The court may order that separate cases be tried together as though brought in a single indictment, information or complaint if all offenses and all defendants could have been joined in a single indictment, information, or complaint.
Rule 13 was amended, effective March 1, 2006.
Rule 13 follows Fed.R.Crim.P. 13 in substance and controls with respect to the trial of multiple indictments or informations within the state. Rule 13 is a restatement of existing law that permits the joinder of charges in an indictment and the consolidation of indictments for trial.
Rule 13 was amended, effective March 1, 2006, in response to the December 1, 2002, revision of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
Rule 13 must be considered in light of Rule 8 (Joinder of Offenses and of Defendants). The joinder of offenses against a single defendant is governed by Rule 8(a), and the discussion of that rule is pertinent in determining when indictments may be tried together. In conjunction with Rule 8(a), which permits joinder of offenses, this rule permits trial together of offenses, whether felonies, misdemeanors or both, that (1) are of the same or similar character or (2) are based on the same act or transaction or (3) are based on two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting part of a common scheme or plan. But even if offenses charged against a single defendant arise out of interrelated occurrences, they should be tried together only if expediency can be served without interference with the defendant's substantive rights.
The joinder of defendants under Rule 13 is governed by Rule 8(b), and the discussion of that rule is pertinent in considering a joint trial of two or more defendants. The test that must be met before independent charges against two or more defendants may be ordered tried together is that they have participated in the same act or transaction or in the same series of acts or transactions constituting an offense or offenses. The rule does not permit joinder of defendants alleged to have committed offenses of a similar character, although where a single defendant is involved, such joinder would be permissible.
Rule 13 is similar to N.D.R.Civ.P. 42 (Consolidation; Separate Trials), in that both allow the court to order a joint hearing or trial (at its discretion) for reasons of expediency if the joint trial will not be prejudicial to the defendant's substantive rights.
SUPERSEDED: N.D.C.C. § 29-11-10.1.