(a) Pleadings. The pleadings in a criminal proceeding are the indictment, the information, and the pleas of not guilty, guilty, and nolo contendere.
(b) Pretrial Motions.
(1) 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.
(A) 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 Rule 14 motion to sever severance of charges or defendants; and
a Rule 16 motion for discovery.
(4) Notice of the Government's Intent to Use Evidence.
(A) 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 12(b)(3)(C).
(B) 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 12(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 16.
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.
(d) 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 12(b)(3) defense, objection, or request not raised by the deadline the court sets under Rule 12(c) or by any extension the court provides. For good cause, the court may grant relief from the waiver.
(f) 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.
(g) 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.
(h) Producing Statements at a Suppression Hearing. Rule 26.2 applies at a suppression hearing under Rule 12(b)(3)(C). At a suppression hearing, a law enforcement officer is considered a government witness.
(As amended Apr. 22, 1974, eff. Dec. 1, 1975; Pub. L. 94–64, §3(11), (12), July 31, 1975, 89 Stat. 372; Apr. 28, 1983, eff. Aug. 1, 1983; Mar. 9, 1987, eff. Aug. 1, 1987; Apr. 22, 1993, eff. Dec. 1, 1993; Apr. 29, 2002, eff. Dec. 1, 2002; Apr. 25, 2014, eff. Dec. 1, 2014.)
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1944
Note to Subdivision (a). 1. This rule abolishes pleas to the jurisdiction, pleas in abatement, demurrers, special pleas in bar, and motions to quash. A motion to dismiss or for other appropriate relief is substituted for the purpose of raising all defenses and objections heretofore interposed in any of the foregoing modes. “This should result in a reduction of opportunities for dilatory tactics and, at the same time, relieve the defense of embarrassment. Many competent practitioners have been baffled and mystified by the distinctions between pleas in abatement, pleas in bar, demurrers, and motions to quash, and have, at times, found difficulty in determining which of these should be invoked.” Homer Cummings, 29 A.B.A.Jour. 655. See also, Medalie, 4 Lawyers Guild R. (3)1, 4.
2. A similar change was introduced by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 7(a)) which has proven successful. It is also proposed by the A.L.I. Code of Criminal Procedure (Sec. 209).
Note to Subdivision (b)(1) and (2). These two paragraphs classify into two groups all objections and defenses to be interposed by motion prescribed by Rule 12(a). In one group are defenses and objections which must be raised by motion, failure to do so constituting a waiver. In the other group are defenses and objections which at the defendant's option may be raised by motion, failure to do so, however, not constituting a waiver. (Cf. Rule 12 of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [28 U.S.C., Appendix].)
In the first of these groups are included all defenses and objections that are based on defects in the institution of the prosecution or in the indictment and information, other than lack of jurisdiction or failure to charge an offense. All such defenses and objections must be included in a single motion. (Cf. Rule 12(g) of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [28 U.S.C., Appendix].) Among the defenses and objections in this group are the following: Illegal selection or organization of the grand jury, disqualification of individual grand jurors, presence of unauthorized persons in the grand jury room, other irregularities in grand jury proceedings, defects in indictment or information other than lack of jurisdiction or failure to state an offense, etc. The provision that these defenses and objections are waived if not raised by motion substantially continues existing law, as they are waived at present unless raised before trial by plea in abatement, demurrer, motion to quash, etc.
In the other group of objections and defenses, which the defendant at his option may raise by motion before trial, are included all defenses and objections which are capable of determination without a trial of the general issue. They include such matters as former jeopardy, former conviction, former acquittal, statute of limitations, immunity, lack of jurisdiction, failure of indictment or information to state an offense, etc. Such matters have been heretofore raised by demurrers, special pleas in bar and motions to quash.
