nolle prosequi


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Nolle Prosequi

[Latin, Will not prosecute.]

The term nolle prosequi is used in reference to a formal entry upon the record made by a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit or a prosecutor in a criminal action in which that individual declares that he or she wishes to discontinue the action as to certain defendants, certain issues, or altogether. A nolle prosequi is commonly known as nol pros.

nolle prosequi

(no-lay pro-say-kwee) n. Latin for "we shall no longer prosecute," which is a declaration made to the judge by a prosecutor in a criminal case (or by a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit) either before or during trial, meaning the case against the defendant is being dropped. The statement is an admission that the charges cannot be proved, that evidence has demonstrated either innocence or a fatal flaw in the prosecution's claim, or the district attorney has become convinced the accused is innocent. Understandably, usage of the phrase it is rare. In the 1947 courtroom movie, "Boomerang!" the climactic moment arrived when the District Attorney himself proved the accused person innocent and declared "nolle prosequi."

nolle prosequi (no pro)

an entry made on the court record when the plaintiff in a civil suit or prosecutor in a criminal prosecution undertakes not to continue the action or prosecution.

NOLLE PROSEQUI, practice. An entry made on the record, by which the prosecutor or plaintiff declares that he will proceed no further.
     2. A nolle prosequi may be entered either in a criminal or a civil case. In criminal cases, a nolle prosequi may be entered at any time before the finding of the grand jury, by the attorney general, and generally after a true bill has been found; in Pennsylvania, in consequence of a statutory provision, no nolle prosequi can be entered after a bill has been found, without leave of the court, except in cases of assault and battery, fornication and bastardy, on agreement between the parties, or in prosecutions for keeping tippling houses. Act of April 29, 1819, s. 4, 7 Smith's Laws, 227.
     3. A nolle prosequi may be entered as to one ot several defendants. 11 East, R. 307.
     4. The effect of a nolle prosequi, when obtained, is to put the defendant without day, but it does not operate as an acquittal; for he may be afterwards reindicted, and even upon the same indictment, fresh process may be awarded. 6 Mod. 261; 1 Salk. 59; Com. Dig. Indictment. K; 2 Mass. R. 172.
     5. In civil cases, a nolle prosequi is considered, not to be of the nature of a retraxit or release, as was formerly supposed, but an agreement only, not to proceed either against some of the defendants, or as to part of the suit. Vide 1 Saund. 207, note 2, and the authorities there cited. 1 Chit. PI. 546. A nolle prosequi is now held to be no bar to a future action for the same cause, except in those cases where, from the nature of the action, judgment and execution against one, is a satisfaction of all the damages sustained by the plaintiff. 3 T. R. 511; 1 Wils. 98.
     6. In civil cases, a nolle prosequi may be entered as to one of several counts; 7 Wend. 301; or to one of several defendants; 1 Pet. R. 80; as in the case of a joint contract, where one of two defendants pleads infancy, the plaintiff may enter a nolle prosequi, as to him, and proceed against the other. 1 Pick. 500. See, generally, 1 Pet. R. 74; see 2 Rawle, 334; 1 Bibb, 337; 4 Bibb, 887, 454; 3 Cowen, 374; 5 Gill & John. 489; 5 Wend. 224; 20 John. 126; 3 Cowen, 335; 12 Wend. 110; 3 Watts, 460.

References in periodicals archive ?
A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: 'A Nolle Prosequi is a procedure by which the Attorney General may terminate criminal proceedings.
The deputy Attorney-general tried to justify his decision to issue a nolle prosequi, but he was unable to provide a single convincing argument for his decision.
There was uproar last year when Richard Gee, a crown court judge accused of being part of a pounds 1 million mortgage fraud, avoided trial with a nolle prosequi order.
And Mr Archer, aged 45, who runs a wholesale fruit and veg business in Pershore Street, central Birmingham, refused to be drawn on the nolle prosequi order.
Though court cases are often adjourned because of illness, nolle prosequi - a Latin phrase meaning unwilling to prosecute - is only used when the defendant is expected to die before coming to trial, or shortly afterwards.
In April of last year a nolle prosequi - no prosecution - was entered by the state in Laide's case because of "ongoing evidential difficulties".
The case collapsed last April when the DPP issued a nolle prosequi.
Defence lawyer Marie Torrens asked Mr Des Zaidan, prosecuting in the "C case", to point out "the place in law" which gave the court jurisdiction to allow a nolle prosequi [drop case] to be entered.
Martin McDonagh, 33, was handed a Nolle Prosequi at the Central Criminal Court after the state decided not to proceed with the case.
A nolle prosequi - discontinuance of the prosecution - would then be entered by the state and the criminal would have to go free.
Keane, who denied murdering Eric Leamy in the Lee Estate walked free after the DPP ordered that a nolle prosequi be entered with his presumption of innocence still intact.
Liam Keane, 19, smiled and hugged relatives after the DPP directed that a nolle prosequi, no prosecution, be entered.