Rule 17.1: Pretrial Conference.




(a) Timing; Purposes. At any time after the filing of the indictment, presentment, or information, the court–on a party’s motion or on its own initiative–may order one or more pretrial conferences to consider matters that will:

(1) promote a fair and expeditious trial; and

(2) to the extent feasible, minimize the time that jurors are not directly involved in the trial or deliberations.

(b) Memorandum of Result. At the conclusion of the conference, the court shall file a memorandum of the matters resolved.

(c) Admissibility of Defendant’s Admissions. No admissions made by the defendant or the defendant’s attorney at the conference may be used against the defendant unless the admissions are in writing and signed by the defendant and the defendant’s attorney.

(d) Exception for Unrepresented Defendant. This rule shall not be invoked in the case of a defendant who is not represented by counsel.

Advisory Commission Comment.

This rule, taken from the federal rules, provides the courts with an excellent tool for expediting trials.

Rule 17.1(a)(2) is designed to encourage judges to make serious efforts to reduce the time that jurors are required to be at the courthouse when not directly involved in the case. Pretrial conferences may greatly facilitate the efficient use of juror time by encouraging the pretrial resolution of evidentiary and other issues and the early preparation of jury instructions and juror notebooks.

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