Latin Legal Terms: Writs of "fieri facias" and "venditioni exponas"
Assume someone owed you money in the early 1800s but would not pay. You sued the debtor and won a judgment in court. But, even faced with the judgment the debtor still would not pay. Now what?
You would have the court issue a writ of fieri facias by which the county sheriff was instructed to seize property of the judgment debtor and sell it. You would receive the proceeds up to the amount the debtor owed (plus your court costs).
But, what if the sheriff did not offer the seized property for sale or was just unable to sell the property because there were no purchasers willing to pay the asking price? You would go back to the court for a writ of venditioni exponas. This would direct the sheriff to sell the debtor's property "for the best price obtainable." And, this often resulted in some very low prices.