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Rule 12. Pleadings and Pretrial Motions
Pleadings. The pleadings in a criminal proceeding are the indictment, the information, and the pleas of not guilty, guilty, and nolo contendere.
In General. Rule
47 applies to a pretrial motion.
Motions That May Be Made Before Trial. A party may raise by pretrial motion any defense, objection, or request that the court can determine without a trial of the general issue.
Motions That Must Be Made Before Trial. The following must be raised before trial:
a motion alleging a defect in instituting the prosecution;
a motion alleging a defect in the indictment or information—but at any time while the case is pending, the court may hear a claim that the indictment or information fails to invoke the court’s jurisdiction or to state an offense;
a motion to suppress evidence;
14 motion to sever charges or defendants; and
16 motion for discovery.
Notice of the Government’s Intent to Use Evidence.
At the Government’s Discretion. At the arraignment or as soon afterward as practicable, the government may notify the defendant of its intent to use specified evidence at trial in order to afford the defendant an opportunity to object before trial under Rule
At the Defendant’s Request. At the arraignment or as soon afterward as practicable, the defendant may, in order to have an opportunity to move to suppress evidence under Rule
(b)(3)(C), request notice of the government’s intent to use (in its evidence-in-chief at trial) any evidence that the defendant may be entitled to discover under Rule
Motion Deadline. The court may, at the arraignment or as soon afterward as practicable, set a deadline for the parties to make pretrial motions and may also schedule a motion hearing.
Ruling on a Motion. The court must decide every pretrial motion before trial unless it finds good cause to defer a ruling. The court must not defer ruling on a pretrial motion if the deferral will adversely affect a party’s right to appeal. When factual issues are involved in deciding a motion, the court must state its essential findings on the record.
Waiver of a Defense, Objection, or Request. A party waives any Rule
(b)(3) defense, objection, or request not raised by the deadline the court sets under Rule
(c) or by any extension the court provides. For good cause, the court may grant relief from the waiver.
Recording the Proceedings. All proceedings at a motion hearing, including any findings of fact and conclusions of law made orally by the court, must be recorded by a court reporter or a suitable recording device.
Defendant’s Continued Custody or Release Status. If the court grants a motion to dismiss based on a defect in instituting the prosecution, in the indictment, or in the information, it may order the defendant to be released or detained under 18 U.S.C. § 3142 for a specified time until a new indictment or information is filed. This rule does not affect any federal statutory period of limitations.
Producing Statements at a Suppression Hearing. Rule
26.2 applies at a suppression hearing under Rule
(b)(3)(C). At a suppression hearing, a law enforcement officer is considered a government witness.
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