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Nolle Prosequi

practice and criminal

NOL'LE PROS'EQUI (Lat., will not prose cute). An entry on the records of a court by the public prosecutor in a criminal ease, or the plaintiff in a civil action. to the effect that the proceedings against the defendant shall be dis eontinued. This method of terminating legal proceedings originated in England (luring the reign of Charles 11., and seems to have been devised as a convenient means of nullifying cer tain ohnesun(s statutes, by thus ending any prosecution under them. The practice was sub sequently adopted into the civil procedure in England to enable a plaintiff to discontinue his action, but it was later superseded by the man mon-law nonsuit.

In the United States to-day the practice of entering a molls prosrqui. or not. pros., as it is usually called. is confined almost exclusively to criminal proceedings. The right to thus discon tinue a criminal prQseeHIion is a prerogative of the State. and it generally rests in the discretion

of the proseenting facer whether to exercise it or not ; but where the ease has rrneerded to trial. by the general rule he shroud() make a motion to the court for leave to do so. A no/. pros. entered after the jury has been sworn and trial com menced will operate as an acquittal and a bar to any future prosecution for the same offense. (See JEOPARDY. ) Under modern codes of civil procedure. the method of abandoning legal pro ceedings is by discontinuance, or by allowing a nonsuit ; but in a few jurisdictions, where com mon-law pleading and practice still obtains, a none proscqiii seems to be a permissible way of ending an action on the part of the plaintiff. See NoNsurr; I 'LEADING ; PRACTICE.