Note to Subdivision (b)(3). This rule, while requiring the motion to be made before pleading, vests discretionary authority in the court to permit the motion to be made within a reasonable time thereafter. The rule supersedes 18 U.S.C. 556a [now 3288, 3289], fixing a definite limitation of time for pleas in abatement and motions to quash. The rule also eliminates the requirement for technical withdrawal of a plea if it is desired to interpose a preliminary objection or defense after the plea has been entered. Under this rule a plea will be permitted to stand in the meantime.
Note to Subdivision (b)(4). This rule substantially restates existing law. It leaves with the court discretion to determine in advance of trial defenses and objections raised by motion or to defer them for determination at the trial. It preserves the right to jury trial in those cases in which the right is given under the Constitution or by statute. In all other cases it vests in the court authority to determine issues of fact in such manner as the court deems appropriate.
Note to Subdivision (b)(5). 1. The first sentence substantially restates existing law, 18 U.S.C. [former] 561 (Indictments and presentments; judgment on demurrer), which provides that in case a demurrer to an indictment or information is overruled, the judgment shall be respondeat ouster.
2. The last sentence of the rule that “Nothing in this rule shall be deemed to affect the provisions of any act of Congress relating to periods of limitations” is intended to preserve the provisions of statutes which permit a reindictment if the original indictment is found defective or is dismissed for other irregularities and the statute of limitations has run in the meantime, 18 U.S.C. 587 [now 3288] (Defective indictment; defect found after period of limitations; reindictment); Id. sec. 588 [now 3289] (Defective indictment; defect found before period of limitations; reindictment); Id. sec. 589 [now 3288, 3289] (Defective indictment; defense of limitations to new indictment); Id. sec. 556a [now 3288, 3289] (Indictments and presentments; objections to drawing or qualification of grand jury; time for filing; suspension of statute of limitations).
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1974 Amendment
Subdivision (a) remains as it was in the old rule. It “speaks only of defenses and objections that prior to the rules could have been raised by a plea, demurrer, or motion to quash” (C. Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure: Criminal §191 at p. 397 (1969)), and this might be interpreted as limiting the scope of the rule. However, some courts have assumed that old rule 12 does apply to pretrial motions generally, and the amendments to subsequent subdivisions of the rule should make clear that the rule is applicable to pretrial motion practice generally. (See e.g., rule 12(b)(3), (4), (5) and rule 41(e).)
Subdivision (b) is changed to provide for some additional motions and requests which must be made prior to trial. Subdivisions (b)(1) and (2) are restatements of the old rule.
Subdivision (b)(3) makes clear that objections to evidence on the ground that it was illegally obtained must be raised prior to trial. This is the current rule with regard to evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search. See rule 41(e); C. Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure: Criminal §673 (1969, Supp. 1971). It is also the practice with regard to other forms of illegality such as the use of unconstitutional means to obtain a confession. See C. Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure: Criminal §673 at p. 108 (1969). It seems apparent that the same principle should apply whatever the claimed basis for the application of the exclusionary rule of evidence may be. This is consistent with the court's statement in Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 264, 80 S.Ct. 725, 4 L.Ed.2d 697 (1960):
This provision of Rule 41(e), requiring the motion to suppress to be made before trial, is a crystallization of decisions of this Court requiring that procedure, and is designed to eliminate from the trial disputes over police conduct not immediately relevant to the question of guilt. (Emphasis added.)
Subdivision (b)(4) provides for a pretrial request for discovery by either the defendant or the government to the extent to which such discovery is authorized by rule 16.
Subdivision (b)(5) provides for a pretrial request for a severance as authorized in rule 14.
