Mitten said. [This is] not institutional policy; it is literally what the law says.
Concerns with Letter of No Contact
Jenkins said she has her own story of reporting sexual misconduct on campus that was not included in the documentary. No hearing occurred in Jenkins case, but a Letter of No Contact was issued. Jenkins said she and the accused had similar majors, so they were enrolled in several of the same classes despite the Letter of No Contact.
I was anxious. I didnt want to go to class. I was debating dropping out of school, Jenkins said. I was very much still harassed by this person. Id walk outside class, and hed be waiting for me to leave outside the hallway. He definitely did talk to me.
Jenkins said when she reported the violations, the accused received sanctions including a $50 fine and probation, but Jenkins was afraid to continue reporting the violations due to continuous messages she received from the accused.
In regards to the Letter of No Contact, Mitten said the university cannot remove individuals from class until the investigation and resolution process is complete because they cannot impose sanctions until an individual is found in violation of university policy. In regards to breaking the Letter of No Contact, this is a violation of policy and appropriate sanctions will be placed depending on the given case.
After the resolution process is complete and a student has been found in violation, the university can remove individuals from class as a sanction depending on the case. When students must be in the same class, Mitten said the Letter of No Contact stays in place, but students will be placed on separate sides of the room, and faculty members may be notified.
One of the anonymous sources from the documentary said in an Arrow interview that she had a similar experience to Jenkins. Rather than contact from the accused, she described harassing contact from the accused persons friends. She said she felt the Letter of No Contact was not helpful in discouraging the behavior.
Concerns with execution of the Letter of No Contact are not new. In 2017, Kyleigh Williamsom told the Arrow in the story Process: Complexities arise with adjudicating assault that a Letter of No Contact and campus investigation did not prevent her accused and his wife from messaging her and posting flyers about her across campus to discourage her from moving forward with her complaint.
If a Letter of No Contact is broken, Mitten said the individual should report the violations, and appropriate sanctions will be enforced. In a case of physical violence, Mitten said he has personally assisted students in getting ex-parte orders through the court system.
We do have a good success rate with our no-contact orders, Mitten said. Its obviously not 100%, cause we can never control what any person chooses to do.
Concerns with education on consent and sexual misconduct
Toward the end of the documentary, two anonymous sources and Redhawks Rising president Sophia Davis raise the issue of needing comprehensive sexual violence and misconduct education.
Currently, incoming students are required to pass online modules covering alcohol, drugs and sexual violence through My Student Body before their first semester at SEMO begins. Davis said many students blow through the modules, get the score they need and forget about it. She believes the modules should be changed to an annual requirement.
What I think should be required from every student and faculty member is an updated, comprehensive module presentation. [It should be] something that everyone has to complete and get a perfect score on, Davis said.
To meet federal education requirements, Southeast pays for My Student Bodys module service, but Mitten said the university is constantly reviewing new packages that might better students education.
Besides My Student Body, other required education concerning sexual misconduct and consent appears in UI100. Students are required to view a presentation on sexual violence prevention and take an associated 10-question quiz with a 60% pass rate, as stated in the UI100 Faculty Resource Manual, updated Spring 2018.
UI100, formerly a three-credit hour course, was reduced to a one-credit hour course this year.
[With the change of UI100 to one-credit hour], we lost a significant amount of time when we could impactfully talk to students about these issues. In the absence of that, we have to identify new ways to address that, Mitten said. We are at this point re-evaluating and looking to re-establish all of our education programming.
In March of 2021, Davis told the Arrow the Department of Public Safety gave a new presentation on sexual conduct to her sorority Tri Sigma. She said she felt the presentation was misguided and not helpful.
Girls left crying, cause they were triggered by their experiences, and they didnt feel like it was a supportive environment, Davis said. We were the first chapter to receive the presentation, and we were the last chapter to receive the presentation.
Mitten said he felt there was some miscommunication that day, and the presentation could have been delivered in a more soft-edged way.
Last year, students were frustrated with examples of nonverbal consent presented in a campus violence prevention PowerPoint and began circulating screenshots of the slide on social media. In the presentation, the example of nonverbal consent making direct eye contact specifically angered students and made students who have reported sexual misconduct uncomfortable. In his letter to the student body Dec. 16, 2020, University President Carlos Vargas said the slide, along with all university trainings and materials on the topic, were under review.
Mitten said the presentation including the nonverbal consent slide that upset students is no longer used, and the university is considering new modes of educating students. Changes being discussed include increased peer-to-peer education, continuous education and a resource center with alternative reporting methods for those less likely to report.
In February, past Redhawks Rising President Celeste Akoro said she met with Vargas along with Redhawks Against Sexual Assault (RASA) President Adelia Hancock. RASA was created in December 2020, a few weeks after Bradys post, with the mission of advocating for sexual assault survivors on SEMOs campus. When Akoro left Vargas office that day, she said she felt positive there would be change. Currently, Akora remains positive and believes she will see change no matter how long it takes.
