The last session of the Nebraska legislature made available as a part of the criminal procedure of the state the plea of nolo contendere, or non vult. This was done by amending Section 29-1819 of the Nebraska Statutes to read as follows:
If the issue on the plea in bar be found against the defendant, or if upon arraignment the accused offers no plea in bar, he shall plead "guilty," "not guilty," or "nolo contendere;" but if he pleads evasively or stands mute, he shall be taken to have pleaded "not guilty."
The accused may, at any time before conviction, enter a plea of nolo contendere with the consent of the court. The court may refuse to accept the plea, and shall not accept the plea without first determining that the plea is made voluntarily with an understanding of the nature of the charge.
The plea of nolo contendere originated in England, although it has long since disappeared from the jurisprudence of that jurisdiction. The English judicial history of the plea seems to have been largely derivative from a statement in Hawkins' Pleas of the Crown to the following effect:
An implied confession is where a defendant in a case not capital doth not directly own himself guilty, but in a manner admits it by yielding to the King's mercy, and desiring to submit to a small fine: in which case, if the court think fit to accept of such submission, and make an entry that the defendant posuit se in gratiam regis, without putting him to a direct confession, or plea (which in such cases seems to be left to discretion), the defendant shall not be estopped to plead not guilty in an action for the same fact, as he shall be where the entry is quod cognovit indictamentum.
Patrick W. Healey,
The Nature and Consequences of the Plea of Nolo Contendere,
33 Neb. L. Rev. 428
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol33/iss3/6