This page is also continued from Legal Instruments.
information – a formal criminal charge made by a prosecutor without a grand-jury indictment; technically, an accusation of the commission of a crime, otherwise known as a complaint or affidavit. — aka bill of information.
indictment – a formal written accusation of a felony, made by a grand jury and presented to a court for prosecution against the accused person.
- bill of indictment – an instrument containing a criminal charge, presented to a grand jury by a prosecutor, used by the jury to determine if there’s enough evidence to formally charge the accused with a crime. After it is found and all the blanks are filled in, it is called an “indictment.”
- true bill – an indorsement that a grand jury enters onto a bill of indictment when it indicts a criminal defendant; by writing “true bill” on the bill, the determination that a criminal charge should go before a petty jury for trial is officially indorsed by the grand jury. — aka billa vera.
- no bill – an indorsement by a grand jury on a bill of indictment, indicating “not found” or “not a true bill”; the party is then discharged without further answer. A grand jury may instead write “not found,” “not a true bill,” or “ignoramus” to indicate the same thing.
presentment – a written accusation returned by a grand jury on its own motion, without a prosecutor’s previous indictment request, which may be used by the prosecutor as the basis for a true bill or indictment.
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: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6
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