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Thread: "Nolle Prosequi" and "Good Cause Shown" - Why it's important to us

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    "Nolle Prosequi" and "Good Cause Shown" - Why it's important to us

    Below my own comments, there's a little commentary I got from a friend of mine who's representing a guy who's been attacked by his ex-wife's relatives; they initially got a warrant against him, fraudulently, and he was acquitted. He sued for malicious prosecution and won a judgment against them. Then he went to the magistrate and got a warrant against one of them for having bitten him - could have been charged as a felony, "malicious wounding", but the warrant was issued for a misdemeanor. The woman who was assistant Commonwealth's Attorney in the first case had already said she wouldn't prosecute the case against him; it appears to me as though she's treating this personally, and taking it as a "poor persecuted woman" against the "evil abusive man". In fact, the ex-wife's entire family appears to be in what I call "victim mode", and I think that they're hyper-defensive, lying, manipulative, deceptive, evil people. So when the case came up, the prosecutor "nolle pros'ed" the case - dismissed just because the prosecutor doesn't want to prosecute.

    The thing is that the statute allowing the prosecutor not to do his duty to the public by prosecuting cases requires "good cause shown" - i.e., an evidentiary basis why the Commonwealth should not go forward with the prosecution. And none was offered in this (or most) cases - I've had judges tell me that the convenience of the prosecutor is good cause enough - the mere fact that they don't feel like it is good enough. Sometimes, as in my friend's case, the real cause is that the prosecutor has a cozy or sympathetic relationship with the perpetrator, and is treating the office like a personal fiefdom rather than an impersonal administrator of justice.

    The problem for us is that I often, in fact usually, don't go to trial on the cases in which I represent people charged with crimes. They're almost always nolle pros'ed. I object because I think my client is entitled to absolute dismissal, and failing the Commonwealth's agreement or a judge's order as to that, I want to go to trial and show that my client is not guilty. I think he's entitled to an acquittal, absolutely and forever.

    The problem with a nolle pros. is that it's a dismissal without prejudice to the Commonwealth's right to charge and prosecute for the same offense again at any time within the original statute of limitations. There's no "double jeopardy" issue with a nolle pros. So my client has this potential charge hanging over his head, for a year from the original incident for misdemeanors, and indefinitely for felonies. His alternative is an expensive action for declaratory judgment to the effect that he is not guilty of the crime, and no one ever does that. I object when the Commonwealth takes a nolle pros. like that, and the court notes the objection, but that and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee at gun-friendly Starbucks.

    So let's say my client is charged with carrying a concealed weapon because he had the gun secured in a closed container within his vehicle. He has to hire me and pay my fee and waste a day going to court only to have the prosecutor decline to prosecute. The judge rubber-stamps the prosecutor's decision by failing to require "good cause shown". The client can't then go and sue for malicious prosecution, at least not right away, because they could retaliate by charging him again for the same offense, and at that point, one has to assume that they will bend the truth in order to get a conviction.

    The answer is political, in my view. We need to exert pressure on the courts, via the legislature, and possibly the executive secretary of the Va. Sup. Ct., to require judges to make sure the prosecutors do the job they were elected to do. And Commonwealth's Attorneys who allow their assistants to work this way need to be un-elected.

    This case is pending in the General District Court for the County of Fauquier in Warrenton.

    Dan,

    Below is a link to an online petition a crime victim has posted. The young man was attacked viciously by two women who were trying to keep his vehicle from him. The petition page has two photographs of some of the damage the attackers did to the young man.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/380/7...uquier-crimes/

    The Commonwealth first charged the young man (the victim) with assault, because the women made it to the magistrate before he did and convinced the magistrate to issue a warrant. The charges against the young man were dismissed at trial on a motion to strike, which means there was not even enough evidence to make out a prima facie case. The Commonwealth really had no case at all against this young man.

    The young man then went to the magistrate, who issued warrants for the arrest of the two women for assault and battery. The Commonwealth approached me privately and said that they would not prosecute, because they believed the young man was guilty. I reminded the prosecutor that the judge had already found that the young man was not guilty, and that there was not even enough evidence to make out a prima facie case against him. The prosecutor said that she disagreed with the judge, and would not prosecute the women, because she disagreed with the judge.

