Source(As amended Feb. 28, 1966, eff. July 1, 1966; Apr. 24, 1972, eff. Oct. 1, 1972; Apr. 28, 1982, eff. Aug. 1, 1982; Pub. L. 98–473, title II, § 209(a), Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 1986; Mar. 9, 1987, eff. Aug. 1, 1987; May 1, 1990, eff. Dec. 1, 1990; Apr. 22, 1993, eff. Dec. 1, 1993; Apr. 27, 1995, eff. Dec. 1, 1995; Apr. 29, 2002, eff. Dec. 1, 2002; Apr. 12, 2006, eff. Dec. 1, 2006.)
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1944
Note to Subdivision (a). 1. The time within which a prisoner must be brought before a committing magistrate is defined differently in different statutes. The rule supersedes all statutory provisions on this point and fixes a single standard, i.e., “without unnecessary delay”, 18 U.S.C. [former] 593 (Operating illicit distillery; arrest; bail); sec. [former] 595 (Persons arrested taken before nearest officer for hearing); 5 U.S.C. 300a [now 18 U.S.C. 3052, 3107] (Division of Investigation; authority of officers to serve warrants and make arrests); 16 U.S.C. 10 (Arrests by employees of park service for violations of laws and regulations); sec. 706 (Migratory Bird Treaty Act; arrests; search warrants); D.C. Code (1940), Title 4, sec. 140 (Arrests without warrant); see, also, 33 U.S.C. 436, 446, 452; 46 U.S.C. 708 [now 18 U.S.C. 2279]. What constitutes “unnecessary delay”, i.e., reasonable time within which the prisoner should be brought before a committing magistrate, must be determined in the light of all the facts and circumstances of the case. The following authorities discuss the question what constitutes reasonable time for this purpose in various situations: Carroll v. Parry, 48 App.D.C. 453; Janus v. United States, 38 F.2d 431 (C.C.A. 9th); Commonwealth v. Di Stasio, 294 Mass. 273; State v. Freeman, 86 N.C. 683; Peloquin v. Hibner, 231 Wis. 77; see, also, Warner, 28 Va.L.R. 315, 339–341.
2. The rule also states the prevailing state practice, A.L.I. Code of Criminal Procedure (1931), Commentaries to secs. 35, 36.
Note to Subdivisions (b) and (c). 1. These rules prescribe a uniform procedure to be followed at preliminary hearings before a commissioner. They supersede the general provisions of 18 U.S.C. 591 [now 3041] (Arrest and removal for trial). The procedure prescribed by the rules is that generally prevailing. See Wood v. United States, 128 F.2d 265, 271–272 (App. D.C.); A.L.I. Code of Criminal Procedure (1931), secs. 39–60 and Commentaries thereto; Manual for United States Commissioners, pp. 6–10, published by Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
2. Pleas before a commissioner are excluded, as a plea of guilty at this stage has no legal status or function except to serve as a waiver of preliminary examination. It has been held inadmissible in evidence at the trial, if the defendant was not represented by counsel when the plea was entered. Wood v. United States, 128 F.2d 265 (App. D.C.) The rule expressly provides for a waiver of examination, thereby eliminating any necessity for a provision as to plea.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1966 Amendment
The first change is designed to insure that under the revision made in Rule 4 (a) the defendant arrested on a warrant will receive the same information concerning the basis for the issuance of the warrant as would previously have been given him by the complaint itself.
The second change obligates the commissioner to inform the defendant of his right to request the assignment of counsel if he is unable to obtain counsel. Cf. the amendment to Rule 44, and the Advisory Committee’s Note thereon.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1972 Amendment
There are a number of changes made in rule 5 which are designed to improve the editorial clarity of the rule; to conform the rule to the Federal Magistrates Act; and to deal explicitly in the rule with issues as to which the rule was silent and the law uncertain.
The principal editorial change is to deal separately with the initial appearance before the magistrate and the preliminary examination. They are dealt with together in old rule 5. They are separated in order to prevent confusion as to whether they constitute a single or two separate proceedings. Although the preliminary examination can be held at the time of the initial appearance, in practice this ordinarily does not occur. Usually counsel need time to prepare for the preliminary examination and as a consequence a separate date is typically set for the preliminary examination.
