District of Columbia v. Dixon, No. 4071.

Docket NºNo. 4072.
Citation230 A.2d 481
Case DateJune 13, 1967
CourtCourt of Appeals of Columbia District
230 A.2d 481
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Appellant,
v.
Miller A. DIXON, Appellee.
No. 4071.
No. 4072.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Argued April 17, 1967.
Decided June 13, 1967.

Page 482

David P. Sutton, Asst. Corporation Counsel, with whom Milton D. Korman, Acting Corporation Counsel at the time the brief was filed, Hubert B. Pair, Acting Principal Asst. Corporation Counsel at the time the brief was filed, and Richard W. Barton, Asst. Corporation Counsel, were on the brief, for appellant. Charles T. Duncan, Corporation Counsel, also entered an appearance for appellant.

Barrington D. Parker, Washington, D. C., for appellee.

Before HOOD, Chief Judge, MYERS, Associate Judge, and CAYTON (Chief Judge, Retired).

CAYTON, Judge.


In this case, which involved two traffic violations, the District of Columbia appeals from a finding of "not guilty," entered after the prosecutor had asked for a continuance and been refused, and had then announced his intention to enter nolle prosequis. The two cases had earlier been continued three times at the request of defendant, three times by mutual consent, and once at the request of the prosecution. On March 31, 1966, the prosecutor asked for a further continuance on the ground that one of two policemen had become ill and had gone home with a temperature of 101 degrees, and that the prosecutor needed the testimony of both police officers. When the trial judge refused to grant a continuance the prosecutor stated that he would enter nolle prosequis. The judge refused to give him the information papers and directed him to proceed with his one witness. The prosecutor declining to proceed, the judge ordered that findings of not guilty be entered. No witnesses had been sworn, no evidence presented, and no motion made by defense counsel to dismiss for failure to prosecute or on any other ground.

It appears that the trial judge considered dismissing the cases for lack of a speedy trial if a motion for such dismissal had been made by defense counsel; but no such motion was made and the action taken was not a dismissal for want of prosecution but a finding of not guilty following refusal to permit nolle prosequis. Both actions were wrong.

A court has no power to enter a finding of not guilty until a trial has at least commenced. See Clawans v. Rives, 70 App.D.C. 107, 104 F.2d 240, 122 A.L.R. 1436 (1939); Hunter v. Wade, 169 F.2d 973, 8 A.L.R.2d 277 (10th Cir. 1948), aff'd, 336 U.S. 684, 69 S.Ct. 834, 93 L.Ed....

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6 practice notes
  • Dixon v. District of Columbia, No. 21084.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 16, 1968
    ...`capricious and 394 F.2d 968 vexatiously repetitious.'" It concluded that appellant's was not such a case. Dixon v. District of Columbia, 230 A.2d 481 (D.C.App. June 13, I need not consider appellant's contention that this holding allows the prosecutor to nullify the court's control over co......
  • United States v. Oliver, No. 6440.
    • United States
    • November 29, 1972
    ...V, 1972), provides for release on bail, if otherwise possible, during the time of appeal. 3. District of Columbia v. Dixon, D.C.App., 230 A.2d 481 (1967), vacated on other grounds, 129 U.S.App.D.C. 341, 394 F. 2d 966 (1968); United States v. Foster, D.C.App., 226 A.2d 164 (1967); United Sta......
  • State v. Fournier
    • United States
    • Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • November 30, 1992
    ...when the lawyer knows, or it is obvious, that the charges are not supported by probable cause). See also District of Columbia v. Dixon, 230 A.2d 481, 482 (D.C.1967) (prosecutor has a right to decide whether to prosecute a case except when that right is exercised "in a scandalous or corrupt ......
  • State ex rel. Bokowsky v. Rudman, No. 6132
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • February 26, 1971
    ...Attorney General in entering a nolle prosequi was capricious or motivated by any improper motive. See District of Columbia v. Dixon, 230 A.2d 481, 482 (D.C.Ct.App.1967); United States v. Foster, 226 A.2d 164, 166 Petition denied. ...
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6 cases
  • Dixon v. District of Columbia, No. 21084.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 16, 1968
    ...`capricious and 394 F.2d 968 vexatiously repetitious.'" It concluded that appellant's was not such a case. Dixon v. District of Columbia, 230 A.2d 481 (D.C.App. June 13, I need not consider appellant's contention that this holding allows the prosecutor to nullify the court's control over co......
  • United States v. Oliver, No. 6440.
    • United States
    • November 29, 1972
    ...V, 1972), provides for release on bail, if otherwise possible, during the time of appeal. 3. District of Columbia v. Dixon, D.C.App., 230 A.2d 481 (1967), vacated on other grounds, 129 U.S.App.D.C. 341, 394 F. 2d 966 (1968); United States v. Foster, D.C.App., 226 A.2d 164 (1967); United Sta......
  • State v. Fournier
    • United States
    • Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • November 30, 1992
    ...when the lawyer knows, or it is obvious, that the charges are not supported by probable cause). See also District of Columbia v. Dixon, 230 A.2d 481, 482 (D.C.1967) (prosecutor has a right to decide whether to prosecute a case except when that right is exercised "in a scandalous or corrupt ......
  • State ex rel. Bokowsky v. Rudman, No. 6132
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • February 26, 1971
    ...Attorney General in entering a nolle prosequi was capricious or motivated by any improper motive. See District of Columbia v. Dixon, 230 A.2d 481, 482 (D.C.Ct.App.1967); United States v. Foster, 226 A.2d 164, 166 Petition denied. ...
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