    On the day scheduled for trial in the Fauquier General District Court, the Commonwealth made a motion to nolle prosequi the case. As you know, this means that the Commonwealth wanted to dismiss the case. I stood up and objected to this, and moved the court to allow me to intervene in the case on behalf of the victim in order to argue to the court that the case should not be dismissed. Under Virginia law, the Commonwealth has to show “good cause” to dismiss the case this way, but most judges consider the agreement of the defendant to be good enough. The judge denied my motion to intervene, and dismissed the case against the two women.

    I then filed a written motion to intervene and an objection to the dismissal of the charges against the attackers. My motion is being heard on Thursday, May 23 at 8:30 a.m. in the General District Court of Fauquier County.

    The problem we’re presented with is that the Commonwealth does not want to prosecute these two attackers, solely because the Commonwealth does not like the victim of the assault. They tried to convict him and couldn’t, so they are refusing to prosecute the actual criminals. The victim was even awarded damages from these two women in a civil trial, but the Commonwealth is willing to ignore that fact. The Commonwealth’s conduct is an abuse of its duty to protect the public and to prosecute criminals for the crimes they commit.

    It would help if we could get some public support in this case. The goal is straightforward – persuade the Commonwealth to prosecute these two criminals, and persuade the judge that it would be manifestly against the public interest to allow the Commonwealth to dismiss this case. We welcome as many signatures on the petition as possible. We also invite anyone who can be in court on May 23 to attend the hearing.

    Thanks.

    August McCarthy
    Last edited by user; 05-22-2013 at 08:21 AM.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Being iggerant, how would one go about doing this?

    I know I can contact my senator and delegate, asking them to refer the issue to JLARC for a report to the GA. Fat lot of good it will do, considering who they are. I could present them with a draft of a bill they could introduce relating to this problem. Fat lot of good it would do, considering who they are. But that's just me with the senator and delegate I'm stuck with.

    How can I complain to the executive secretary of the VaSC when 1) I am not a party involved in either the case at hand or a similar case, and 2) I do not have any information to suggest what the magnitude of the problem might be.

    I know you and August are not the only attorneys in the Commonwealth who feel as you do about the over use and misuse of nolle prosequi, but do you have an idea of how many other attorneys at the bar are in agreement with you, as opposed to those that see anything less than "guilty" as a win, and are willing to settle for a nolle prosequi, collect their fee, and go home early?

    I'm pretty sure you have an army here (small, perhaps, but still an army) but it needs to be told how to carry out this mission. Show us where to shove the ball and we'll get it rolling. BTW - if when you mobilize this army I want to be appointed to the rank of lieutenant lance corporal just so I can wear an augulet.

    stay safe.


    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Being iggerant, how would one go about doing this?

    I'm pretty sure you have an army here (small, perhaps, but still an army) but it needs to be told how to carry out this mission. Show us where to shove the ball and we'll get it rolling. BTW - if when you mobilize this army I want to be appointed to the rank of lieutenant lance corporal just so I can wear an augulet.

    stay safe.


    stay safe.
    +1

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    You make it appear that you are a lawyer ....

    What do you think you can do about the ability of the DA/SA to nolle a case? You can try to get a prosecutor changed.

    You want your clients to spend more $$$ defending a case just so they have a "hope" of filing a civil case?
    Can't they already file one against the police? Many 42 USC 1983 claims involve no trial or nolle.

    A nolle is filed at the outset of a case .. the beginning .... minimal cost to your client(s).

    Instead you want your client to spend 40K?

    Your client is not entitled to a complete absolution - a nolle stays the case from trial - they can refile anytime they wish, but it does not happen very often. That's the system.

    Call your legislators if you want a nolle option to be removed ~ you would have a lot of angry people at your door.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    You make it appear that you are a lawyer ....

    What do you think you can do about the ability of the DA/SA to nolle a case? You can try to get a prosecutor changed.

    You want your clients to spend more $$$ defending a case just so they have a "hope" of filing a civil case?
    Can't they already file one against the police? Many 42 USC 1983 claims involve no trial or nolle.