Subdivision (c) provides that a time for the making of motions shall be fixed at the time of the arraignment or as soon thereafter as practicable by court rule or direction of a judge. The rule leaves to the individual judge whether the motions may be oral or written. This and other amendments to rule 12 are designed to make possible and to encourage the making of motions prior to trial, whenever possible, and in a single hearing rather than in a series of hearings. This is the recommendation of the American Bar Association's Committee on Standards Relating to Discovery and Procedure Before Trial (Approved Draft, 1970); see especially §§5.2 and 5.3. It also is the procedure followed in those jurisdictions which have used the so-called “omnibus hearing” originated by Judge James Carter in the Southern District of California. See 4 Defender Newsletter 44 (1967); Miller, The Omnibus Hearing—An Experiment in Federal Criminal Discovery, 5 San Diego L.Rev. 293 (1968); American Bar Association, Standards Relating to Discovery and Procedure Before Trial, Appendices B, C, and D (Approved Draft, 1970). The omnibus hearing is also being used, on an experimental basis, in several other district courts. Although the Advisory Committee is of the view that it would be premature to write the omnibus hearing procedure into the rules, it is of the view that the single pretrial hearing should be made possible and its use encouraged by the rules.
There is a similar trend in state practice. See, e.g., State ex rel. Goodchild v. Burke, 27 Wis.2d 244, 133 N.W.2d 753 (1965); State ex rel. Rasmussen v. Tahash, 272 Minn. 539, 141 N.W.2d 3 (1965).
The rule provides that the motion date be set at “the arraignment or as soon thereafter as practicable.” This is the practice in some federal courts including those using the omnibus hearing. (In order to obtain the advantage of the omnibus hearing, counsel routinely plead not guilty at the initial arraignment on the information or indictment and then may indicate a desire to change the plea to guilty following the omnibus hearing. This practice builds a more adequate record in guilty plea cases.) The rule further provides that the date may be set before the arraignment if local rules of court so provide.
Subdivision (d) provides a mechanism for insuring that a defendant knows of the government's intention to use evidence to which the defendant may want to object. On some occasions the resolution of the admissibility issue prior to trial may be advantageous to the government. In these situations the attorney for the government can make effective defendant's obligation to make his motion to suppress prior to trial by giving defendant notice of the government's intention to use certain evidence. For example, in United States v. Desist, 384 F.2d 889, 897 (2d Cir. 1967), the court said:
Early in the pre-trial proceedings, the Government commendably informed both the court and defense counsel that an electronic listening device had been used in investigating the case, and suggested a hearing be held as to its legality.
See also the “Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968,” 18 U.S.C. §2518(9):
The contents of any intercepted wire or oral communication or evidence derived therefrom shall not be received in evidence or otherwise disclosed in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in a Federal or State court unless each party, not less than ten days before the trial, hearing, or proceeding, has been furnished with a copy of the court order, and accompanying application, under which the interception was authorized or approved.
In cases in which defendant wishes to know what types of evidence the government intends to use so that he can make his motion to suppress prior to trial, he can request the government to give notice of its intention to use specified evidence which the defendant is entitled to discover under rule 16. Although the defendant is already entitled to discovery of such evidence prior to trial under rule 16, rule 12 makes it possible for him to avoid the necessity of moving to suppress evidence which the government does not intend to use. No sanction is provided for the government's failure to comply with the court's order because the committee believes that attorneys for the government will in fact comply and that judges have ways of insuring compliance. An automatic exclusion of such evidence, particularly where the failure to give notice was not deliberate, seems to create too heavy a burden upon the exclusionary rule of evidence, especially when defendant has opportunity for broad discovery under rule 16. Compare ABA Project on Standards for Criminal Justice, Standards Relating to Electronic Surveillance (Approved Draft, 1971) at p. 116:
A failure to comply with the duty of giving notice could lead to the suppression of evidence. Nevertheless, the standards make it explicit that the rule is intended to be a matter of procedure which need not under appropriate circumstances automatically dictate that evidence otherwise admissible be suppressed.
