TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
RE: Revisions to North Dakota Rules of Criminal Procedure
The United States Supreme Court has endorsed a package of wide-ranging amendments to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. As was the case with the appellate rule amendments, the majority of the criminal procedure amendments are stylistic in nature, designed to make the rules more uniform and understandable. Unless altered by Congress, the amended rules will take effect December 1, 2002.
The U.S. Supreme Court's approval of the criminal procedure rule revisions coincides with this Committee's completion of its own work on the North Dakota appellate rules package, which has been submitted to the North Dakota Supreme Court. Therefore, this is an opportune time for the Committee to consider whether to move on to review and revise the North Dakota Rules of Criminal Procedure.
The attached Law Week material summarizes the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. For the Committee's information, the substantive amendments that possibly may be relevant to North Dakota practice and procedure are as follows:
Rule 5: An amendment gives courts discretion to conduct the initial appearance by teleconference with the defendant's consent.
Rule 5.1: The federal rule incorporates tight timeliness that are not yet part of the N.D. rule an amendment gives courts the discretion to continue hearings beyond the required timeliness without the defendant's consent.
Rule 10: An amendment gives courts discretion to conduct the arraignment by teleconference with the defendant's consent. An additional amendment allows the defendant to waive presence at the arraignment.
Rule12.2: An amendment clarifies that the court may order a mental examination when a mental condition defense is raised.
Rule 12.4: A new rule requires disclosure of corporate ownership when a corporation is a party and, when the government claims an organization was a victim of a crime, disclosure of the organization/victim's identity is required.
Rule 30: An amendment allows a court to ask for proposed jury instructions pretrial.
Rule 35: The federal rule allows reduction of sentence for assisting government prosecutions, something that is not part of the North Dakota rule. An amendment expands the situations where such reduction of sentence is possible.
Discussion of incorporating some of the federal amendments into North Dakota Rules of Criminal Procedure 5, 10 and 43 is on the agenda for this meeting and will be the subject of another memo.