Audita Querela Law and Legal Definition

Audita querela is a latin term meaning “the complaint having been heard.” A defendant can seek a rehearing of a decided matter due to the newly discovered evidence or newly existing legal defenses, through a writ of audita querela. A writ of audita querela attacks a judgment that becomes incorrect later because of circumstances that arose after the judgment was issued.

A writ of audita querela enables a defendant to re-open a judgment in certain circumstances. Audita querela does not attack the judgment, but is directed against the enforcement of a judgment which when rendered or delivered was just. The writ of audita querela affords relief in criminal cases, but only in very limited circumstances.

"At common law, the writ of audita querela permitted a judgment debtor to obtain equitable relief from a legal judgment because of some defense or discharge arising after the entry of judgment." United States v. Hairston, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26141 (N.D. W. Va. Mar. 30, 2009)

Writ of audita querela is probably available where there is a legal, as contrasted with an equitable, objection to a conviction that has arisen subsequent to the conviction and that is not redressable pursuant to another post-conviction remedy. United States v. Hicks, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1662 (E.D. Ky. Jan. 4, 2008)