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What does nolle prossed mean?

A:

Quick Answer

"Nolle prossed," also known as "nolle prosequi," is Latin for "we shall no longer prosecute." Courts use it in both civil and criminal cases, but with different motivations.

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Full Answer

In a civil case, nolle prosequi becomes an entry on the record when the plaintiff states that he or she no longer wants to pursue the matter. It is more common for prosecutors to use it during criminal cases.

When it comes to criminal cases, the prosecutor may use this term to admit that he or she cannot prove the charges, or when there is sufficient evidence to counter the accuser's claim. It is possible to declare nolle prossed at any time between the charges being brought to the point that the jury returns a verdict or the defendant makes a plea. Some judges may make the declaration if they are convinced that the defendant is innocent, or if the defendant dies. One notable case where this measure was used was Osama Bin Laden, who no longer faced charges for his involvement in 9/11 after his death in 2011.

It is important to note that nolle prosequi is not the equivalent of an acquittal. Therefore, if further evidence comes to light, the accused does not fall under double jeopardy laws.

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