FEDERAL RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
In General. These rules govern the procedure in all criminal proceedings in the district courts, the courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States. This guide is fairly lengthy and very detailed in its description of the rules governing federal criminal law particularly as applied to the courts in New York. As such, it is written for those who wish to take a good deal of time to review the federal criminal system in addition to those looking for a qualified federal criminal defense attorney. The other articles on our site are perhaps more user friendly for those who want a quick overview of what to expect when facing a federal government investigation or arrest and federal prosecution by the FBI, CIA, ICE, U.S. Marshalls, DEA, ATF, DOJ or S.S.
(4) Removed Proceedings. Although these rules govern all proceedings after removal from a state court, state law governs a dismissal by the prosecution.
(5) Excluded Proceedings. Proceedings not governed by these rules include:
(A) the extradition and rendition of a fugitive:
(B) a civil property forfeiture for violating a federal statute;
(C) the collection of a fine or penalty;
(D) a proceeding under a statute governing juvenile delinquency to the extent the procedure is inconsistent with the statute, unless Rule 20 (D) provides otherwise;
(E) a dispute between seamen under 22 U.S.C. sec. 256-258; and
(F) a proceeding against a witness in a foreign country under 28 U.S.C. sec 1784
Rule 3. The Complaint
The complaint is a written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged. It must be made under oath before a magistrate judge or, if none is reasonably available, before a state or local judicial officer.
• If the complaint sets forth probable cause or one or more affidavits set forth probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed by the defendant, the judge will issue a warrant to an officer authorized to execute it.
• A judge can issue a warrant if a defendant fails to appear for a summons on the complaint.
A warrant must:
(A) contain the defendant’s name or, if it is unknown, a name or description by which the defendant can be identified with reasonable certainty;
(B) describe the offense charged in the complaint;
(C) command that the defendant be arrested and brought without unnecessary delay before a magistrate judge or, if none is reasonably available, before a state or local judicial officer; and
(D) be signed by a judge.
A summons must be in the same form as a warrant except that it must require the defendant to appear before a magistrate judge at a stated time and place.
(1) By Whom. Only a marshal or other authorized officer may execute a warrant. Any person authorized to serve a summons in a federal civil action may serve a summons.
(2) Location. A warrant may be executed, or a summons served, within the jurisdiction of the or anywhere else a federal statute authorizes an arrest.
(A) A warrant is executed by arresting the defendant. Upon arrest, an officer possessing the warrant must show it to the defendant. If the officer does not possess the warrant, the officer must inform the defendant of the warrant’s existence and of the offense charged and, at the defendant’s request, must show the warrant to the defendant as soon as possible.
(B) A summons is served on an individual defendant:
(i) by delivering a copy to the defendant personally; or
(ii) by leaving a copy at the defendant’s residence or usual place of abode with a person of suitable age and discretion residing at that location and by mailing a copy to the defendant’s last known address.
(C) A summons is served on an organization by delivering a copy to an officer, to a managing or general agent or to another agent appointed or legally authorized to receive service of process. A copy must also be mailed to the organization’s last known address within the district or to its principal place of business elsewhere in the United States.
(A) After executing a warrant, the officer must return it to the judge before whom the defendant is brought. At the request of an attorney for the government, an unexecuted warrant must be brought back to and canceled by a magistrate judge or, if none is reasonably available, by a state or local judicial officer.
(B) The person to whom a summons was delivered for service must return it on or before the return day.
(C) At the request of an attorney for the government, a judge may deliver an unexecuted warrant, an un-served summons, or a copy of the warrant or summons to the marshal or other authorized person for execution or service.
Rule 5. Initial Appearance
Appearance Upon an Arrest.
(A) A person making an arrest within the must take the defendant without unnecessary delay before a magistrate judge, or before a state or local judicial officer as Rule 5(c) provides, unless a statute provides otherwise.
(B) A person making an arrest outside the must take the defendant without unnecessary delay before a magistrate judge, unless a statute provides otherwise.
(3) Appearance Upon a Summons. When a defendant appears in response to a summons under Rule 4, a magistrate judge must proceed under Rule 5(d) or (e), as applicable.
(b) Arrest Without a Warrant. If a defendant is arrested without a warrant, a complaint meeting Rule 4(a)’s requirement of probable cause must be promptly filed in the district where the offense was allegedly committed.
(c) Place of Initial Appearance; Transfer to Another District
(1) Arrest in the District Where the Offense Was Allegedly Committed. If the defendant is arrested in the district where the offense was allegedly committed:
(A) the initial appearance must be in that district; and
(B) if a magistrate judge is not reasonably available, the initial appearance may be before a state or local judicial officer.
(2) Arrest in a District Other Than Where the Offense Was Allegedly Committed. If the defendant was arrested in a district other than where the offense was allegedly committed, the initial appearance must be:
(A) in the district of arrest; or
(B) in an adjacent district if: (i) the appearance can occur more promptly there; or
(ii) the offense was allegedly committed there and the initial appearance will occur on the day of arrest.
(3) Procedures in a District Other Than Where the Offense Was Allegedly Committed. If the initial appearance occurs in a district other than where the offense was allegedly committed, the following procedures apply:
(A) the magistrate judge must inform the defendant about the provisions of Rule 20;
(B) if the defendant was arrested without a warrant, the district court where the offense was allegedly committed must first issue a warrant before the magistrate judge transfers the defendant to that district.
(C) the magistrate judge must conduct a preliminary hearing if required by Rule 5.1;
(D) the magistrate judge must transfer the defendant to the district where the offense was allegedly committed if;
(i) the government produces the warrant, a certified copy of the warrant, or a reliable electronic form of either; and
(ii) the judge finds that the defendant is the same person named in the indictment, information, or warrant; and
(E) when a defendant is transferred and discharged, the clerk must promptly transmit the papers and any bail to the clerk in the district where the offense was allegedly committed.
(d) Procedure in a Felony Case.
(1) Advice. If the defendant is charged with a felony, the judge must inform the defendant of the following:
(A) the complaint against the defendant, and any affidavit filed with it;
(B) the defendant’s right to retain counsel or to request that counsel be appointed if the defendant cannot obtain counsel;
(C) the circumstances, if any, under which the defendant may secure pretrial release;
(D) any right to a preliminary hearing; and
(E) the defendant’s right not to make a statement, and that any statement made may be used against the defendant.
(2) Consulting with Counsel. The judge must allow the defendant reasonable opportunity to consult with counsel.
(3) Detention or Release. The judge must detain or release the defendant as provided by statute or these rules.
(4) Plea. A defendant may be asked to plead only under Rule 10.
(e) Procedure in a Misdemeanor Case. If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor only, the judge must inform the defendant in accordance with Rule 58(b)(2).
(f) Video Teleconferencing. Video teleconferencing may be used to conduct an appearance under this rule if the defendant consents.
Rule 5.1. Preliminary Hearing
(a) In general. If a defendant is charged with an offense other than a petty offense, a magistrate judge must conduct a preliminary hearing unless:
(1) the defendant waives the hearing;
(2) the defendant is indicted;
(3) the government files an information under Rule 7(b) charging the defendant with a felony;
(4) the government files an information charging the defendant with a misdemeanor; or
(5) the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor and consents to trial before a magistrate judge.
(b) Selecting a District. A defendant arrested in a district other than where the offense was allegedly committed may elect to have the preliminary hearing conducted in the district where the prosecution is pending.
(c) Scheduling. The magistrate judge must hold the preliminary hearing within a reasonable time, but no later than 10 days after the initial appearance if the defendant is in custody and no later than 20 days if not in custody.
(d) Extending the Time. With the defendant’s consent and upon a showing of good cause–taking into account the public interest in the prompt disposition of criminal cases–a magistrate judge may extend the time limits in Rule 5.1(c) one or more times. If the defendant does not consent, the magistrate judge may extend the time limits only on a showing that extraordinary circumstances exist and justice requires the delay.
(e) Hearing and Finding. At the preliminary hearing, the defendant may cross-examine adverse witnesses and may introduce evidence but may not object to evidence on the ground that it was unlawfully acquired. If the magistrate judge finds probable cause to believe an offense has been committed and the defendant committed it, the magistrate judge must promptly require the defendant to appear for further proceedings.
(f) Discharging the Defendant. If the magistrate judge finds no probable cause to believe an offense has been committed or the defendant committed it, the magistrate judge must dismiss the complaint and discharge the defendant. A discharge does not preclude the government from later prosecuting the defendant for the same offense.
(g) Recording the Proceedings. The preliminary hearing must be recorded by a court reporter or by a suitable recording device. A recording of the proceeding may be made available to any party upon request. A copy of the recording and a transcript may be provided to any party upon request and upon any payment required by applicable Judicial Conference regulations.
(h) Producing a Statement.
(1) In General. Rule 26.2(a)-(d) and (f) applies at any hearing under this rule, unless the magistrate judge for good cause rules otherwise in a particular case.
(2) Sanctions for Not Producing a Statement. If a party disobeys a Rule 26.2 order to deliver a statement to the moving party, the magistrate judge must not consider the testimony of a witness whose statement is withheld.
III. THE GRAND JURY, THE INDICTMENT, AND THE INFORMATION
Rule 6. The Grand Jury
(a) Summoning a Grand Jury.
(1) In General. When the public interest so requires, the court must order that one or more grand juries be summoned. A grand jury must have 16 to 23 members, and the court must order that enough legally qualified persons be summoned to meet this requirement.
(2) Alternate Jurors. When a grand jury is selected, the court may also select alternate jurors. Alternate jurors must have the same qualifications and be selected in the same manner as any other juror. Alternate jurors replace jurors in the same sequence in which the alternates were selected. An alternate juror who replaces a juror is subject to the same challenges, takes the same oath, and has the same authority as the other jurors.
(b) Objection to the Grand Jury or to a Grand Juror.
(1) Challenges. Either the government or a defendant may challenge the grand jury on the ground that it was not lawfully drawn, summoned, or selected, and may challenge an individual juror on the ground that the juror is not legally qualified.
