Rule 7: Indictments, Presentments and Information.



(a) General Provision. The definition, form, use, return, endorsements, content, and procedure relating to indictments, presentments, and criminal information are as provided by law.

(b) Amending Indictments, Presentments and Informations.

(1) With Defendant’s Consent. With the defendant’s consent, the court may amend an indictment, presentment, or information.

(2) Without Defendant’s Consent. Without the defendant's consent and before jeopardy attaches, the court may permit such an amendment if no additional or different offense is charged and no substantial right of the defendant is prejudiced.

(c) Bill of Particulars. On defendant’s motion, the court may direct the district attorney general to file a bill of particulars so as to adequately identify the offense charged.

Advisory Commission Comment.

The criminal information has been used in state cases under the provisions of § 40-3-101, but because the Constitution of Tennessee, Art. 1, § 14, provides that no person shall be put to answer any criminal charge but by presentment, indictment or impeachment, its use is limited to those cases in which there is an agreement by the defendant to be bound by its use.

Subdivision (a) simply adopts the existing law, and leaves it subject to whatever changes and construction that may be made.

The first sentence of (b) deals with permissive amendments and follows existing statutory law per T.C.A. § 40-1713 [now repealed], while the second sentence permits some amendments in the face of the defendant's objection, as originally proposed by the Law Revision Commission in § 40-9-105 of its proposed code. The same constitutional provision set out at the beginning of this comment constitutes the basis for a caveat as to the extent to which nonconsensual amendments may constitutionally be made without resubmitting the matter to the grand jury.

Subdivision (c) provides for a bill of particulars when needed by the defendant to know precisely what he or she is charged with. This provision is to be construed to serve that singular purpose, and is not meant to be used for purposes of broad discovery.

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