Because federal magistrates are reasonably available to conduct initial appearances, the rule is drafted on the assumption that the initial appearance is before a federal magistrate. If experience under the act indicates that there must be frequent appearances before state or local judicial officers it may be desirable to draft an additional rule, such as the following, detailing the procedure for an initial appearance before a state or local judicial officer:
Initial Appearance Before a State or Local Judicial Officer. If a United States magistrate is not reasonably available under rule 5 (a), the arrested person shall be brought before a state or local judicial officer authorized by 18 U.S.C. § 3041, and such officer shall inform the person of the rights specified in rule 5 (c) and shall authorize the release of the arrested person under the terms provided for by these rules and by 18 U.S.C. § 3146. The judicial officer shall immediately transmit any written order of release and any papers filed before him to the appropriate United States magistrate of the district and order the arrested person to appear before such United States magistrate within three days if not in custody or at the next regular hour of business of the United States magistrate if the arrested person is retained in custody. Upon his appearance before the United States magistrate, the procedure shall be that prescribed in rule 5.
Several changes are made to conform the language of the rule to the Federal Magistrates Act.
(1) The term “magistrate,” which is defined in new rule 54, is substituted for the term “commissioner.” As defined, “magistrate” includes those state and local judicial officers specified in 18 U.S.C. § 3041, and thus the initial appearance may be before a state or local judicial officer when a federal magistrate is not reasonably available. This is made explicit in subdivision (a).
(2) Subdivision (b) conforms the rule to the procedure prescribed in the Federal Magistrate Act when a defendant appears before a magistrate charged with a “minor offense” as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3401 (f):“misdemeanors punishable under the laws of the United States, the penalty for which does not exceed imprisonment for a period of one year, or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both, except that such term does not include . . . [specified exceptions].” If the “minor offense” is tried before a United States magistrate, the procedure must be in accordance with the Rules of Procedure for the Trial of Minor Offenses Before United States Magistrates, (January 27, 1971).
(3) Subdivision (d) makes clear that a defendant is not entitled to a preliminary examination if he has been indicted by a grand jury prior to the date set for the preliminary examination or, in appropriate cases, if any information is filed in the district court prior to that date. See C. Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure: Criminal § 80, pp. 137–140 (1969, Supp. 1971). This is also provided in the Federal Magistrates Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3060 (e).
Subdivision (a) is amended to make clear that a complaint, complying with the requirements of rule 4 (a), must be filed whenever a person has been arrested without a warrant. This means that the complaint, or an affidavit or affidavits filed with the complaint, must show probable cause. As provided in rule 4 (a) the showing of probable cause “may be based upon hearsay evidence in whole or in part.”
Subdivision (c) provides that defendant should be notified of the general circumstances under which he is entitled to pretrial release under the Bail Reform Act of 1966 (18 U.S.C. §§ 3141–3152). Defendants often do not in fact have counsel at the initial appearance and thus, unless told by the magistrate, may be unaware of their right to pretrial release. See C. Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure: Criminal § 78 N. 61 (1969).
Subdivision (c) makes clear that a defendant who does not waive his right to trial before a judge of the district court is entitled to a preliminary examination to determine probable cause for any offense except a petty offense. It also, by necessary implication, makes clear that a defendant is not entitled to a preliminary examination if he consents to be tried on the issue of guilt or innocence by the United States magistrate, even though the offense may be one not heretofore triable by the United States commissioner and therefore one as to which the defendant had a right to a preliminary examination. The rationale is that the preliminary examination serves only to justify holding the defendant in custody or on bail during the period of time it takes to bind the defendant over to the district court for trial. See State v. Solomon, 158 Wis. 146, 147 N.W. 640 (1914). A similar conclusion is reached in the New York Proposed Criminal Procedure Law. See McKinney’s Session Law News, April 10, 1969, at p. A–119.
Subdivision (c) also contains time limits within which the preliminary examination must be held. These are taken from 18 U.S.C. § 3060. The provisions for the extension of the prescribed time limits are the same as the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3060 with two exceptions: The new language allows delay consented to by the defendant only if there is “a showing of good cause, taking into account the public interest in the prompt disposition of criminal cases.” This reflects the view of the Advisory Committee that delay, whether prosecution or defense induced, ought to be avoided whenever possible. The second difference between the new rule and 18 U.S.C. § 3060 is that the rule allows the decision to grant a continuance to be made by a United States magistrate as well as by a judge of the United States. This reflects the view of the Advisory Committee that the United States magistrate should have sufficient judicial competence to make decisions such as that contemplated in subdivision (c).
