is a writ ordering the sheriff to take the body of the defendant; a distringas
orders the sheriff to take goods of the defendant to compel his appearance. Black, Law Dictionary.
“[I]f a process issuing out of a court of record to a sergeant at mace, sheriff,
or other minister, be erroneous, as if a Capias
issue, when a Distringas
should issue, yet the killing of such a minister in the execution of that process
is murder.” 1 Hale, Pleas of the Crown