TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: April 10, 2015
RE: Rule 12, N.D.R.Crim.P., Pleadings and Pretrial Motions; Rule 34, N.D.R.Crim.P., Arresting Judgment
Amendments to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure took effect in December 2014. Fed.R.Crim.P. 12 was extensively amended and Fed.R.Crim. 34 was amended to be consistent with the Fed.R.Crim.P. 12 amendments.
Proposed amendments to Rule 13 and 34 based on the federal amendments are attached. Essentially, the amendments to Rule 12 provide more specificity regarding what motions must be made before trial in a criminal case and provide a mechanism for setting a deadline for pretrial motions. The amendments to Rule 34 would allow a court to arrest judgment only if it did not have jurisdiction over the offense.
The rationale behind the federal amendments is explained in the attached commentary. The amendments were prompted by a request from the Department of Justice that defendants be required to raise failure to state an offense as a pretrial motion. This request was based on a Supreme Court decision holding that failure to state an offense is not a jurisdictional defect. The federal committee then began looking at pretrial motions in general under Rule 12 and it decided to restructure and clarify the rule.
The federal explanatory materials indicate that numerous public comments were received on the Rule 12 changes. The committee may wish to discuss whether the proposed amendments to Rule 12 would cause a significant change in criminal motion practice in North Dakota and whether input from the prosecution and defense bar should be sought on the proposals.