Pretrial notice by the prosecution of its intention to use evidence which may be subject to a motion to suppress is increasingly being encouraged in state practice. See, e.g., State ex rel. Goodchild v. Burke, 27 Wis.2d 244, 264, 133 N.W.2d 753, 763 (1965):
In the interest of better administration of criminal justice we suggest that wherever practicable the prosecutor should within a reasonable time before trial notify the defense as to whether any alleged confession or admission will be offered in evidence at the trial. We also suggest, in cases where such notice is given by the prosecution, that the defense, if it intends to attack the confession or admission as involuntary, notify the prosecutor of a desire by the defense for a special determination on such issue.
See also State ex rel. Rasmussen v. Tahash, 272 Minn. 539, 553–556, 141 N.W.2d 3, 13–15 (1965):
At the time of arraignment when a defendant pleads not guilty, or as soon as possible thereafter, the state will advise the court as to whether its case against the defendant will include evidence obtained as the result of a search and seizure; evidence discovered because of a confession or statements in the nature of a confession obtained from the defendant; or confessions or statements in the nature of confessions.
Upon being so informed, the court will formally advise the attorney for the defendant (or the defendant himself if he refuses legal counsel) that he may, if he chooses, move the court to suppress the evidence so secured or the confession so obtained if his contention is that such evidence was secured or confession obtained in violation of defendant's constitutional rights. * * *
The procedure which we have outlined deals only with evidence obtained as the result of a search and seizure and evidence consisting of or produced by confession on the part of the defendant. However, the steps which have been suggested as a method of dealing with evidence of this type will indicate to counsel and to the trial courts that the pretrial consideration of other evidentiary problems, the resolution of which is needed to assure the integrity of the trial when conducted, will be most useful and that this court encourages the use of such procedures whenever practical.
Subdivision (e) provides that the court shall rule on a pretrial motion before trial unless the court orders that it be decided upon at the trial of the general issue or after verdict. This is the old rule. The reference to issues which must be tried by the jury is dropped as unnecessary, without any intention of changing current law or practice. The old rule begs the question of when a jury decision is required at the trial, providing only that a jury is necessary if “required by the Constitution or an act of Congress.” It will be observed that subdivision (e) confers general authority to defer the determination of any pretrial motion until after verdict. However, in the case of a motion to suppress evidence the power should be exercised in the light of the possibility that if the motion is ultimately granted a retrial of the defendant may not be permissible.
Subdivision (f) provides that a failure to raise the objections or make the requests specified in subdivision (b) constitutes a waiver thereof, but the court is allowed to grant relief from the waiver if adequate cause is shown. See C. Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure: Criminal §192 (1969), where it is pointed out that the old rule is unclear as to whether the waiver results only from a failure to raise the issue prior to trial or from the failure to do so at the time fixed by the judge for a hearing. The amendment makes clear that the defendant and, where appropriate, the government have an obligation to raise the issue at the motion date set by the judge pursuant to subdivision (c).
Subdivision (g) requires that a verbatim record be made of pretrial motion proceedings and requires the judge to make a record of his findings of fact and conclusions of law. This is desirable if pretrial rulings are to be subject to post-conviction review on the record. The judge may find and rule orally from the bench, so long as a verbatim record is taken. There is no necessity of a separate written memorandum containing the judge's findings and conclusions.
Subdivision (h) is essentially old rule 12(b)(5) except for the deletion of the provision that defendant may plead if the motion is determined adversely to him or, if he has already entered a plea, that that plea stands. This language seems unnecessary particularly in light of the experience in some district courts where a pro forma plea of not guilty is entered at the arraignment, pretrial motions are later made, and depending upon the outcome the defendant may then change his plea to guilty or persist in his plea of not guilty.
Notes of Committee on the Judiciary, House Report No. 94–247; 1975 Amendment
A. Amendments Proposed by the Supreme Court. Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure deals with pretrial motions and pleadings. The Supreme Court proposed several amendments to it. The more significant of these are set out below.
Subdivision (b) as proposed to be amended provides that the pretrial motions may be oral or written, at the court's discretion. It also provides that certain types of motions must be made before trial.
