TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: April 10, 2014
RE: Rule 8, N.D.R.Crim.P., Joinder of Offenses or Defendants
Judge Racek, who is the chair of the Court Technology Committee, has proposed an amendment to Rule 8 that would require charges against a single defendant to be consolidated in a single charging document before they are filed.
Judge Racek said that in Fargo, the State's Attorney works with the Police Department to assemble all charges against a single defendant into a single information listing multiple counts. He said that this system is very efficient for the courts and also for the parole and probation department.
Judge Racek said that when there is a different complaint for each charge, this leads to a multiplication of paperwork, such as a different arrest warrant for each charge. Judge Racek said this leads to a deluge of documents for the clerks and the court to handle.
One argument against the single charging document approach is that in rural areas with part-time state's attorneys, the prosecutor and law enforcement staffing is not available to gather and consolidate all the material that charges against a defendant might be based on before filing. A charge written up by a sheriff's deputy on a uniform citation, for example, might be filed right away, while additional charges from the same incident might be filed later as the evidence is developed.
Proposed amendments to Rule 8 that would require consolidation of charges in a single charging document are attached.