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281. Drafting Requests for Assistance

  1. Style: A request for judicial assistance is necessarily directed to a judicial system that is different from our own. Even common law countries do not always have the same legal concepts and philosophies found in our legal system (although, confusingly, they may use some of the same terms). Civil law systems differ even more markedly. In drafting a request for assistance, it is therefore imperative to describe simply and clearly the facts of the case and the nature of the assistance requested. Do not use the kind of language that they would include in an indictment or application for search warrant.

    Most applications will be translated. Avoid the use of technical legal terms (e.g., ITAR, ITSP, RICO or even probable cause) that are impossible to translate. A clear, narrative style eases the job of the translator and the judicial authority that receives the request. OIA reviews draft requests to ensure conformity with these requirements.

  2. Grand Jury Information: Sufficient facts should be included in the request to show that a crime has been committed and that the information sought is relevant to the investigation or prosecution. If the request will not make sense without incorporating information obtained through the grand jury and protected by secrecy requirements, the Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) should obtain an order authorizing disclosure under Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e). (Because letters rogatory are signed by the court, an order authorizing disclosure is superfluous. However, the AUSA should draw the court's attention to the grand jury material in the application).

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 275; Criminal Resource Manual 276; Criminal Resource Manual 285]

Updated June 8, 2015