Nolo contendere

Nolo contendere is a legal term that comes from the Latin phrase for "I do not wish to contend" and it is also referred to as a plea of no contest.

In criminal trials in certain United States jurisdictions, it is a plea where the defendant neither admits nor disputes a charge, serving as an alternative to a pleading of guilty or not guilty. A no-contest plea, while not technically a guilty plea, has the same immediate effect as a guilty plea and is often offered as a part of a plea bargain.[1] In many jurisdictions a plea of nolo contendere is not a typical right and carries various restrictions on its use.

United States

In the United States, State law determines whether, and under what circumstances, a defendant may plead no contest in state criminal cases. In federal court, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure only allow a nolo contendere plea to be entered with the court's consent; before accepting the plea, the court is required to "consider the parties' views and the public interest in the effective administration of justice".[2]

Residual effects

A nolo contendere plea has the same immediate effects as a plea of guilty, but may have different residual effects or consequences in future actions. For instance, a conviction arising from a nolo contendere plea is subject to any and all penalties, fines, and forfeitures of a conviction from a guilty plea in the same case, and can be considered as an aggravating factor in future criminal actions. However, unlike a guilty plea, a defendant in a nolo contendere plea may not be required to allocute the charges. This means that a nolo contendere conviction typically may not be used to establish either negligence per se, malice, or whether the acts were committed at all in later civil proceedings related to the same set of facts as the criminal prosecution.[3]

Under the Federal Rules of Evidence,[3][4] and in those states whose rules of evidence are similar or identical to them, nolo contendere pleas may not be used to defeat the hearsay prohibition if offered as an "admission by [a] party-opponent".[5] Assuming the appropriate gravity of the charge, and all other things being equal, a guilty plea to the same charge would cause the reverse effect: An opponent at trial could introduce the plea, over a hearsay objection, as evidence to establish a certain fact.[4]


In Alaska, a criminal conviction based on a nolo contendere plea may be used against the defendant in future civil actions. The Alaska Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that a "conviction based on a no contest plea will collaterally estop the criminal defendant from denying any element in a subsequent civil action against him that was necessarily established by the conviction, as long as the prior conviction was for a serious criminal offense and the defendant in fact had the opportunity for a full and fair hearing".[6][7]


In California, a nolo contendere plea is known as a West plea after a seminal case involving plea bargains, People v. West (1970) 3 Cal.3d 595. The state Board of Pharmacy considers a plea of nolo contendere to be deemed a conviction with regard to issuing licenses for pharmacies, pharmacists and drug wholesalers.

A nolo contendere plea to any felony is considered exactly equivalent to a guilty plea for the purposes of civil actions; this plea to any non-felony is not admissible to a civil action.[8]


In Florida, the Supreme Court held in 2005 that no-contest convictions may be treated as prior convictions for the purposes of future sentencing.[9]


In Michigan, "A nolo contendere plea does not admit guilt, it merely communicates to the court that the criminal defendant does not wish to contest the state's accusations and will acquiesce in the imposition of punishment." Lichon v American Universal Insurance Co., 435 Mich 408, 417 (1990). A nolo contendere plea may be appropriate "where the defendant would not be able to supply a sufficient factual basis for a guilty plea because he or she was intoxicated on the night of the incident, where there is the possibility of future civil litigation resulting from the offense, or where a defendant cannot remember the events which led to his or her being charged with a crime". 1A Gillespie Michigan Criminal Law & Procedure, § 16:15.

A no contest plea prevents the court from eliciting a defendant's admission of guilt, but the result of the defendant's plea not to contest the charges against him or her is the same as if the defendant had admitted guilt. If a defendant pleads no contest to a charged offense, with the exception of questioning the defendant about his or her role in the charged offense, the court must proceed in the same manner as if the defendant had pleaded guilty. MCL 767.37. A plea of no contest to a felony offense requires the court's consent. MCR 6.301(B).

A defendant's no contest plea to criminal charges does not estop that defendant from denying responsibility in a later civil action arising from the same conduct. Lichon, 435 Mich at 417.


In Texas, the right to appeal the results of a plea bargain taken from a plea of either nolo contendere or "guilty" is highly restricted. Defendants who have entered a plea of nolo contendere may only appeal the judgment of the court if the appeal is based on written pretrial motions ruled upon by the court.[10]


The Virginia Rules of Evidence differ from the parallel federal rules in that a nolo contendere plea entered in a criminal case is admissible in a related civil proceeding.