    A nolle is filed at the outset of a case .. the beginning .... minimal cost to your client(s).

    Instead you want your client to spend 40K?

    Your client is not entitled to a complete absolution - a nolle stays the case from trial - they can refile anytime they wish, but it does not happen very often. That's the system.

    Call your legislators if you want a nolle option to be removed ~ you would have a lot of angry people at your door.
    David....out of the wealth of stupid things you've said here, that is at the top of the list!


    Last edited by peter nap; 05-22-2013 at 09:42 AM.

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    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    You make it appear that you are a lawyer ....
    D'jever wonder why it appears that way?

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    Regular Member Esanders2008's Avatar
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    "Nolle Prosequi" and "Good Cause Shown" - Why it's important to us

    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    David....out of the wealth of stupid things you've said here, that is at the top of the list!


    Haha +1
    ...To make my bullets go faster!

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    Watch out!

    I went to the petition site and during the sign up process, on page 2, there is an automatic sign up for the Mayors Against Illegal Guns group. You have to un-select that box to not be added to their mailing list.

    Don't see that going over well with our beliefs on this site.

    ETA: just went through the rest of the petitions on that site: holy cow! A hodge podge of liberal agenda BS. Perhaps your friend could find a different process to use for the petition?
    Last edited by TraumaRN; 05-22-2013 at 12:59 PM.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    You make it appear that you are a lawyer ....
    Well done, Capt. Obvious.

    What do you think you can do about the ability of the DA/SA to nolle a case? You can try to get a prosecutor changed.
    Not if he's in a county with just the Commonwealth Attorney. And in counties where there are Assistant CAs - do you think the decision to nolle pros is made without consulting with the boss?

    You want your clients to spend more $$$ defending a case just so they have a "hope" of filing a civil case?
    Can't they already file one against the police? Many 42 USC 1983 claims involve no trial or nolle.
    Apparently you missed the whole point - to remove the ability of the prosecution to hold the charge over the defendant's head. One year (365 days) for misdemeanor charges, and forever for felony charges. user clearly states that he prefers to wait out the statute of limitation on misdemeanor charges in order to protect his client from possible retribution. He would prefer that a client with felony charges not have those hanging over his head as an unfair influence over a decision to seek damages.

    You also missed the philosophical reasoning, which is shared with the client (who has the ultimate say-so on whether to take it or not). user may not have communicated his overall philosphy clearly enough - clients that are not guilty of the crime they have been charged with deserve a definate resolution in their favor.

    A nolle is filed at the outset of a case .. the beginning .... minimal cost to your client(s).

    Instead you want your client to spend 40K?
    So you prefer a system where the prosecution can punish a defendant even though there may not be sufficient evidence to get a conviction? This also gives the cops incentive to place "contempt of cop" charges.

    Your client is not entitled to a complete absolution - a nolle stays the case from trial - they can refile anytime they wish, but it does not happen very often. That's the system.
    Just how did you arrive at the conclusion that the client is not entitled to complete absolution (a not guilty verdict) if they in fact did not commit the crime alleged?

    You are correct that the majority of times a nolle prosequi'd charge is not brought back up. But let's look at who have been the folks who have had their charges reinstated. Mostly gadflies and other thorns in the side of the system. It's a really good way to chill, if not outright stifle, their behavior.

    Call your legislators if you want a nolle option to be removed ~ you would have a lot of angry people at your door.
    Actually, no. Without the option (except as for good cause shown that is not mere convenience for the prosecutor but truely for rendering justice) the prosecution would have to be sure of its case before proceeding to trial. No more jerking the defendant around and then letting them go, with the possibility that they could be brought back to trail later.

    There is a real connection between this issue and the fact that the majority of cases are settled by plea agreement rather than by trial. If the prosecution has an iffy case they can offer a plea deal backed with the threat of seeking the maximum penalty if the trial results in a guilty decision. Lots of folks come into trial on shakey ground - maybe not on this charge but on stuff they have not been caught for yet. They see a plea agreement as the easy way out, even if it means doing some time for something they did not do.