As for Jenkins documentary, the video has more than 1,800 views on Youtube as of Dec. 12, and Jenkins said she has received multiple direct messages on Instagram from students wanting to thank her and share their own stories. Jenkins said she is happy to hear her video has helped people, even if it just helped one person.
Still, the court, despite dire predictions to the contrary, protected and reaffirmed abortion rights. It cut back on affirmative action but did not eliminate it. Rehnquist himself, who repeatedly expressed his disdain forMiranda, the 1966 decision protecting the rights of suspects in custody, voted as chief justice to reaffirm the ruling. Having found in 1986 that it was constitutional for states to criminally prosecute private homosexual conduct, the court, in the span of a dozen years from 2003 to 2015, reversed itself on that question, overturned the Defense of Marriage Act protecting states from having to recognize same-sex unions and, finally, declared the existence of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
The enforcement of judgments, particularly in Nigeria is an
important step in any matter brought before a Court for resolution.
Where a party has judgment delivered in his favor by the Court, if
not enforced, the judgment will be useless to the said party. This
article sets out the procedure for enforcement of judgment in
The Supreme Court, in the case of Saraki & Anr.
v. Kotoye, defined the word
“A binding, authentic, official judicial determination
of the Court in respect of the claims and in an action before
In other words, it is the pronouncement of the court on the
action before it; a final settlement of the matter at the
court’s level of the judiciary.
Judgment must be found in favor of one party, whether the
Claimant (the party who has instituted the action) or the
Defendant, therefore, it leaves a judgment
creditor; the party in favor of whom judgment is found,
and a judgment debtor; the party against whom
judgment is given.
While a declaratory judgment merely proclaims or declares the
existence of a legal relationship and does not contain any order
which may be enforced against the judgment debtor, an executory
judgment declares the respective rights of the parties and then
proceeds to order the judgment debtor to act in a particular way,
hence, it is enforceable.
Further to this, declaratory judgments may end up being the
ground or basis of subsequent proceedings in which the rights,
having been violated, receive enforcement.
In David Ogunlade v. Ezekiel Adeleye,
the Court held that:
“.whilst an executory judgment is capable of immediate
execution, a declaratory judgment gives no such right. It merely
declares the rights of the parties. The rights which it confers on
the plaintiff can only become enforceable if another and subsequent
judgment, albeit relying on the rights it declared, so decrees.
Such a subsequent judgment conferring the power of execution is
In such an instance, the date of enforceability will be the date
of the subsequent (executory) judgment and not the earlier
judgment, which is merely declaratory.
In the words of D.I. Efevwerhan¸ ‘Every
successful litigant desires to enjoy the fruit of his success,
which is judgment.’ Execution includes the process of carrying
into effect the directions in a decree or judgment.
This begs the question ‘How does one enforce a judgment
against an unwilling judgment debtor?’
The Applicable Nigerian Laws:
The 1999 Constitution
The Sheriffs and Civil Processes Act
Judgment Enforcement Rules
The Civil Procedure Rules of the various courts.
Classification of Executory Judgments According to Subject
Matter and Their Modes of Enforcement
A). Money Judgments
Here, the judgment debtor is required to pay the judgment
creditor a sum of money; this could be damages awarded or a debt
owed which constituted the subject matter of the suit.
Modes of Enforcement:
Writ of Fieri Facias
This is used to levy execution against the property of the
judgment debtor; whether movable or immovable, as long as they lie
within the jurisdiction of the court. On the authority of
Order IV Rule 1(2) of the Judgment
Enforcement Rules, it can only be issued upon the
expiration of 3 days from the date of delivery of judgment.
The first call is on the movable property of judgment debtor and
Section 25 of the Sheriffs and Civil Processes
Act limits the property that may be seized and exempts wearing
apparel, bedding and tools and implements of the judgment
debtor’s trade to the value of N10, which is unarguably
inconsequential because of the devaluation of the naira.
It is important to note that seized property cannot be sold
until the expiration of 5 clear days from the date of seizure,
unless the goods are of a perishable nature or the judgment debtor
requests that they be sold in writing. Where the execution of the
judgment on the movable property of the judgment debtor does not
settle the debt, then his immovable property may be attached but,
this cannot be done without the leave of the High Court
first being obtained.
Before the judgment creditor can obtain the leave to attach the
debtor’s immovable property, he must first show that the funds
generated by the movable property did not settle the debt and that
the property he is seeking to attach actually belongs to the
judgment debtor. Only after these facts have been reasonably
established will leave be granted.
After the attachment, sale is only to occur upon the expiration
of 15 days from date of attachment, unless the judgment debtor
requests otherwise in writing.
An application for a writ of fi fa is brought in the
form of a motion on notice.
