nolle prosequi

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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."

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

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.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
prosecutors may also have used the nolle prosequi as an early form of
(37) The nolle prosequi in Agee was based upon the fact that the witness was in a coma and the apparent absence of eyewitnesses to the crime.
EVERY so often a newspaper or a politician makes public a case in which the Attorney-general issued a nolle prosequi. These revelations invariably give rise to allegations that the Attorney-general was exercising the constitutional right to suspend a prosecution procedure as a political favour to someone influential.
But Miss Broadhurst was spared from appearing in the dock when the Attorney-General took the rare step of issuing an ancient nolle prosequi order because she was said she was close to death after suffering from cancer
MacArthur received a life sentence for the murder of nurse Bridie Gargan with a lump hammer in the Summer of 1982, but the State entered a plea of nolle prosequi in the case of his second victim.
Mrs Broadhurst was granted a nolle prosequi order which are issued only in cases where the defendant is suffering from a "mental or physical incapacity that is expected to be permanent".
The Old Bailey was told that Attorney General John Morris had taken the extremely rare step of intervening with a Nolle Prosequi ruling.
*The court granted nolle prosequi for Abigail Merker, 42, of rural Assumption, who was ticketed for being unlicensed Apr.
class="MsoNormalHe pointed out that three of the suspects had been out on bail before the DPP entered a nolle prosequi and they have been showing up in court without fail.
The president has powers to order a nolle prosequi. He should do so by Monday," he said.
Prosecutors on Wednesday, 15 August nolle prosequi (abandoned trial against) defendants Bill Caesar Kennedy, Massa Kenedy and Juana Bracewell to have them testify for government against defendant Williams in return.
'Political interference is also a factor such as instances where Attorneys-General file Nolle Prosequi for such cases, rendering the Commission powerless.