(a) Consent to Transfer. A prosecution may be transferred from the county where the indictment, information, or complaint is pending to the county where the defendant is arrested, held or present if:
(1) the defendant states in writing an intention to plead guilty and to waive trial in the county where the indictment, information, or complaint is pending, consents in writing to the court's disposing of the case in the transferee county and files the statement in the transferee county; and
(2) the prosecuting attorneys for each county approve the transfer in writing.
(b) Clerk's Duties. After receiving the defendant's statement and the required approvals, the clerk of court where the indictment, information, or complaint is pending must electronically transfer the file within the Odyssey system to the clerk of court in the transferee county.
(c) Effect of Not Guilty Plea. If the defendant pleads not guilty after the case has been transferred under Rule 20(a), the clerk of court must electronically transfer the file within the Odyssey system to the court where the prosecution began, and the court must restore the proceeding to its docket. The defendant's statement of intention to plead guilty is not, in any civil or criminal proceeding, admissible against the defendant.
Rule 20 is an adaptation of Fed.R.Crim.P. 20. It permits a defendant, arrested, held, or present in a county other than that in which the indictment, information, or complaint is pending against the defendant, to state in writing that the defendant wishes to plead guilty, to waive trial in the county in which charges against the defendant are pending and to consent to disposition of the case in the county in which the defendant was arrested, is held, or is present, subject to the approval of the prosecuting attorney for each county. This procedure may be used between counties in the state and is not limited to those counties in the same judicial district. The rule benefits the defendant in that it permits a speedy disposition of the defendant's case, if the defendant desires to plead guilty, without the hardship which may be involved in transferring the defendant back to the county in which the defendant was charged. This may be desirable for a defendant who is arrested or surrenders at or near the defendant's residence for a crime committed elsewhere in the state. The benefit to the state is the savings in transportation expenses. The requirement that the prosecuting attorneys of both counties must consent to this action by the defendant provides the necessary safeguards for the state.
Rule 20 was amended, effective March 1, 1990. The amendments are technical in nature and no substantive change is intended.
Rule 20 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.
Subdivision (c) provides that a defendant is not obligated by a request for a transfer under Rule 20(a). If the defendant decides not to plead guilty, the defendant must be tried in the county where the information was originally filed. However, the written statement may not be used against the defendant.
Subdivisions (b) and (c) were amended, effective March 1, 2016, to require electronic transfer of case files.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 29-30, 2015, pages 22-23; January 27-28, 2005, pages 16-17; April 20, 1989, page 4; December 3, 1987, page 15; December 7-8, 1978, pages 14-15; October 12-13, 1978, pages 8-9; October 17-20, 1972, pages 4-5; September 26-27, 1968, pages 8-9; Fed.R.Crim.P. 20.
CONSIDERED: N.D.C.C. §§ 33-12-12, 33-12-13.
CROSS REFERENCES: N.D.R.Crim.P. 32 (Sentencing and Judgment).