This is provided for in Sections 83 – 92 of the
SCPA. Where the judgment debtor has money due to
him from a third party, the court may call that third party; now
the garnishee, upon the application of the judgment creditor (the
garnishor) to pay the money due to the judgment debtor to the
court, said money to eventually be paid to the judgment creditor in
settlement of the judgment debt.
The judgment creditor applies, by a motion ex parte, for an
order nisi, which is a conditional order, to compel the
garnishee to appear before the court and show reasonable cause why
he should not be made to pay the debt to the creditor. Where the
garnishee fails to show reasonable cause or honor the invitation of
the court, the order nisi may be made absolute and the
money judgment will be enforceable against him, as if he were the
judgment debtor and the appropriate writ of execution may be issued
This is provided for in Section 55 of the
SCPA. The judgment creditor applies to the court
for the issue of a judgment debtor summons, to invite the
debtor to court to answer, on oath, questions as to his means.
The likely outcomes of this invitation to court, according to
Section 63 of the SCPA, are:
The judgment debtor may be committed to prison for failure to
settle debt, where it is discovered that he has the means but
simply refuses to pay.
The court may give an order attaching his property for
The court may give an order for payment in installments.
The court may give an order for the discharge of judgment
debtor from prison.
The governing law for this is Section 82 of the
An application for sequestration may only be made to the High
Court. It is similar to a writ of Fi Fa but, in this case,
the intent is not to sell the property or transfer title but to
appoint “commissioners” to enter the judgment
debtor’s immovable property for the purpose of collecting and
keeping the rent or profits accruing on the property, or to seize
the property and detain until the judgment debtor clears himself of
contempt or until the court makes a contrary order, which could be
that the debt be settled out of the funds obtained. This is on the
authority of Order 11 Rule 9 of the
Judgment Enforcement Rules.
B). Judgment for Possession
This is where the judgment creditor has obtained judgment for
the possession of the property which was in dispute.
Modes of enforcement:
Writ of Possession:
This applies to cases of recovery of premises other than between
landlords and tenants. It cannot be issued until the expiration of
the day on which the judgment debtor is ordered to give possession
of the land or, where no such day was given, until the expiration
of 14 days from the day judgment was given, according to
Order IV Rule 1(1) of the
Warrant of Possession:
This applies to recovery of premises between landlords and
On the authority of Section 72 of the
SCPA, the judgment debtor may be committed to
prison until he obeys the judgment and delivers possession of the
C). Judgment for The Delivery of Goods.
This is for cases where the judgment was for the delivery of
goods from the judgment creditor to the judgment debtor.
Modes of Enforcement:
COMMITTAL ORDER: (explained
WRIT OF SEQUESTRATION: (explained
WRIT OF SPECIFIC DELIVERY:
Based on the principle of specific performance, an order of
specific delivery may be issued by the court.
Enforcement of Judgment Outside Jurisdiction
Enforcement of Judgment Interstate
Generally, the judgment of any superior court of record is
enforceable in any part of the Federation as this is guaranteed by
the Constitution in Section 287.
The Procedure: Sections 104-110 of the SCPA
The judgment creditor applies for and obtains a Certificate of
Judgment from the Registrar of the High Court that gave the
judgment. The Certificate must be duly signed and sealed by the
The judgment creditor takes the Certificate to the State in
which he intends to execute it and registers it with the Registrar
of a Court of similar jurisdiction with the one that gave the
The Registrar of the enforcing court shall enter the
particulars of the judgment in the “Nigerian
Register of Judgments”.
After registration, the judgment will become a record of the
court and have the same effect as judgment of that court. That is,
from the moment of registration, the enforcing court can deal with
the judgment as if it was given by that court and can, therefore,
By virtue of Section 107 of
theSCPA however, before the judgment can
be enforced on registration, the judgment creditor must depose to
an affidavit stating either of the following:
a) That the amount in the process has become due but unpaid;
b) That an act ordered to be done remains undone; or
c) That the person ordered to forebear from doing an act has
disobeyed the order.
After execution, the Registrar of the enforcing court shall file
a report, under the seal of the court, of the outcome of the
execution notifying the registrar of the court where the judgment
was given, that the judgment has been satisfied either wholly or in
part, as the case may be.
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
With common law jurisdictions, the judgment creditor institutes
an action in the foreign country, with the judgment sought to be
enforced as the subject matter of the suit.
Under Part 1 of the Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal
Enforcement) Act, countries are to be listed by an order
of the Minister of Justice to enjoy ease of enforcement of
judgment; however, no such order has been made yet.
Registration of the judgment in Nigeria may be done within 6
years of delivery by way of a motion. The judgment must however, be
capable of enforcement at the date of delivery in the foreign
The enforcement of a judgment is just as important as obtaining
the judgment itself ad it would just be a waste of time to go to
Court, get a judgment and be unable to reap the benefits of the
judgment. This is the importance of the mechanisms of enforcement
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.