In the Commonwealth countries—such as England and Wales, Canada, and Australia—the plea of nolo contendere is not permitted. The defendant must enter a plea of "guilty" or "not guilty". If a defendant refuses to enter a plea, the court will record a plea of "not guilty".[11]

See also


  1. ^ Stephano Bibas (July 2003). "Harmonizing Substantive Criminal Law Values and Criminal Procedure: The Case of Alford and Nolo contendere Pleas". Cornell Law Review. 88 (6). Retrieved May 10, 2007.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Legal Information Institute. "United States Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 410(2)". Cornell Law School. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Legal Information Institute. "United States Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 803(22)". Cornell Law School. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  5. ^ Legal Information Institute. "United States Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 801(d)(2)". Cornell Law School. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  6. ^ "Drunk driver who pled no contest can't relitigate issue of recklessness",All Business, December 18, 2006, retrieved April 22, 2010
  7. ^ "Lamb v. Anderson No. 6078 (S-11936), P3d 736". Alaska Supreme Court. November 17, 2006.
  8. ^ "TITLE 6. PLEADINGS AND PROCEEDINGS BEFORE TRIAL ~ CHAPTER 4. Plea". California Legislative Information, State of California. 1998-09-28. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  9. ^ "Sheldon Montgomery vs. Florida" (PDF). Florida Supreme Court. March 17, 2005.
  10. ^ "Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 25.2(a)" (PDF). Supreme Court of Texas. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  11. ^ David J. Wills (2007). "Different State jurisdictions govern the plea process through their own legislation" (PDF). Division 3 Sections 146 146A.
Alford plea

An Alford plea (also called a Kennedy plea in West Virginia, an Alford guilty plea and the Alford doctrine), in United States law, is a guilty plea in criminal court, whereby a defendant in a criminal case does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence. In entering an Alford plea, the defendant admits that the evidence presented by the prosecution would be likely to persuade a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


Arraignment is a formal reading of a criminal charging document in the presence of the defendant to inform the defendant of the charges against the defendant. In response to arraignment, the accused is expected to enter a plea. Acceptable pleas vary among jurisdictions, but they generally include "guilty", "not guilty", and the peremptory pleas (or pleas in bar) setting out reasons why a trial cannot proceed. Pleas of "nolo contendere" (no contest) and the "Alford plea" are allowed in some circumstances.

Buddy Cianci

Vincent Albert "Buddy" Cianci Jr. (, see-AN-see; Italian pronunciation: [ˈtʃaŋtʃi], CHAHN-chee; April 30, 1941 – January 28, 2016) was an American lawyer, radio talk show host, politician, and political commentator who served as the mayor of Providence, Rhode Island (1975–84, 1991–2002). Cianci was the longest-serving mayor of Providence and one of the longest-serving mayors in United States history, having held office for over 21 years.

Cianci was twice elected Mayor of Providence and also served as a prosecutor and attorney. Notably, he was forced to resign from office twice due to felony convictions. His first administration ended in 1984 when he pleaded nolo contendere to charges brought against him. His second stint as mayor ended when he was forced to resign following his conviction for one count of racketeering conspiracy, and he served four years in federal prison.Cianci was first elected mayor as the candidate of the Republican Party. While in office, he declared himself an independent and, as of 2009, he said that he had no party affiliation. On his radio show in June 2014, Cianci announced that he would run for mayor again. He was defeated by Democratic candidate Jorge Elorza in the 2014 election.


A chargesheet is a prepaFIRs, and charges an individual or organization for (some or all of) the crimes specified in those FIR(s). Once the chargesheet has been submitted to a court of law, the court decides as to who among the accused has sufficient prima facie evidence against him to be put on trial. After the court pronounces its order on framing of charges, prosecution proceedings against the accused begin in the judicial system.

Deferred prosecution

A deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), which is very similar to a non-prosecution agreement (NPA), is a voluntary alternative to adjudication in which a prosecutor agrees to grant amnesty in exchange for the defendant agreeing to fulfill certain requirements. A case of corporate fraud, for instance, might be settled by means of a deferred-prosecution agreement in which the defendant agrees to pay fines, implement corporate reforms, and fully cooperate with the investigation. Fulfillment of the specified requirements will then result in dismissal of the charges.

Factual basis

In United States criminal law, a factual basis is a statement of the facts detailing an individual crime and its particulars, stipulated to by the prosecution and the defense, which forms a basis by which a judge can accept a guilty plea from the defendant.

Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy

Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, (MSCCSP), is an agency within the state government of Maryland, that sets guidelines which are used by Maryland circuit court judges in sentencing persons convicted of crimes in the state.

National Police of Uruguay

The National Police of Uruguay is the police institution of Uruguay created 18 December 1829, formed by civil personnel, with complete attributions of police. It constitutes the Security Force, is a body of national and professional nature, dependent on the Executive Branch through the Ministry of the Interior.

As administrative police is responsible for the maintenance of Public Order and the prevention of crimes. As an auxiliary of justice, he is responsible for investigating crimes, collecting evidence and handing off criminals to the judiciary.

The National Police is responsible for the personnel in activity:

Defend freedom, life, and property of all people.

The maintenance of public order, the preservation of security, the prevention and repression of crime.

