true bill

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True Bill

A term endorsed on an indictment to indicate that a majority of Grand Jury members found that the evidence presented to them was adequate to justify a prosecution.

true bill

n. the written decision of a grand jury (signed by the grand jury foreperson) that it has heard sufficient evidence from the prosecution to believe that an accused person probably committed a crime and should be indicted. Thus, the indictment is sent to the court. (See: indictment)

See: accusation

true bill

(US) the endorsement made on a bill of indictment by a grand jury certifying it to be supported by sufficient evidence to warrant committing the accused to trial.

TRUE BILL, practice. These words are endorsed on a bill of indictment, when a grand jury, after having heard the witnesses for the government, are of opinion that there is sufficient cause to put the defendant on his trial. Formerly, the endorsement was Billa vera, when legal proceedings were in Latin; it is still the practice to write on the back of the bill Ignoramus, when the jury do not find it to be a true bill. Vide Grand Jury.

References in periodicals archive ?
When the grand jury has heard all necessary or available witnesses and is prepared to deliberate on the issue whether to indict or return a no true bill, the foreperson must compel all persons to leave the grand jury room except the members of the grand jury themselves.
When the question of whether to indict or return a no true bill is presented, all grand jurors have the right to comment on the evidence and to express their views of the matter.
If the evidence is sufficient to constitute "probable cause," then it is your duty to find what is known as a "true bill." If the grand jury does find a "true bill" and it is properly returned in open court, it then becomes the "indictment" on which the accused will be put to trial.
2.6 You should vote to return a "true bill" if you find "probable cause" that a crime has been committed and that the accused probably did commit that crime There may be instances when it seems probable that a crime has been committed and yet you feel that the accused is not guilty or you have a strong doubt in your mind as to guilt.
2.7 When so justified it is your solemn duty to cause the accused person to be indicted; likewise, when an indictment is not justified, it is equally your solemn duty to clear the accused person by returning a "no true bill."
1882)) ("We are satisfied that no paper can be regarded as an indictment without the signature of the prosecuting attorney, and the certificate of the foreman of the grand jury that it is a true bill. Both are required, and neither is a mere formality that may be dispensed with.").
(40.) Of course, if McCulloch really was resolved not to prosecute Officer Wilson, return of a true bill would tmly have put him in a cleft stick, forcing him to decide whether to take responsibility for overruling the grand jury's opinion or to take what he presumably thought an unwinnable case to trial.
The standard of proof for a true bill is mere probable cause.
If I were more clever, I would have asked him to read my prior Article somewhat earlier in the publication process, and I then could have incorporated greater detail about just how a true bill becomes an indictment, eliminating one of his avenues of attack in exchange for a "thank you" buried in some unread footnote.