18 USC App Fed R Crim P Rule 33: New Trial
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TEXT OF PART V OF SUBTITLE A (3001 ET SEQ.), EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2022, CURRENTLY SET OUT AS A PREVIEW

18 USC App Fed R Crim P Rule 33: New Trial
From Title 18-AppendixFEDERAL RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDUREVII. JUDGMENT

Rule 33. New Trial

On a defendant's motion, the court may grant a new trial to that defendant if the interests of justice so require. If trial was by the court without a jury, the court may-on defendant's motion for new trial-vacate the judgment, take additional testimony, and direct the entry of a new judgment. A motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence may be made only within three years after the verdict or finding of guilty. But if an appeal is pending, the court may grant the motion only on remand of the case. A motion for a new trial based on any other grounds may be made only within 7 days after the verdict or finding of guilty or within such further time as the court may fix during the 7-day period.

(As amended Feb. 28, 1966, eff. July 1, 1966; Mar. 9, 1987, eff. Aug. 1, 1987; Apr. 24, 1998, eff. Dec. 1, 1998.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules-1944

This rule enlarges the time limit for motions for new trial on the ground of newly discovered evidence, from 60 days to two years; and for motions for new trial on other grounds from three to five days. Otherwise, it substantially continues existing practice. See Rule II of the Criminal Appeals Rules of 1933, 292 U.S. 661. Cf. Rule 59(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [28 U.S.C., Appendix].

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules-1966 Amendment

The amendments to the first two sentences make it clear that a judge has no power to order a new trial on his own motion, that he can act only in response to a motion timely made by a defendant. Problems of double jeopardy arise when the court acts on its own motion. See United States v. Smith, 331 U.S. 469 (1947). These amendments do not, of course, change the power which the court has in certain circumstances, prior to verdict or finding of guilty, to declare a mistrial and order a new trial on its own motion. See e.g., Gori v. United States, 367 U.S. 364 (1961); Downum v. United States, 372 U.S. 734 (1963); United States v. Tateo, 377 U.S. 463 (1964). The amendment to the last sentence changes the time in which the motion may be made to 7 days. See the Advisory Committee's Note to Rule 29.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules-1987 Amendment

The amendments are technical. No substantive change is intended.

Committee Notes-1998 Amendment

As currently written, the time for filing a motion for new trial on the ground of newly discovered evidence runs from the "final judgment." The courts, in interpreting that language, have uniformly concluded that that language refers to the action of the Court of Appeals. See, e.g., United States v. Reyes, 49 F.3d 63, 66 (2d Cir. 1995)(citing cases). It is less clear whether that action is the appellate court's judgment or the issuance of its mandate. In Reyes, the court concluded that it was the latter event. In either case, it is clear that the present approach of using the appellate court's final judgment as the triggering event can cause great disparity in the amount of time available to a defendant to file timely a motion for new trial. This would be especially true if, as noted by the Court in Reyes, supra at 67, an appellate court stayed its mandate pending review by the Supreme Court. See also Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390, 410–412 (1993) (noting divergent treatment by States of time for filing motions for new trial).

It is the intent of the Committee to remove that element of inconsistency by using the trial court's verdict or finding of guilty as the triggering event. The change also furthers internal consistency within the rule itself; the time for filing a motion for new trial on any other ground currently runs from that same event.

Finally, the time to file a motion for new trial based upon newly discovered evidence is increased to three years to compensate for what would have otherwise resulted in less time than that currently contemplated in the rule for filing such motions.

Changes Made to Rule 33 After Publication ("GAP Report"). The Advisory Committee changed the proposed amendment to require that any motions for new trials based upon newly discovered evidence must be filed within three years, instead of two years, from the date of the verdict. The Committee also incorporated changes offered by the Style Subcommittee.