TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: September 13, 2011
RE: Rule 7, N.D.R.Crim.P., The Indictment and the Information
Judge Herauf has raised a question about Rule 7. The rule says that except for municipal appeals, prosecutions must be in the name and authority of the "State of North Dakota." In places like Medora, however, cities bring ordinance violations (misdemeanors and infractions) into district court and the city attorney handles the prosecution. N.D.C.C. § 40-18-06.2 authorizes the transfer of municipal ordinance cases to district court when the city has no court.
Allowing a city attorney to bring a complaint captioned "City of Medora" v. X seems at odds with Rule 7's direction that complaints be prosecuted in the name and authority of the State. Yet, according to court staff attorney Jim Ganje, most municipalities around the state that have transferred their ordinance violations to district court prosecute these cases in the name of the city. Therefore, the Committee may wish to discuss whether Rule 7 needs to be amended to account for transferred municipal ordinance cases.
Staff has prepared proposed amendments to Rule 7 to address this situation. The proposed amendments are attached.