Subdivision (d) as proposed to be amended provides that the government, either on its own or in response to a request by the defendant, must notify the defendant of its intention to use certain evidence in order to give the defendant an opportunity before trial to move to suppress that evidence.
Subdivision (e) as proposed to be amended permits the court to defer ruling on a pretrial motion until the trial of the general issue or until after verdict.
Subdivision (f) as proposed to be amended provides that the failure before trial to file motions or requests or to raise defenses which must be filed or raised prior to trial, results in a waiver. However, it also provides that the court, for cause shown, may grant relief from the waiver.
Subdivision (g) as proposed to be amended requires that a verbatim record be made of the pretrial motion proceedings and that the judge make a record of his findings of fact and conclusions of law.
B. Committee Action. The Committee modified subdivision (e) to permit the court to defer its ruling on a pretrial motion until after the trial only for good cause. Moreover, the court cannot defer its ruling if to do so will adversely affect a party's right to appeal. The Committee believes that the rule proposed by the Supreme Court could deprive the government of its appeal rights under statutes like section 3731 of title 18 of the United States Code. Further, the Committee hopes to discourage the tendency to reserve rulings on pretrial motions until after verdict in the hope that the jury's verdict will make a ruling unnecessary.
The Committee also modified subdivision (h), which deals with what happens when the court grants a pretrial motion based upon a defect in the institution of the prosecution or in the indictment or information. The Committee's change provides that when such a motion is granted, the court may order that the defendant be continued in custody or that his bail be continued for a specified time. A defendant should not automatically be continued in custody when such a motion is granted. In order to continue the defendant in custody, the court must not only determine that there is probable cause, but it must also determine, in effect, that there is good cause to have the defendant arrested.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1983 Amendment
Note to Subdivision (i). As noted in the recent decision of United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667 (1980), hearings on pretrial suppression motions not infrequently necessitate a determination of the credibility of witnesses. In such a situation, it is particularly important, as also highlighted by Raddatz, that the record include some other evidence which tends to either verify or controvert the assertions of the witness. (This is especially true in light of the Raddatz holding that a district judge, in order to make an independent evaluation of credibility, is not required to rehear testimony on which a magistrate based his findings and recommendations following a suppression hearing before the magistrate.) One kind of evidence which can often fulfill this function is prior statements of the testifying witness, yet courts have consistently held that in light of the Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. §3500, such production of statements cannot be compelled at a pretrial suppression hearing. United States v. Spagnuolo, 515 F.2d 818 (9th Cir. 1975); United States v. Sebastian, 497 F.2d 1267 (2nd Cir. 1974); United States v. Montos, 421 F.2d 215 (5th Cir. 1970). This result, which finds no express Congressional approval in the legislative history of the Jencks Act, see United States v. Sebastian, supra; United States v. Covello, 410 F.2d 536 (2d Cir. 1969), would be obviated by new subdivision (i) of rule 12.
This change will enhance the accuracy of the factual determinations made in the context of pretrial suppression hearings. As noted in United States v. Sebastian, supra, it can be argued
most persuasively that the case for pre-trial disclosure is strongest in the framework of a suppression hearing. Since findings at such a hearing as to admissibility of challenged evidence will often determine the result at trial and, at least in the case of fourth amendment suppression motions, cannot be relitigated later before the trier of fact, pre-trial production of the statements of witnesses would aid defense counsel's impeachment efforts at perhaps the most crucial point in the case. * * * [A] government witness at the suppression hearing may not appear at trial so that defendants could never test his credibility with the benefits of Jencks Act material.
