Rule 29.1 Closing Argument

Closing arguments proceed in the following order:

(a) the government argues;

(b) the defense argues; and

(c) the government rebuts.

Notes

(Added Apr. 22, 1974, eff. Dec. 1, 1975; amended Apr. 29, 2002, eff. Dec. 1, 2002.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1974

This rule is designed to control the order of closing argument. It reflects the Advisory Committee's view that it is desirable to have a uniform federal practice. The rule is drafted in the view that fair and effective administration of justice is best served if the defendant knows the arguments actually made by the prosecution in behalf of conviction before the defendant is faced with the decision whether to reply and what to reply.

Notes of Committee on the Judiciary, House Report No. 94–247; 1975 Amendment

A. Amendments Proposed by the Supreme Court, Rule 29.1 is a new rule that was added to regulate closing arguments. It prescribes that the government shall make its closing argument and then the defendant shall make his. After the defendant has argued, the government is entitled to reply in rebuttal.

B. Committee Action. The Committee endorses and adopts this proposed rule in its entirety. The Committee believes that as the Advisory Committee Note has stated, fair and effective administration of justice is best served if the defendant knows the arguments actually made by the prosecution in behalf of conviction before the defendant is faced with the decision whether to reply and what to reply. Rule 29.1 does not specifically address itself to what happens if the prosecution waives its initial closing argument. The Committee is of the view that the prosecutor, when he waives his initial closing argument, also waives his rebuttal. [See the remarks of Senior United States Circuit Judge J. Edward Lumbard in Hearings II, at 207.]

Committee Notes on Rules—2002 Amendment

The language of Rule 29.1 has been amended as part of the general restyling of the Criminal Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only.

Effective Date

This rule effective Dec. 1, 1975, see section 2 of Pub. L. 94–64, set out as a note under rule 4 of these rules.

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