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What is a true bill of indictment?
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In this article, I will break down the legal definition of True Billed so you know all there is to know about it!
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What Does True Billed Mean
True Billed (also referred to as true bill, grand jury true bill, or true bill indictment) refers the decision of a grand jury having heard evidence that a person may have committed an indictable offense.
When the jury renders the true bill, then the prosecutor moves forward with the indictment of the defendant in question.
You can say in essence that the grand jury endorses the decision to file charges against a person after having heard evidence leading it to believe that a crime may have been committed by the defendant (there’s a probable cause).
Typically, when a true bill is issued, it is signed by a member of the grand jury (the foreperson) confirming on behalf of all the jury members that a person probability committed a crime and it is justified to move forward with an indictment.
What’s important to understand here is that the grand jury’s role in this process is not to evaluate the evidence and convict someone beyond a reasonable doubt.
A true bill is the grand jury’s “endorsement” that it believes, based on the evidence presented to it, that a crime “may” have taken place and that the defendant that is to be accused is the person that “may” have committed the crime.
True Billed Definition
What does true bill mean?
Essentially, Law.com defines a true bill as follows:
The written decision of a Grand Jury (signed by the Grand Jury foreperson) that it has heard sufficient evidence from the prosecution to believe that an accused person probably committed a crime and should be indicted.
As you can see from this definition, a true bill can be defined as:
- A written decision
- Of a Grand Jury
- Having heard evidence
- Believes a person may have committed a crime
- Allowing for the indictment
What Happens After A True Bill Indictment
If a true bill endorsement is issued by the grand jury, it means that the prosecutor is legally enabled to move forward and file criminal charges against an offender.
A true bill indictment does not mean that the defendant is found guilty of the charges and convicted but rather that the grand jury agrees with the prosector that perhaps a person may have violated criminal laws.
By endorsing the prosecutor’s indictment, it allows for the criminal proceedings to begin against a specific person.
When the criminal defendant is formally charged, it will then have the right to retain the services of a defense attorney (or not) and defend itself against the accusations.
In some cases, when there are concerns that the defendant may run away, hide, or flee, the indictment may be “sealed” (meaning that it is kept secret until the defendant is arrested and in the custody of law enforcement).
There may also be instances that the grand jury members themselves may have legitimate concerns for their safety.
In that case, it’s possible to keep the identity of the grand jurors a secret to avoid the risk of retaliation or harm to them or their families.
No True Bill Meaning
What does no true bill mean?
No true bill means essentially the opposite of a “true bill”.
In other words, when a grand jury hears evidence to determine whether or not a person may have committed a crime and comes to the conclusion that the evidence does not support the issuance of an indictment, a no bill or no true bill decision is made.
Another term for no bill is a bill of ignoramus.
Here is the no true bill definition in summary:
- A written decision
- Of a grand jury
- Having heard evidence
- Does not believe a person may have committed a crime
- And does not recommend proceeding with an indictment
True Bill Takeaways
So there you have it folks!
What is a true bill?
Let’s dig into our legal dictionary and define true bill!
In criminal law, “true bill” is a term that is used in criminal law to refer to a decision of a grand jury endorsing that an indictment is issued against a person after having seen evidence suggesting that a person may have committed a crime.
This type of decision is of course only possible in jurisdictions where their criminal rules of procedure require that a grand jury evaluate the prosecutor’s evidence and decide whether or not it agrees with the prosecutor to file criminal charges against a person.
In the United States, that’s precisely what needs to be done before criminally indicting someone.
The prosecutor must first evaluate the evidence given to it by law enforcement and decide if there’s enough merit to file charges against someone.
Before a prosecutor can file criminal charges against the defendant, it must present its evidence to a grand jury who is tasked to evaluate the evidence and endorse the prosecutor’s decision (true bill) or not (no true bill).
In a nutshell, a true bill of indictment is a formal decision rendered by a grand jury or a written statement indicating its agreement with the prosecutor to proceed with the filing of criminal charges against someone.
I hope that I was able to answer your questions such as what does true bill of indictment mean, what does true bill mean in court, or what is the no true bill meaning?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
True Bill of Indictment Meaning
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