Nolle Prosequi or nolle pros. as it is typically said is notice that a prosecution is abandoned. This is accomplished by an announcement from the prosecutor that the state no longer intends to move forward. The decision not to prosecute can extend to some or all counts of an indictment or charge. This is different from a dismissal in that the case can be brought forward at a later date—although that is rarely done.
In a 1914 case the Tennessee Supreme Court said “a nolle prosequi is a discharge without acquittal, and can be awarded only by the Attorney General and the court. It being a discharge, it is necessarily a termination of the particular prosecution, although it is not a bar to a subsequent prosecution, unless it shall be entered after the defendant has been put to his trial upon a valid indictment before a jury duly sworn and impaneled.” Scheibler v. Steinburg, 167 S.W. 866, 866 (Tenn. 1914).
Nolle Prosequi is pronounced (nahl-ee prahs-e-kwI).
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