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1982 Amendment
The amendment of subdivision (b) reflects the recent amendment of 18 U.S.C. § 3401 (a), by the Federal Magistrate Act of 1979, to read: “When specially designated to exercise such jurisdiction by the district court or courts he serves, any United States magistrate shall have jurisdiction to try persons accused of, and sentence persons convicted of, misdemeanors committed within that judicial district.”
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1987 Amendment
The amendments are technical. No substantive change is intended.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1990 Amendment
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.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1995 Amendment
The amendment to Rule 5 is intended to address the interplay between the requirements for a prompt appearance before a magistrate judge and the processing of persons arrested for the offense of unlawfully fleeing to avoid prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 1073, when no federal prosecution is intended. Title 18 U.S.C. § 1073 provides in part:Whoever moves or travels in interstate or foreign commerce with intent . . . to avoid prosecution, or custody or confinement after conviction, under the laws of the place from which he flees . . . shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. Violations of this section may be prosecuted . . . only upon formal approval in writing by the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, or an Assistant Attorney General of the United States, which function of approving prosecutions may not be delegated. In enacting § 1073, Congress apparently intended to provide assistance to state criminal justice authorities in an effort to apprehend and prosecute state offenders. It also appears that by requiring permission of high ranking officials, Congress intended that prosecutions be limited in number. In fact, prosecutions under this section have been rare. The purpose of the statute is fulfilled when the person is apprehended and turned over to state or local authorities. In such cases the requirement of Rule 5 that any person arrested under a federal warrant must be brought before a federal magistrate judge becomes a largely meaningless exercise and a needless demand upon federal judicial resources.
In addressing this problem, several options are available to federal authorities when no federal prosecution is intended to ensue after the arrest. First, once federal authorities locate a fugitive, they may contact local law enforcement officials who make the arrest based upon the underlying out-of-state warrant. In that instance, Rule 5 is not implicated and the United States Attorney in the district issuing the § 1073 complaint and warrant can take action to dismiss both. In a second scenario, the fugitive is arrested by federal authorities who, in compliance with Rule 5, bring the person before a federal magistrate judge. If local law enforcement officers are present, they can take custody, once the United States Attorney informs the magistrate judge that there will be no prosecution under § 1073. Depending on the availability of state or local officers, there may be some delay in the Rule 5 proceedings; any delays following release to local officials, however, would not be a function of Rule 5. In a third situation, federal authorities arrest the fugitive but local law enforcement authorities are not present at the Rule 5 appearance. Depending on a variety of practices, the magistrate judge may calendar a removal hearing under Rule 40, or order that the person be held in federal custody pending further action by the local authorities.
Under the amendment, officers arresting a fugitive charged only with violating § 1073 need not bring the person before a magistrate judge under Rule 5 (a) if there is no intent to actually prosecute the person under that charge. Two requirements, however, must be met. First, the arrested fugitive must be transferred without unnecessary delay to the custody of state officials. Second, steps must be taken in the appropriate district to dismiss the complaint alleging a violation of § 1073. The rule continues to contemplate that persons arrested by federal officials are entitled to prompt handling of federal charges, if prosecution is intended, and prompt transfer to state custody if federal prosecution is not contemplated.
Committee Notes on Rules—2002 Amendment
The language of Rule 5 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, except as noted below.
Rule 5 has been completely revised to more clearly set out the procedures for initial appearances and to recognize that such appearances may be required at various stages of a criminal proceeding, for example, where a defendant has been arrested for violating the terms of probation.
Rule 5 (a), which governs initial appearances by an arrested defendant before a magistrate judge, includes several changes. The first is a clarifying change; revised Rule 5 (a)(1) provides that a person making the arrest must bring the defendant “without unnecessary delay” before a magistrate judge, instead of the current reference to “nearest available” magistrate judge. This language parallels changes in Rule 4 and reflects the view that time is of the essence. The Committee intends no change in practice. In using the term, the Committee recognizes that on occasion there may be necessary delay in presenting the defendant, for example, due to weather conditions or other natural causes. A second change is non-stylistic, and reflects the stated preference (as in other provisions throughout the rules) that the defendant be brought before a federal judicial officer. Only if a magistrate judge is not available should the defendant be taken before a state or local officer.
The third sentence in current Rule 5 (a), which states that a magistrate judge must proceed in accordance with the rule where a defendant is arrested without a warrant or given a summons, has been deleted because it is unnecessary.
Rule 5 (a)(1)(B) codifies the caselaw reflecting that the right to an initial appearance applies not only when a person is arrested within the United States but also when an arrest occurs outside the United States. See, e.g., United States v. Purvis, 768 F.2d 1237 (11th Cir. 1985); United States v. Yunis, 859 F.2d 953 (D.C. Cir. 1988). In these circumstances, the Committee believes—and the rule so provides—that the initial appearance should be before a federal magistrate judge rather than a state or local judicial officer. Rule 5 (a)(1)(B) has also been amended by adding the words, “unless a federal statute provides otherwise,” to reflect recent enactment of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (Pub. L. No. 106–523, 114 Stat. 2488) that permits certain persons overseas to appear before a magistrate judge by telephonic communication.
Rule 5 (a)(2)(A) consists of language currently located in Rule 5 that addresses the procedure to be followed where a defendant has been arrested under a warrant issued on a complaint charging solely a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1073 (unlawful flight to avoid prosecution). Rule 5 (a)(2)(B) and 5 (a)(2)(C) are new provisions. They are intended to make it clear that when a defendant is arrested for violating probation or supervised release, or for failing to appear in another district, Rules 32.1 or 40 apply. No change in practice is intended.
Rule 5 (a)(3) is new and fills a perceived gap in the rules. It recognizes that a defendant may be subjected to an initial appearance under this rule if a summons was issued under Rule 4, instead of an arrest warrant. If the defendant is appearing pursuant to a summons in a felony case, Rule 5 (d) applies, and if the defendant is appearing in a misdemeanor case, Rule 5 (e) applies.
Rule 5 (b) carries forward the requirement in former Rule 5 (a) that if the defendant is arrested without a warrant, a complaint must be promptly filed.
Rule 5 (c) is a new provision and sets out where an initial appearance is to take place. If the defendant is arrested in the district where the offense was allegedly committed, under Rule 5 (c)(1) the defendant must be taken to a magistrate judge in that district. If no magistrate judge is reasonably available, a state or local judicial officer may conduct the initial appearance. On the other hand, if the defendant is arrested in a district other than the district where the offense was allegedly committed, Rule 5 (c)(2) governs. In those instances, the defendant must be taken to a magistrate judge within the district of arrest, unless the appearance can take place more promptly in an adjacent district. The Committee recognized that in some cases, the nearest magistrate judge may actually be across a district’s lines. The remainder of Rule 5 (c)(2) includes material formerly located in Rule 40.
Rule 5 (d), derived from current Rule 5 (c), has been retitled to more clearly reflect the subject of that subdivision and the procedure to be used if the defendant is charged with a felony. Rule 5 (d)(4) has been added to make clear that a defendant may only be called upon to enter a plea under the provisions of Rule 10. That language is intended to reflect and reaffirm current practice.
The remaining portions of current Rule 5 (c) have been moved to Rule 5.1, which deals with preliminary hearings in felony cases.
The major substantive change is in new Rule 5 (f), which permits video teleconferencing for an appearance under this rule if the defendant consents. This change reflects the growing practice among state courts to use video teleconferencing to conduct initial proceedings. A similar amendment has been made to Rule 10 concerning arraignments.
In amending Rules 5, 10, and 43 (which generally requires the defendant’s presence at all proceedings), the Committee carefully considered the argument that permitting a defendant to appear by video teleconferencing might be considered an erosion of an important element of the judicial process. Much can be lost when video teleconferencing occurs. First, the setting itself may not promote the public’s confidence in the integrity and solemnity of a federal criminal proceeding; that is the view of some who have witnessed the use of such proceedings in some state jurisdictions. While it is difficult to quantify the intangible benefits and impact of requiring a defendant to be brought before a federal judicial officer in a federal courtroom, the Committee realizes that something is lost when a defendant is not required to make a personal appearance. A related consideration is that the defendant may be located in a room that bears no resemblance whatsoever to a judicial forum and the equipment may be inadequate for high-quality transmissions. Second, using video teleconferencing can interfere with counsel’s ability to meet personally with his or her client at what, at least in that jurisdiction, might be an important appearance before a magistrate judge. Third, the defendant may miss an opportunity to meet with family or friends, and others who might be able to assist the defendant, especially in any attempts to obtain bail. Finally, the magistrate judge may miss an opportunity to accurately assess the physical, emotional, and mental condition of a defendant—a factor that may weigh on pretrial decisions, such as release from detention.
On the other hand, the Committee considered that in some jurisdictions, the court systems face a high volume of criminal proceedings. In other jurisdictions, counsel may not be appointed until after the initial appearance and thus there is no real problem with a defendant being able to consult with counsel before or during that proceeding. The Committee was also persuaded to adopt the amendment because in some jurisdictions delays may occur in travel time from one location to another—in some cases requiring either the magistrate judge or the participants to travel long distances. In those instances, it is not unusual for a defense counsel to recognize the benefit of conducting a video teleconferenced proceeding, which will eliminate lengthy and sometimes expensive travel or permit the initial appearance to be conducted much sooner. Finally, the Committee was aware that in some jurisdictions, courtrooms now contain high quality technology for conducting such procedures, and that some courts are already using video teleconferencing—with the consent of the parties.
The Committee believed that, on balance and in appropriate circumstances, the court and the defendant should have the option of using video teleconferencing, as long as the defendant consents to that procedure. The question of when it would be appropriate for a defendant to consent is not spelled out in the rule. That is left to the defendant and the court in each case. Although the rule does not specify any particular technical requirements regarding the system to be used, if the equipment or technology is deficient, the public may lose confidence in the integrity and dignity of the proceedings.
The amendment does not require a court to adopt or use video teleconferencing. In deciding whether to use such procedures, a court may wish to consider establishing clearly articulated standards and procedures. For example, the court would normally want to insure that the location used for televising the video teleconferencing is conducive to the solemnity of a federal criminal proceeding. That might require additional coordination, for example, with the detention facility to insure that the room, furniture, and furnishings reflect the dignity associated with a federal courtroom. Provision should also be made to insure that the judge, or a surrogate, is in a position to carefully assess the defendant’s condition. And the court should also consider establishing procedures for insuring that counsel and the defendant (and even the defendant’s immediate family) are provided an ample opportunity to confer in private.
Committee Notes on Rules—2006 Amendment
Subdivisions (c)(3)(C) and (D). The amendment to Rule 5 (c)(3)(C) parallels an amendment to Rule 58 (b)(2)(G), which in turn has been amended to remove a conflict between that rule and Rule 5.1(a), concerning the right to a preliminary hearing.
Rule 5 (c)(3)(D) has been amended to permit the magistrate judge to accept a warrant by reliable electronic means. Currently, the rule requires the government to produce the original warrant, a certified copy of the warrant, or a facsimile copy of either of those documents. This amendment parallels similar changes to Rules 32.1(a)(5)(B)(i) and 41. The reference to a facsimile version of the warrant was removed because the Committee believed that the broader term “electronic form” includes facsimiles.
The amendment reflects a number of significant improvements in technology. First, more courts are now equipped to receive filings by electronic means, and indeed, some courts encourage or require that certain documents be filed by electronic means. Second, the technology has advanced to the state where such filings could be sent from, and received at, locations outside the courthouse. Third, electronic media can now provide improved quality of transmission and security measures. In short, in a particular case, using electronic media to transmit a document might be just as reliable and efficient as using a facsimile.
The term “electronic” is used to provide some flexibility to the rule and make allowance for further technological advances in transmitting data.
The rule requires that if electronic means are to be used to transmit a warrant to the magistrate judge, that the means used be “reliable.” While the rule does not further define that term, the Committee envisions that a court or magistrate judge would make that determination as a local matter. In deciding whether a particular electronic means, or media, would be reliable, the court might consider first, the expected quality and clarity of the transmission. For example, is it possible to read the contents of the warrant in its entirety, as though it were the original or a clean photocopy? Second, the court may consider whether security measures are available to insure that the transmission is not compromised. In this regard, most courts are now equipped to require that certain documents contain a digital signature, or some other similar system for restricting access. Third, the court may consider whether there are reliable means of preserving the document for later use.
Changes Made After Publication and Comment. The Committee made no changes in the Rule and Committee Note as published. It considered and rejected the suggestion that the rule should refer specifically to non-certified photocopies, believing it preferable to allow the definition of reliability to be resolved at the local level. The Committee Note provides examples of the factors that would bear on reliability.
Amendment by Public Law
1984—Subd. (c). Pub. L. 98–473 substituted “shall detain or conditionally release the defendant” for “shall admit the defendant to bail”.