A judgment is the determination of the rights of parties through an action at law. All judgments are not money judgments, and only those which give a money award are here considered. Judgments for the payment of money, when docketed, become a general lien on all property of the debtor. The judgment docket is the book or register kept by the county clerk in which is entered a record of all judgments of which the clerk has been furnished a transcript. The docket is arranged alphabetically according to debtors. When a search is made for liens against a piece of property it is important to examine the judgment docket to see if there are any judgments against those who now own, or have for a certain time prior owned, the property.
A judgment is enforced by execution and by the sale of any property of the debtor that may be found. Execution is a writ directed to the sheriff, the executive officer of the court. This writ authorizes him to seize the debtor's property and to sell so much of it as may be required to pay the judgment plus incidental expenses. The property may be real or personal. If there is real property apparently owned by the debtor, the sheriff, after legal advertising, offers to the highest bidder all of the debtor's right, title and interest of, in and to the property. This interest may be substantial or it may be nominal or even nothing at all. The buyer at such a sale ascertains this at his own risk before making a bid. What is of interest to us in this discussion is the fact that the judgment is a lien on the debtor's real property and such property may be sold against this will by an officer of the court.