(2) Motion to Dismiss an Indictment. A party may move to dismiss the indictment based on an objection to the grand jury or on an individual juror’s lack of legal qualification, unless the court has previously ruled on the same objection under Rule 6(b)(1). The motion to dismiss is governed by 28 U.S.C. sec. 1867(e). The court must not dismiss the indictment on the ground that a grand juror was not legally qualified if the record shows that at least 12 qualified jurors concurred in the indictment.
(c) Foreperson and Deputy Foreperson. The court will appoint one juror as the foreperson and another as the deputy foreperson. In the foreperson’s absence, the deputy foreperson will act as the foreperson. The foreperson may administer oaths and affirmations and will sign all indictments. The foreperson–or another juror designated by the foreperson–will record the number of jurors concurring in every indictment and will file the record with the clerk, but the record may not be made public unless the court so orders.
(d) Who May Be Present.
(1) While Grand Jury is in Session. The following persons may be present while the grand jury is in session: attorneys for the government, the witness being questioned, interpreters when needed, and a court reporter or an operator of a recording device.
(2) During Deliberations and Voting. No person other than the jurors, and any interpreter needed to assist a hearing-impaired or speech-impaired juror, may be present while the grand jury is deliberating or voting.
(e) Recording and Disclosing the Proceedings.
(1) Recording the Proceedings. Except while the grand jury is deliberating or voting, all proceedings must be recorded by a court reporter or by a suitable recording device. But the validity of a prosecution is not affected by the unintentional failure to make a recording. Unless the court orders otherwise, an attorney for the government will retain control of the recording, the reporter’s notes, and any transcript prepared from those notes.
(A) No obligation of secrecy may be imposed on any person except in accordance with Rule 6(e)(2)(B).
(B) Unless these rules provide otherwise, the following persons must not disclose a matter occurring before the grand jury;
(i) a grand juror;
(ii) an interpreter;
(iii) a court reporter;
(Iv) an operator of a recording device;
(v) a person who transcribes recorded testimony;
(vi) an attorney for the government; or
(vii) a person to whom disclosure is made under Rule 6(e)(3)(A)(ii) or (iii).
(f) Inadmissibility of Withdrawn Intention. Evidence of an intention to rely on an alibi defense, later withdrawn, or of a statement made in connection with that intention, is not, in any civil or criminal proceeding, admissible against the person who gave notice of the intention.
Rule 12.2. Notice of an Insanity Defense; Mental Examination
(a) Notice of an Insanity Defense. A defendant who intends to assert a defense of insanity at the time of the alleged offense must so notify an attorney for the government in writing within the time provided for filing a pretrial motion, or at any later time the court sets, and file a copy of the notice with the clerk. A defendant who fails to do so cannot rely on an insanity defense. The court may, for good cause, allow the defendant to file the notice late, grant additional trial-preparation time, or make other appropriate orders.
(b) Notice of Expert Evidence of a Mental Condition. If a defendant intends to introduce expert evidence relating to a mental disease or defect or any other mental condition of the defendant bearing on either (1) the issue of guilt or (2) the issue of punishment in a capital case, the defendant must–within the time provided for filing a pretrial motion or at any later time the court sets–notify an attorney for the government in writing of this intention and file a copy of the notice with the clerk. The court may, for good cause, allow the defendant to file the notice late, grant the parties additional trial-preparation time, or make other appropriate orders.
(c) Mental Examination.
(1) Authority to Order an Examination; Procedures.
(A) The court may order the defendant to submit to a competency examination under 18 U.S.C. sec. 4241.
(B) If the defendant provides notice under Rule 12.2(a), the court must, upon the government’s motion, order the defendant to be examined under 18 U.S.C. sec. 4242. If the defendant provides notice under Rule 12.2(b) the court may, upon the government’s motion, order the defendant to be examined under procedures ordered by the court.
(2) Disclosing Results and Reports of Capital Sentencing Examination. The results and reports of any examination conducted solely under Rule 12.2(c)(1) after notice under Rule 12.2(b)(2) must be sealed and must not be disclosed to any attorney for the government or the defendant unless the defendant is found guilty of one or more capital crimes and the defendant confirms an intent to offer during sentencing proceedings expert evidence on mental condition.
(3) Disclosing Results and Reports of the Defendant’s Expert Examination. After disclosure under Rule 12.2(c)(2) of the results and reports of the government’s examination, the defendant must disclose to the government the results and reports of any examination on mental condition conducted by the defendant’s expert about which the defendant intends to introduce expert evidence.
(4) Inadmissibility of a Defendant’s Statements. No statement made by a defendant in the course of any examination conducted under this rule (whether conducted with or without the defendant’s consent), no testimony by the expert based on the statement, and no other fruits of the statement may be admitted into evidence against the defendant in any criminal proceeding except on an issue regarding mental condition on which the defendant:
(A) has introduced evidence of incompetency or evidence requiring notice under Rule 12.2(a) or (b)(1), or
(B) has introduced expert evidence in a capital sentencing proceeding requiring notice under Rule 12.2(b)(2).