U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Appendix

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Author: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel"

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Rule 14. Relief from Prejudicial Joinder

     If it appears that a defendant or the government is prejudiced by a joinder of offenses or of defendants in an indictment or information or by such joinder for trial together, the court may order an election or separate trials of counts, grant a severance of defendants or provide whatever other relief justice requires. In ruling on a motion by a defendant for severance the court may order the attorney for the government to deliver to the court for inspection in camera any statements or confessions made by the defendants which the government intends to introduce in evidence at the trial.

(As amended Feb. 28, 1966, eff. July 1, 1966.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1944

     This rule is a restatement of existing law under which severance and other similar relief is entirely in the discretion of the court, 18 U.S.C. [former] 557 (Indictments and presentments; joinder of charges); Pointer v. United States, 151 U.S. 396; Pierce v. United States, 160 U.S. 355; United States v. Ball, 163 U.S. 662, 673; Stilson v. United States, 250 U.S. 583.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1966 Amendment

     A defendant may be prejudiced by the admission in evidence against a co-defendant of a statement or confession made by that co-defendant. This prejudice cannot be dispelled by cross-examination if the co-defendant does not take the stand. Limiting instructions to the jury may not in fact erase the prejudice. While the question whether to grant a severance is generally left within the discretion of the trial court, recent Fifth Circuit cases have found sufficient prejudice involved to make denial of a motion for severance reversible error. See Schaffer v. United States, 221 F.2d 17 (5th Cir. 1955); Barton v. United States, 263 F.2d 894 (5th Cir. 1959). It has even been suggested that when the confession of the co-defendant comes as a surprise at the trial, it may be error to deny a motion or a mistrial. See Belvin v. United States, 273 F.2d 583 (5th Cir. 1960).

     The purpose of the amendment is to provide a procedure whereby the issue of possible prejudice can be resolved on the motion for severance. The judge may direct the disclosure of the confessions or statements of the defendants to him for in camera inspection as an aid to determining whether the possible prejudice justifies ordering separate trials. Cf. note, Joint and Single Trials Under Rules 8 and 14 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, 74 Yale L.J. 551, 565 (1965).

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Chicago: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel", "Rule 14. Relief from Prejudicial Joinder," U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Appendix in U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Appendix (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2002), Original Sources, accessed February 7, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8PQVSSNT9ZVB1N7.

MLA: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel". "Rule 14. Relief from Prejudicial Joinder." U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Appendix, in U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Appendix, Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 2002, Original Sources. 7 Feb. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8PQVSSNT9ZVB1N7.

Harvard: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel", 'Rule 14. Relief from Prejudicial Joinder' in U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Appendix. cited in 2002, U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Appendix, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.. Original Sources, retrieved 7 February 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8PQVSSNT9ZVB1N7.