The latter statement is certainly correct, for not infrequently a police officer who must testify on a motion to suppress as to the circumstances of an arrest or search will not be called at trial because he has no information necessary to the determination of defendant's guilt. See, e.g., United States v. Spagnuolo, supra (dissent notes that “under the prosecution's own admission, it did not intend to produce at trial the witnesses called at the pre-trial suppression hearing”). Moreover, even if that person did testify at the trial, if that testimony went to a different subject matter, then under rule 26.2(c) only portions of prior statements covering the same subject matter need be produced, and thus portions which might contradict the suppression hearing testimony would not be revealed. Thus, while it may be true, as declared in United States v. Montos, supra, that “due process does not require premature production at pre-trial hearings on motions to suppress of statements ultimately subject to discovery under the Jencks Act,” the fact of the matter is that those statements—or, the essential portions thereof—are not necessarily subject to later discovery.
Moreover, it is not correct to assume that somehow the problem can be solved by leaving the suppression issue “open” in some fashion for resolution once the trial is under way, at which time the prior statements will be produced. In United States v. Spagnuolo, supra, the court responded to the defendant's dilemma of inaccessible prior statements by saying that the suppression motion could simply be deferred until trial. But, under the current version of rule 12 this is not possible; subdivision (b) declares that motions to suppress “must” be made before trial, and subdivision (e) says such motions cannot be deferred for determination at trial “if a party's right to appeal is adversely affected,” which surely is the case as to suppression motions. As for the possibility of the trial judge reconsidering the motion to suppress on the basis of prior statements produced at trial and casting doubt on the credibility of a suppression hearing witness, it is not a desirable or adequate solution. For one thing, as already noted, there is no assurance that the prior statements will be forthcoming. Even if they are, it is not efficient to delay the continuation of the trial to undertake a reconsideration of matters which could have been resolved in advance of trial had the critical facts then been available. Furthermore, if such reconsideration is regularly to be expected of the trial judge, then this would give rise on appeal to unnecessary issues of the kind which confronted the court in United States v. Montos, supra—whether the trial judge was obligated either to conduct a new hearing or to make a new determination in light of the new evidence.
The second sentence of subdivision (i) provides that a law enforcement officer is to be deemed a witness called by the government. This means that when such a federal, state or local officer has testified at a suppression hearing, the defendant will be entitled to any statement of the officer in the possession of the government and relating to the subject matter concerning which the witness has testified, without regard to whether the officer was in fact called by the government or the defendant. There is considerable variation in local practice as to whether the arresting or searching officer is considered the witness of the defendant or of the government, but the need for the prior statement exists in either instance.
The second sentence of subdivision (i) also provides that upon a claim of privilege the court is to excise the privileged matter before turning over the statement. The situation most likely to arise is that in which the prior statement of the testifying officer identifies an informant who supplied some or all of the probable cause information to the police. Under McCray v. Illinois, 386 U.S. 300 (1967), it is for the judge who hears the motion to decide whether disclosure of the informant's identity is necessary in the particular case. Of course, the government in any case may prevent disclosure of the informant's identity by terminating reliance upon information from that informant.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1987 Amendment
The amendments are technical. No substantive change is intended.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1993 Amendment
The amendment to subdivision (i) is one of a series of contemporaneous amendments to Rules 26.2, 32(f), 32.1, 46, and Rule 8 of the Rules Governing §2255 Hearings, which extended Rule 26.2, Production of Witness Statements, to other proceedings or hearings conducted under the Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 26.2(c) now explicitly states that the trial court may excise privileged matter from the requested witness statements. That change rendered similar language in Rule 12(i) redundant.
Committee Notes on Rules—2002 Amendment
The language of Rule 12 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, except as noted below.
The last sentence of current Rule 12(a), referring to the elimination of “all other pleas, and demurrers and motions to quash” has been deleted as unnecessary.
Rule 12(b) is modified to more clearly indicate that Rule 47 governs any pretrial motions filed under Rule 12, including form and content. The new provision also more clearly delineates those motions that must be filed pretrial and those that may be filed pretrial. No change in practice is intended.
Rule 12(b)(4) is composed of what is currently Rule 12(d). The Committee believed that that provision, which addresses the government's requirement to disclose discoverable information for the purpose of facilitating timely defense objections and motions, was more appropriately associated with the pretrial motions specified in Rule 12(b)(3).
Rule 12(c) includes a non-stylistic change. The reference to the “local rule” exception has been deleted to make it clear that judges should be encouraged to set deadlines for motions. The Committee believed that doing so promotes more efficient case management, especially when there is a heavy docket of pending cases. Although the rule permits some discretion in setting a date for motion hearings, the Committee believed that doing so at an early point in the proceedings would also promote judicial economy.
Moving the language in current Rule 12(d) caused the relettering of the subdivisions following Rule 12(c).
Although amended Rule 12(e) is a revised version of current Rule 12(f), the Committee intends to make no change in the current law regarding waivers of motions or defenses.
Committee Notes on Rules - 2014 Amendment
Rule 12(b)(1). The language formerly in (b)(2), which provided that "any defense, objection, or request that the court can determine without trial of the general issue" may be raised by motion before trial, has been relocated here. The more modem phrase "trial on the merits" is substituted for the more archaic phrase "trial of the general issue." No change in meaning is intended.
Rule 12(b )(2). As revised, subdivision (b )(2) states that lack ofjurisdiction may be raised at any time the case is pending. This provision was relocated from its previous placement at the end of subsection (b)(3)(B) and restyled. No change in meaning is intended.
Rule 12(b )(3). The amendment clarifies which motions must be raised before trial.
The introductory language includes two important limitations. The basis for the motion must be one that is "reasonably available" and the motion must be one that the court can determine "without trial on the merits." The types of claims subject to Rule 12(b)(3) generally will be available before trial and they can -and should -be resolved then. The Committee recognized, however, that in some cases, a party may not have access to the information needed to raise particular claims that fall within the general categories subject to Rule 12(b)(3) prior to trial. The "then reasonably available" language is intended to ensure that a claim a party could not have raised on time is not subject to the limitation on review imposed by Rule 12(c)(3). Additionally, only those issues that can be determined "without a trial on the merits" need be raised by motion before trial. Just as in (b)(1), the more modem phrase "trial on the merits" is substituted for the more archaic phrase "trial of the general issue." No change in meaning is intended.
The rule's command that motions alleging "a defect in instituting the prosecution" and "errors in the indictment or information" must be made before trial is unchanged. The amendment adds a nonexclusive list of commonly raised claims under each category to help ensure that such claims are not overlooked. The Rule is not intended to and does not affect or supersede statutory provisions that establish the time to make specific motions, such as motions under the Jury Selection and Service Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1867(a).
Rule 12(b)(3)(B) has also been amended to remove language that allowed the court at any time while the case is pending to hear a claim that the "indictment or information fails ... to state an offense." This specific charging error was previously considered fatal whenever raised and was excluded from the general requirement that charging deficiencies be raised prior to trial. The Supreme Court abandoned any jurisdictional justification for the exception in United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 62931 (2002) (overruling Ex parte Bain, 121 U.S. 1 (1887), "[i]nsofar as it held that a defective indictment deprives a court ofjurisdiction").
Rule 12(c). As revised, subdivision (c) governs both the deadline for making pretrial motions and the consequences of failing to meet the deadline for motions that must be made before trial under Rule 12(b)(3).
As amended, subdivision (c) contains three paragraphs. Paragraph (c)(1) retains the existing
·provisions for establishing the time when pretrial motions must be made, and adds a sentence stating that unless the court sets a deadline, the deadline for pretrial motions is the start of trial, so that motions may be ruled upon before jeopardy attaches. Subdivision ( e) of the present rule contains the language "or by any extension the court provides," which anticipates that a district court has broad discretion to extend, reset, or decline to extend or reset, the deadline for pretrial motions. New paragraph (c)(2) recognizes this discretion explicitly and relocates the Rule's mention of it to a more logical place -after the provision concerning setting the deadline and before the provision concerning the consequences of not meeting the deadline. No change in meaning is intended.
