Rules of Criminal Procedure

URCrP 013. Pretrial conference. Amend. The change makes a defendant’s waiver of the right to appear at a pretrial conference subject to court approval. Occasionally judges want defendants at pretrial conferences because of the substantive issues that are discussed.

Utah Courts

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4 thoughts on “Rules of Criminal Procedure
  1. Neal

    But who better to discuss substantive issues with than the defendant’s attorney? If a defendant’s attorney (who also serves as their representative and spokesman) is in court to answer these questions why does the defendant need to be there?
    Also, if the defendant’s presence is necessary to the court, the court may order the defendant’s presence at subsequent pretrial conferences. Is this ability not sufficient to address the concerns raised by this proposed rule change?
    This rule change is not needed, and runs the risk of interfering with an attorneys representation of his client.

  2. Rob

    This proposed rule would further implement a judicial version of “diesel therapy” — a strategy to coerce the citizen accused into capitulating to the state’s demands by increasing the cost of asserting one’s constitutional, statutory, and procedural rights.
    Citizens ordered to appear at a pretrial conference — as well as other court hearings — may have to miss work, hire someone to watch their children, and travel from far distances. Some citizens accused hire attorneys to mitigate these costs, among performing their other duties.
    The existing rule (text below) is adequate, but if a judge really thinks it’s important for the accused to be present, issue an order when appropriate, or schedule a hearing styled different from a pretrial conference (scheduling conference, resolution hearing, etc.). Too many courts require the citizen accused to appear at a pretrial conference in their court notice forms as the default position when such an appearance is unnecessary. Scheduling matters are not substantive, and do not require the presence of the accused.
    Supporters of the proposed rule change should articulate what “substantive issues” are desired to be discussed at a pretrial conference that require the presence of the citizen accused.
    This proposed rule change is also not environmentally-friendly.

    Rule 13. Pretrial conference.
    (a) The trial court, in its discretion, may hold a pretrial conference, with trial counsel present, to consider such matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial. The accused shall be present unless he waives his right to appear.
    (b) At the conclusion of the conference, a pretrial order shall set out the matters ruled upon. Any stipulations made shall be signed by counsel, approved by the court and filed, and shall be binding upon the parties at trial, on appeal, and in postconviction proceedings unless set aside or modified by the court.

  3. S. Hullinger

    Ridiculous. This will improve the pre-trial process precisely not at all; and will be used as a club for the court to punish the unpopular or vulnerable defendant prior to adjudication.

  4. Nic Chamberlain

    It is not the court’s job to ensure that a Defendant is present during substantive proceedings…it is the Defendant’s job and his or hers alone. If a Defendant chooses to be absent at a crucial stage of the case they are entitled to be so.
    Too much time and money is expended already in doing a job for someone that they are obligated to do for themselves.