No Contest - Bricker rises to the "challenge"

Nice job on the No Contest plea staff report. It was clear, factual, and more importantly, concise. Congratulations, sir. Well done.

Great job Bricker.

You know, I had also always kind of wondered about “guilty” versus “no contest”. Thanks for the great article, Bricker. It was quite illustrative.

Now the only question of importance left unanswered…

… who will play me in the movie?


Seriously, thanks for the kind words. It was great fun to serve as a guest contributer!

Cool article, Bricker. Your writings on legal matters have always been extremely easy to follow. Even though I am a de facto lawyer by now thanks to my extensive Law & Order watching, sometimes we all need a little help.

Suddenly all those Law & Order episodes make sense.

Sean Penn? :wink:

My advice . . . if it is Steve Buscemi you should sue.


Just to make sure I have this straight: The court will not necessarily accept a plea of nolo contendere, but if the court does accept it, there is no drawback and potential advantages to the defendant to plead n. c. rather than guilty. Is this correct?

Joe Pesci:

Vinny Gambini: It is possible that the two utes…
Judge Chamberlain Haller: …Ah, the two what? Uh… uh, what was that word?
Vinny Gambini: Uh… what word?
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Two what?
Vinny Gambini: What?
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Uh… did you say “utes”?
Vinny Gambini: Yeah, two utes.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: What is a ute?
Vinny Gambini: Oh, excuse me, Your Honor…
Vinny Gambini: two YOUTHS.


Why, then, would anyone ever bother trying to get a guilty plea? The defendant should always prefer to plead nolo, and the DA shouldn’t care, since the result is a verdict of guilty, with punishment.

The prosecution (and the court) isn’t always going to be happy with a nolo plea. It allows the defendant to deny the crime – as I indicated in my report – and if that were the general practice, it would call into question the administration of justice; it would raise the appearance that defendents are being browbeaten into pleading guilty. The prosecution often has an interest in seeing that the defendant is hit with the collateral consequences of his acts. Although I didn’t go down this route in the column, it raises potential problems at parole time; one of the indicia that parole boards can look to is acceptance of responsibility for the crime for which you’ve been convicted.

The prosecution often insists on an allocution of guilt. The court often requires it as part of the factual basis for the plea. When the circumstances suggest it’s appropriate, they will accept it; by no means is it positioned to become the default substitute for a guilty plea.

An aside:

In Michigan civil practice, there is a procedure for pleading no contest to allegations in a complaint:
The only pleadings that I have seen actually using this technique are my own. And I’ve not seen a similar rule elsewhere.

Heh heh heh … I always thoguht the first rule of civl practice was to deny each and every allegation in the complaint.

It is, and there’s also the even better ploy, “defendant lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an allegation,” which has the advantage of being nearly unfalsifiable (anything the lawyer collects in the investigation of a lawsuit is covered by the work-product doctrine and the attorney-client privilege), and still “has the effect of a denial.”

The advantage of the no contest plea is that it is like an admission, avoiding embarrassing proof, but doesn’t stick like an admission. So it can’t be used against your client later. A lawyer-like tactic if I ever saw one.

So Bricker - will you now be listed as GSDSAB?

Nice job, as usual. Kudoes to one of the most valuable of our fellow Dopers.


Excellent job, Bricker. I always appreciated your professionalism in legal threads.
Don’t be long in doing another one.

Dex is a * nudzh*. :smiley:

“Nudzh”? "Nudzh"??? Sheesh.

Steve Carell :stuck_out_tongue: