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Pleas in confession and avoidance are those which admit the averments in the plaintiff's declaration to be true, and allege new facts which obviate and repel their legal effects.
These pleas are to be considered first with respect to their division. Of pleas in confession and avoidance, some are distinguished (in reference to their subject matter) as pleas in justification or excuse, others as pleas in discharge. The pleas of the former class, show some justification or excuse of the matter charged in the declaration; of the latter, some discharge or release of that matter. Therefore, the effect of the former is to show that the plaintiff never had any right of action, because the act charged was lawful; the effect of the latter is to show that though he had once a right of action, it is discharged or released by some matter subsequent. Of those in justification or excuse, the plea of son assault demesne is an example of those in discharge, a release. This division applies to pleas only; replications and other subsequent pleadings in confession and avoidance are not subject to such Classification.
Secondly, they are to be considered in respect to their form. In common with all pleadings which do not tender issue, they always conclude with a verification and prayer of judgment.
Thirdly, with respect to the quality of these pleadings, it is a rule that every pleading by way of confession and avoidance must give color.