Nicholas Daniloff

Nicholas Daniloff (born December 30, 1934) is an American journalist who graduated from Harvard University and was most prominent in the 1980s for his reporting on the Soviet Union. He came to wider international attention on September 2, 1986, when he was arrested in Moscow by the KGB and accused of espionage.

The Reagan administration took the position that the Soviets had arrested Daniloff without cause, in retaliation for the arrest three days earlier of Gennadi Zakharov, an employee of the Soviet UN Mission. The Soviets initially contended that Daniloff had confidential government documents on him when he was arrested.

After intense discussion between the governments, on September 23 Daniloff was allowed to leave the Soviet Union without charges, Zakharov was allowed to leave the U.S. after pleading nolo contendere, and Soviet dissident Yuri Orlov was released to the West.

However, the diplomatic crisis did not end there. Expulsions of diplomats and suspected spies escalated to the point that by the end of October 1986, 100 Soviets, including a further 80 suspected Soviet intelligence agents, were expelled by the U.S. The Soviets expelled ten U.S. diplomats and withdrew all 260 of the Russian support staff working for the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

Daniloff later contended in his autobiography, Two Lives, One Russia, that he had never held classified documents, and that the KGB had created false information. Daniloff became an instructor at Northeastern University's School of Journalism, and in 1992 he was named director of the school. He was also one of the co-authors of the book The Oath, a biography of Khassan Baiev.

Daniloff's grandfather, general Yuri Danilov, was a chief of operations of Russian Imperial Army general-headquarters during World War I.

No contest (disambiguation)

No contest may refer to:

Nolo contendere, a plea in a criminal court case (also known as no contest)

No contest (combat sports), a decision at a sporting event (especially boxing)

No Contest (film) a film starring Shannon Tweed


Nolo may refer to:

Nolo contendere, a plea that can be entered in some courts

Nolo (publisher), formerly known as Nolo Press, a publisher of legal self-help material

Nolo, Pennsylvania, an unincorporated community in Indiana County, in Pennsylvania, USA

North Carolina v. Alford

North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed that there are no constitutional barriers in place to prevent a judge from accepting a guilty plea from a defendant who wants to plead guilty while still protesting his innocence under duress as a detainee status. This type of plea has become known as an Alford plea, differing slightly from the nolo contendere plea in which the defendant agrees to being sentenced for the crime, but does not admit guilt. Alford died in prison in 1975.

Peremptory plea

In the common law, the peremptory pleas (pleas in bar) are defensive pleas that set out special reasons for which a trial cannot proceed; they serve to bar the case entirely. Pleas in bar may be used in civil or criminal cases; they address the substantial merits of the case.

Randy Jurgensen

Randy Jurgensen is a former NYPD detective, best known as the lead investigator into the murder of patrolman Phil Cardillo. Jurgenson was born in 1933 to Elizabeth and Randolf Jurgenson in Harlem, NY. He served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper and was in the Battle of Pork Chop Hill in the Korean War. He was decorated with three bronze stars and a purple heart. He entered the NYPD in 1958 as a patrolman and was quickly promoted to detective. He worked undercover investigating members of the Black Liberation Army. At one point, the BLA placed a $50,000 bounty on his head, which is believed to still exist today. From 1973 to 1976, he led the Cardillo murder investigation. He was forced to retire from the NYPD, pleading nolo contendere to a series of charges brought up on by the NYPD. While still a detective for the NYPD, he began working on films as a consultant. He transitioned to a career in film acting and production and has appeared in more than 30 films.

Search of persons

Police officers in various jurisdictions have power to search members of the public, for example, for weapons, drugs and stolen property. This article concerns searches of members of the public who have not been arrested and who are not held in detention. For search powers in relation to those persons see Search on arrest and Searches in detention. For searches of property, rather than people, see search and seizure.


In law and philosophy, voluntariness is a choice being made of a person's free will, as opposed to being made as the result of coercion or duress. Philosophies such as libertarianism and voluntaryism, as well as many legal systems, hold that a contract must be voluntarily agreed to by a party in order to be binding on that party. The social contract rests on the concept of the voluntary consent of the governed.The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that "Before accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the court must address the defendant personally in open court and determine that the plea is voluntary and did not result from force, threats, or promises (other than promises in a plea agreement)." The actual voluntariness is suspect, in that it is common for prosecutors to threaten to seek more prison time unless the defendant agrees to plead guilty. For this reason, common law courts historically took a negative view of guilty pleas.

Wanda Holloway

Wanda Webb Holloway (born 1954) is a woman from Channelview, Texas, known for attempting to hire a hitman to kill the mother of her daughter's junior high school cheerleading rival. The plan ultimately failed when the man she asked to perform the hit turned her in to the authorities.

William Q. MacLean Jr.

William Q. "Biff" MacLean Jr. is an American politician who served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate.

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