    Personally, I preferred to have an attorney who was willing to challenge the prosecution to prove two "contempt of cop" charges. While it probably will never effect the Commonwealth Attorney I faced, it has let other people see the sort of justice system we have and given them courage to stand up against it - either as the defendant or as a supporter of true justice.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    David....out of the wealth of stupid things you've said here, that is at the top of the list!


    David,

    Advice: Don't respond to the ribbing you are going to get other than to say something like the laugh is on me or I should never type before my 2 morning cups of coffee.

    How to avoid getting Peter awards in the future: Read carefully and think before typing so that you minimize the episodes of ready fire aim
    Last edited by Thundar; 05-22-2013 at 06:26 PM.
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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Refiling elsewhere

    Dan,

    There is another problem that you did not mention.

    There are times when a C.A. will nolle pros a case before a District Court ... in order to re-file in Circuit Court. It may be 'forum-shopping' or it may be the C.A. wants a jury. Whatever the reason, no doubt it is without any good cause shown.

    And that's terrible for justice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    Dan,

    There is another problem that you did not mention.

    There are times when a C.A. will nolle pros a case before a District Court ... in order to re-file in Circuit Court. It may be 'forum-shopping' or it may be the C.A. wants a jury. Whatever the reason, no doubt it is without any good cause shown.

    And that's terrible for justice.
    Absolutely right! I've seen that done just recently where the assistant was quite clear that she was doing just that in order to up the ante because the defendant wanted to go to trial and to win at trial instead of pleading guilty to the misdemeanor.

    Here's one thing we can do, although this is really lousy notice - anyone who's in the area can show up and pack the courtroom in the Fauquier GDC tomorrow morning.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    I have looked into the nolle of charges in the past and there are pros and cons to this but overall I think its a good resolution to a case.

    Minimal cost to a defendant; minimal ... I have had a case nolled so I have some personal experience with it ...

    One can still file a 42 USC 1983 claim against the cop and/or state (with many states you can ask for permission to sue the state ~ the state will waive their immunity), right?

    You do not need a not guilty verdict to support a 42 USC 1983 claim ; the fact that a guilty verdict was not even attempted to be obtained is likely just as strong or stronger (now you have a case that a DA/SA would not even bring to trial--a jury would likely see that the state had no case at all) IMO ....

    Anytime you go to trial, you risk a guilty verdict ... I would think that some folks in prison are in fact not guilty.

    I would imagine that even between lawyers that there would be some disagreement as to the nolle being a good outcome.

    I just happen to think it is.

    When you are looking at 1 yr - 5 yr in prison and a nolle is made believe me, you likely won't be clamoring to "go to trial to be vindicated" because you need no vindication....you are a free man. And the passage of time usually is in favor of the defendant.

    If they are filing a nolle to re-file in another venue then I would think that this is improper ~ a legislative remedy is likely the only relief from that which will offer long term relief.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    I have looked into the nolle of charges in the past and there are pros and cons to this but overall I think its a good resolution to a case.
    ....
    Differing opinions arrived at from differing philosophies.

    I am curious - since you seem to be in the habit of putting yourself on the radar of The Establishment, why are you so willing to take the gamble that they will not come back at you just to retaliate for something else you have done?

    stay safe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Differing opinions arrived at from differing philosophies.

    I am curious - since you seem to be in the habit of putting yourself on the radar of The Establishment, why are you so willing to take the gamble that they will not come back at you just to retaliate for something else you have done?

    stay safe.
    This is the reason why people do not get involved: they are afraid of retaliation. But in respect to this tread, what can they do? Refile the case and you are back to square one except now the case is older, prosecution witnesses are older with older memories (or lost memories) or have died over time. Aside from the concern and stress of knowing that they may be able to re-file the case there is little downside to a nolle. I agree, one has the desire to be cleared of the charges, and I understand the OP's initial posting and the reasons behind it.

    And I don't mind butting heads with "the establishment" .... but I accepted my nolle w/o objection [and I did consider doing exactly what the OP's first post stated (objecting to the nolle)] ... 'cause it kept cash in my pocket and I remained a free man w/o any further action...I'm not crazy, like the song says "take the money and run" lol.