New paragraph (c)(3) governs the review of untimely claims, previously addressed in Rule 12(e). Rule 12(e) provided that a party "waives" a defense not raised within the time set under Rule 12(c). Although the term waiver in the context of a criminal case ordinarily refers to the intentional relinquishment of a known right, Rule 12( e) has never required any determination that a party who failed to make a timely motion intended to relinquish a defense, objection, or request that was not raised in a timely fashion. Accordingly, to avoid possible confusion the Committee decided not to employ the term "waiver" in new paragraph (c)(3).
The standard for review of untimely claims under new paragraph 12( c )(3) depends on the nature of the defense, objection, or request. The general standard for claims that must be raised before trial under Rule 12(b)(3) is stated in (c)(3)(A), which -like the present rule requires that the party seeking relief show "good cause" for failure to raise a claim by the deadline. The Supreme Court and lower federal courts have interpreted the "good cause" standard under Rule 12(e) to require both (1) "cause" for the failure to raise the claim on time, and (2) "prejudice" resulting from the error. Davis v. United States, 411 U.S. 233, 242 (1973); Shotwell MIg. Co. v. United States, 371 U.S. 341, 363 (1963).
New subparagraph (c)(3)(B) provides a different standard for one specific claim: the failure of the charging document to state an offense. The Committee concluded that judicial review of these claims, which go to adequacy of the notice afforded to the defendant, and the power to bring a defendant to trial or to impose punishment, should be available without a showing of "good cause." Rather, review should be available whenever a defendant shows prejudice from the failure to state a claim. Accordingly, subparagraph (c)(3)(B) provides that the court can consider these claims if the party "shows prejudice." Unlike plain error review under Rule 52(b), the standard under Rule (12)(c)(3)(B) does not require a showing that the error was "plain" or that the error "seriously affects the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings." Nevertheless, it will not always be possible for a defendant to make the required showing of prejudice. For example, in some cases in which the charging document omitted an element of the offense, the defendant may have admitted the element as part of a guilty plea after having been afforded timely notice by other means.
Rule 12(e). The effect of failure to raise issues by a pretrial motion has been relocated from (e) to (c)(3).
Changes Made After Publication and Comment
Language that had been deleted from Rule 12(b)(2) as unnecessary was restored and relocated in (b)(1). The change begins the Rule's treatment of pretrial motions with an appropriate general statement and responds to concerns that the deletion might have been perceived as unintentionally restricting the district courts' authority to rule on pretrial motions. The references to "double jeopardy" and "statute of limitations" were dropped from the nonexclusive list in (b)(3)(A) to permit further debate over the treatment of such claims. New paragraph (c)(2) was added to state explicitly the district court's authority to extend or reset the deadline for pretrial motions; this authority had been recognized implicitly in language being deleted from Rule 12(e). In subdivision (c), the cross reference to Rule 52 was omitted as unnecessarily controversial. In subparagraph (c )(3)(A), the current language "good cause" was retained. In subparagraph (c )(3)(B), the reference to "double jeopardy" was omitted to mirror the omission from (b)(3)(A), and the word "only" was deleted from the phrase "prejudice only" because it was superfluous. Finally, the Committee Note was amended to reflect these post-publication changes and to state explicitly that the rule is not intended to change or supersede statutory deadlines under provisions such as the Jury Selection and Service Act.
Amendment by Public Law
1975 —Pub. L. 94–64 amended subds. (e) and (h) generally.
Effective Date of Amendments Proposed April 22, 1974; Effective Date of 1975 Amendments
Amendments of this rule embraced in the order of the United States Supreme Court on Apr. 22, 1974, and the amendments of this rule made by section 3 of Pub. L. 94–64, effective Dec. 1, 1975, see section 2 of Pub. L. 94–64, set out as a note under rule 4 of these rules.