Rule 55. Records
The clerk of the district court must keep records of criminal proceedings in the form prescribed by the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. The clerk must enter in the records every court order or judgment and the date of entry.
(As amended Dec. 27, 1948, eff. Oct. 20, 1949; Feb. 28, 1966, eff. July 1, 1966; Apr. 24, 1972, eff. Oct. 1, 1972; Apr. 28, 1983, eff. Aug. 1, 1983; Apr. 22, 1993, eff. Dec. 1, 1993; Apr. 29, 2002, eff. Dec. 1, 2002.)
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1944
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 79 [28 U.S.C., Appendix], prescribed in detail the books and records to be kept by the clerk in civil cases. Subsequently to the effective date of the civil rules, however, the Act establishing the Administrative Office of the United States Courts became law (Act of August 7, 1939; 53 Stat. 1223; 28 U.S.C. 444 –450 [now 332–333, 456, 601–610]). One of the duties of the Director of that Office is to have charge, under the supervision and direction of the Conference of Senior Circuit Judges, of all administrative matters relating to the offices of the clerks and other clerical and administrative personnel of the courts, 28 U.S.C. 446 [now 604, 609]. In view of this circumstance it seemed best not to prescribe the records to be kept by the clerks of the district courts and by the United States commissioners, in criminal proceedings, but to vest the power to do so in the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts with the approval of the Conference of Senior Circuit Judges.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1948 Amendment
To incorporate nomenclature provided for by Revised Title 28 U.S.C., §331.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1966 Amendment
Rule 37(a)(2) provides that for the purpose of commencing the running of the time for appeal a judgment or order is entered “when it is entered in the criminal docket.” The sentence added here requires that such a docket be kept and that it show the dates on which judgments or orders are entered therein. Cf. Civil Rule 79(a).
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1983 Amendment
The Advisory Committee Note to original Rule 55 observes that, in light of the authority which the Director and Judicial Conference have over the activities of clerks, “it seems best not to prescribe the records to be kept by clerks.” Because of current experimentation with automated record-keeping, this approach is more appropriate than ever before. The amendment will make it possible for the Director to permit use of more sophisticated record-keeping techniques, including those which may obviate the need for a “criminal docket” book. The reference to the Judicial Conference has been stricken as unnecessary. See 28 U.S.C. §604.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1993 Amendment
The Rule is amended to conform to the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990 [P.L. 101–650, Title III, Section 321] which provides that each United States magistrate appointed under section 631 of title 28, United States Code, shall be known as a United States magistrate judge.
Committee Notes on Rules—2002 Amendment
The language of Rule 55 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.