As a criminal defense lawyer I often get questions as to whether there is a difference between a “regular” guilty plea and a “nolo” plea. Technically, the latter is from the Latin phrase, “nolo contendre”, more or less translating into “no contest.” A few days ago the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, where we handle lots of cases, issued an opinion discussing the “nolo” plea, its ramifications, and issued a ruling as to when a prosecutor can make use of an earlier “no contest” plea. The case is United States v. Green.
Mr. Green has had some previous problems with law enforcement, and his problems got worse when he was charged with new crimes. He got out on bail, but only with the condition that he wear a GPS-monitored ankle bracelet. He apparently removed the ankle monitor, so the police went looking for him at a woman’s residence where they figured to find him. Once inside the master bedroom, the police saw a large jacket (and the woman was not that size), men’s shoes on the floor, and most importantly, a firearm and ammunition scattered around. They subsequently discovered the unlucky Mr. Green hiding nearby in the closet. The feds charged him with being a previously (12 times!) convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and he went to trial represented by a very capable Federal Public Defender. Continue reading