The E-Book/EPub version of Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures
*This is a digital copy of this book - not a physical copy.
Updated 2022 Edition
The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure are the procedural rules that govern how federal criminal prosecutions are conducted in United States district courts and the general trial courts of the U.S. government. They are the companion to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The admissibility and use of evidence in criminal proceedings (as well as civil) are governed by the separate Federal Rules of Evidence.
The rules are promulgated by the Supreme Court of the United States, pursuant to its statutory authority under the Rules Enabling Act. The Supreme Court must transmit a copy of its rules to the United States Congress no later than May 1st of the year in which they are to go into effect, and the new rule can then become effective no earlier than December 1st of that year.
Congress retains the power to reject the Court's proposed rules or amendments, modify them, or enact rules or amendments itself. Congress has rarely rejected the Court's proposed amendments, though it has frequently passed its own. The rules are initially drafted by an Advisory Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which consists of appointed judges, U.S. Department of Justice representatives, practicing lawyers, and legal scholars.
After public comment, the draft rules are submitted to the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, which in turn submits them to the Judicial Conference, which finally recommends them to the Supreme Court for approval. The explanatory notes of the drafting Advisory Committee are published with the final adopted rules and are frequently used as an authority on their interpretation.
Under the Sumners Courts Act, the U.S. Attorney General was given the responsibility of transmitting amendments to the rules to Congress, though this was amended in 1949 to give that duty to the Chief Justice. The turn-around period for the rules becoming effective was originally one full congressional session. This was amended in 1950 to impose the May 1st deadline, but with a 90-day delay in effectiveness. In 1988, authorization for the Rules was incorporated under the Rules Enabling Act and codified at 28 U.S.C. §§ 2072, 2074.
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