    Keep the faith!

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    This is the reason why people do not get involved: they are afraid of retaliation. But in respect to this tread, what can they do? Refile the case and you are back to square one except now the case is older, prosecution witnesses are older with older memories (or lost memories) or have died over time. Aside from the concern and stress of knowing that they may be able to re-file the case there is little downside to a nolle. I agree, one has the desire to be cleared of the charges, and I understand the OP's initial posting and the reasons behind it.

    And I don't mind butting heads with "the establishment" .... but I accepted my nolle w/o objection [and I did consider doing exactly what the OP's first post stated (objecting to the nolle)] ... 'cause it kept cash in my pocket and I remained a free man w/o any further action...I'm not crazy, like the song says "take the money and run" lol.

    Keep the faith!
    The problem here is that this is somewhat like the Prisoner's Dilemma.

    Sure, it seemed like the better course in your case, but that only entices prosecutors to abuse it more in the future. The goal should be to end the abuse of it, so that it's only used when there is actual "good cause".

    You might not have been in a position to fight it in your case, but that doesn't mean that someone else is wrong to try and fight it if they are in a position to do so.
    Alma 43:47 - "And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed...."
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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    If the criminal justice system were to refocus on JUSTICE instead of individual "Brownie points" then a lot of these issues would resolve themsleves.

    User or Skidmark, what else can a Prosecutor or Judge do in lieu of the nolle pros that would prevent a refiling of charges? Why does the Commonwealth reserve the right to retry in many cases?
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark
    when you mobilize this army I want to be appointed to the rank of lieutenant lance corporal just so I can wear an augulet.
    No, you can't be an officer! You actually do stuff.
    You could be a special Sgt. & still get to wear shoulder rope.

    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002
    what else can a Prosecutor or Judge do in lieu of the nolle pros that would prevent a refiling of charges?
    If I understand correctly, the judge could dismiss the charge with prejudice.
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    Activist Member nuc65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post

    I'm pretty sure you have an army here (small, perhaps, but still an army) but it needs to be told how to carry out this mission. Show us where to shove the ball and we'll get it rolling. BTW - if when you mobilize this army I want to be appointed to the rank of lieutenant lance corporal just so I can wear an augulet.

    stay safe.
    I would rather wear an epaulette than an aglet, not sure what a augulet is. My google fu is weak today.

    An armband, medal or some other accoutrement?
    When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

    excerpt By Marko Kloos (http://munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/?s=major+caudill)

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    Activist Member nuc65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    Thanks, I wondered what it was.
    When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

    excerpt By Marko Kloos (http://munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/?s=major+caudill)

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    If the criminal justice system were to refocus on JUSTICE instead of individual "Brownie points" then a lot of these issues would resolve themsleves.

    User or Skidmark, what else can a Prosecutor or Judge do in lieu of the nolle pros that would prevent a refiling of charges? Why does the Commonwealth reserve the right to retry in many cases?
    As has been mentioned, the Commonwealth Attorney can ask, or the judge can order that the case be dismissed with prejudice to the Commonwealth. It is important to have those five little words as part of the court order, for otherwise it means you could be back in the courtroom at an even more disadvntagious time.

    As for why CAs sem to nolle prosequi in so many cases? As the legalese writers are wont to say, upon belief and information it is a toss-up between 1) sheer laziness (failure to investigate the case ahead of time to determine they even had a chance of prevailing); 2) face-saving CYA/professional courtesy (the cop brings a bogus charge that the CA knows they cannot win on, but the CA does not want to admit it in front of the judge); and 3) my all-time favorite - they walked into court expecting a quick guilty plea in exchange for a "light" sentence and find themselves up against a rogue attorney who is prepared and ready insisting the trial begin (Release the lions; the Christians have arrived?). Actually using the nolle prosequi procedure to hold something over the defendant's head (pure malice) seems to be way down on the list of reasons. If they wanted to have a hold against the defendant they would be better served by improperly asking for a term of probation that is longer than the maximum sentence for the crime.

    stay safe.
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  23. #23
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    As has been mentioned, the Commonwealth Attorney can ask, or the judge can order that the case be dismissed with prejudice to the Commonwealth. It is important to have those five little words as part of the court order, for otherwise it means you could be back in the courtroom at an even more disadvntagious time.

    As for why CAs sem to nolle prosequi in so many cases? As the legalese writers are wont to say, upon belief and information it is a toss-up between 1) sheer laziness (failure to investigate the case ahead of time to determine they even had a chance of prevailing); 2) face-saving CYA/professional courtesy (the cop brings a bogus charge that the CA knows they cannot win on, but the CA does not want to admit it in front of the judge); and 3) my all-time favorite - they walked into court expecting a quick guilty plea in exchange for a "light" sentence and find themselves up against a rogue attorney who is prepared and ready insisting the trial begin (Release the lions; the Christians have arrived?). Actually using the nolle prosequi procedure to hold something over the defendant's head (pure malice) seems to be way down on the list of reasons. If they wanted to have a hold against the defendant they would be better served by improperly asking for a term of probation that is longer than the maximum sentence for the crime.

    stay safe.
    It's an interesting world we live in Skid.
    The reality is that a majority of people arrested actually did what they're accused of. They hire an attorney to get a nolle prosequi out of the Commonwealth and are delighted when and if it happens.

    The others that are innocent or at least not guilty, hire an attorney to fight for them in court, not make deals. Unfortunately there are darned few lawyers left in this state that are up to the game, at least in criminal defense. Lots of bean counting lawyers which is where the easy fighting money is, but not criminal.

    Most Commonwealths Attorney's are like Judges. They wouldn't be doing that job if they were any good as a lawyer. Using the Nolle tactic is a convenient way to avoid taking on cases that are beyond their ability. Voters don't like to see a losing track record.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    It's an interesting world we live in Skid.
    The reality is that a majority of people arrested actually did what they're accused of. They hire an attorney to get a nolle prosequi out of the Commonwealth and are delighted when and if it happens.

    The others that are innocent or at least not guilty, hire an attorney to fight for them in court, not make deals. Unfortunately there are darned few lawyers left in this state that are up to the game, at least in criminal defense. Lots of bean counting lawyers which is where the easy fighting money is, but not criminal.

    Most Commonwealths Attorney's are like Judges. They wouldn't be doing that job if they were any good as a lawyer. Using the Nolle tactic is a convenient way to avoid taking on cases that are beyond their ability. Voters don't like to see a losing track record.
    Excellent point about a losing track record ... its why I fully support elected positions including DAs and judges ...

  25. #25
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Excellent point about a losing track record ... its why I fully support elected positions including DAs and judges ...
    David...this is Virginia. There are no DA's. There are CA's which are elected Constitutional Officers.
    I'm not in favor of elected Judges. You would have politicians instead of Judges.
    A solution I've always liked is requiring every lawyer to do a short term as a Judge much like jury duty.

    My father (another of those bloodsucking Lawyers) did agree with election though. Just not in the conventional way.

    Let the People Judge the Judges: Reforming Virginia's Judicial Selection Proces.
    For Virginia Business
    The writer is a Harrisonburg attorney in practice since 1957.

    Judicial selection in the States is an important, diverse, and controversial process. State judges impact every arena of life with their decisions, from traffic to criminal court. And through this century, the debate has persisted over what is the best way to select these judges. In Virginia, the state constitution gives the General Assembly the right to choose judges, one of very few states to use this method. Most of the other states use some form of popular election or gubernatorial appointment. "To outsiders, Virginia's system of lawmakers electing judges looks quirky and even unfair, a cloistered system of good ol' boys looking out for each other." Perhaps there is a reason that Virginia is in by far the minority on the judicial selection issue. There are too many flaws in a system that gives the legislature exclusive power to appoint and remove judges at its pleasure. Virginia's system as it is now is "a highly partisan process that Democrats had lorded over while they were in power, and one that state Republicans seem to be relishing now that they're in the majority." Virginia needs to rethink the way it chooses its judges. more
    Last edited by peter nap; 05-26-2013 at 01:38 AM.

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