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Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer > > Criminal Defense > Nolle Prosequi And Pennsylvania Criminal Cases

Nolle Prosequi And Pennsylvania Criminal Cases


You have probably heard the depressing statistic that many more criminal cases end with guilty pleas than with acquittals, but these are not the only ways that your case can go.  Prosecutors have the right to cancel the criminal proceedings at any time between the arrest and the trial, for any reason they choose.  If the prosecution stops prosecuting before the defendant even formally receives criminal charges, this is called filing a no information.  In other words, in most cases, the State Attorney’s office reviews the arrest report and files an information, which is what the charging document is called in all criminal cases except the ones that involve a grand jury indictment.  If the State Attorney’s office determines that there is no basis for criminal proceedings, it files a no in formation instead, and the proceedings stop in their tracks.  If the defendant has already received charges and entered a plea, the prosecution can withdraw the case by filing a nolle prosequi, which means “unwilling to prosecute” in Latin.  To find out why the prosecution might file a nolle prosequi in your case, contact a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer.

The Prosecution Can Drop the Charges Against You for Any Reason

The prosecution can file a nolle prosequi whenever it determines that it is in the interest of justice to do so.  Most of the time, it happens when prosecutors realize that they do not have enough legally valid evidence to convict the defendant.  Therefore, the nolle prosequi usually happens shortly after a witness recants his or her testimony or the judge grants the defense’s motion to declare a certain piece of evidence inadmissible.  It is much less common for the prosecution to file a nolle prosequi because the crime lab lost a piece of evidence, although this sometimes happens, too.  Nolle prosequi does not always mean the case is completely over though, because the prosecution can charge you again for the same crime, and this is not considered double jeopardy.

In the News

In 2022, David Cox was charged with corruption of a minor, tampering with evidence, criminal solicitation, and unlawful contact with a minor.  Cox was a pastor at a church in Mercer County, and a parishioner reported him to the police when she found notes that Cox had written to her teen daughter.  The girl told her mother that she had also been exchanging phone calls and text messages with Cox, and that he had asked to kiss her, but she had refused.  The messages showed the two planning to meet privately, and in one message Cox instructed the girl to delete the messages he had sent her.  In January 2024, the prosecution filed a nolle prosequi after the computer at the District Attorney’s office where Cox’s text messages to the girl were saved crashed and deleted the messages.

Contact Gary E. Gerson About Criminal Defense Cases

A criminal defense lawyer can help you if the evidence that prosecutors plan to use against you is inadmissible in court.  Contact the law offices of Gary E. Gerson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania about your case.



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