Nolle Prosequi

What is nolle prosequi?
Nolle prosequi, or nolle pros'd, means that a senior prosecutor, such as the Solicitor General of the US, Attorney General of a state, a State Attorney, or a District Attorney enters a request order of reasoning to the court, which states an 'unwillingness to pursue' a charge, indictment, or 'true bill' from a grand jury, against a defendant prior to trial, or verdict.

This determination of entry protects the civil liberties of the defendant, yet leaves the same indictment open at a future date, for the prosecution to pursue the same charges against the defendant, should the instant facts alter.

When might a prosecutor decide to take this action?
A prosecutor enters the request for determination to the court, when witnesses refuse to testify, faint evidence, charges cannot be proved, fatal flaws in the case, accused has died, conflict of interest, or the evidence proves the innocence of the defendant. Senior prosecutors enter this declaration, in some arenas, to protect statute of limitations, and prevent other junior prosecutors or police charges from moving forward against a defendant, with a weak case.

Is this terminology used in every state in the US?
Some states use the terminology, 'Confessions of Judgment.' Other states apply, 'Satisfied Damages by Defendant.'

What is the literal translation?
The prosecution, in finding that a defendant, is not, or can not be proven to be guilty of an indictment, or a 'true bill' from a grand jury, protects its position by declaring to the court that the case has been brought prematurely, or that overall the innocence of the defendant weighs heavier than his guilt.

A host of other reasoning for this entry signed by the court, can be sought in this order. A larger scope of the setting shows that the prosecution pursued a faint approach to charge the defendant. These prosecution papers are submitted prior to a trial and verdict. An underlying reason can be stated for the nolle prosequi that the prosecution moves to keep the case for another time.

The prosecution, in nolle prosequi, maintains a proper legal standing, and avoids violating the defendants rights should the order not be entered. In some states, by requesting the court to determine the facts of entry, the prosecution confesses and admits that its judgment to pursue the accused (with a weak case) can waste the courts time.

Sometimes with agreement of defendant
This order, in some cases, is with the agreement of the defendant. In nolle prosequi, the prosecution prevents any liberties from being destroyed towards the accused. The prosecution does not dismiss or acquit for the defendant in this entry, nor is the record erased.

The prosecution engages in this pursuit as a roadblock or sorts, for a chance to try to defendant at a later date should the facts of the case change.

See also: