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CRM 500-999

530. Rule 21 Transfers from the District for Trial

Rule 21, Fed. R. Crim. P., allows a defendant to initiate a motion, dependent upon the court's discretion, for transfer of a criminal case for trial in another district, if (a) the atmosphere is so prejudicial the defendant cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial within the district in which the action is brought or (b) for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, if in the interest of justice.

Article III, Section 2, Clause 3 and the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution provide for the right of trial in the vicinity of the offense as a safeguard against unfairness and hardship if the accused were prosecuted against his or her will in a remote place; but when venue lies in several districts, the constitutional provisions are not intended to provide a defendant an absolute right to be tried in his or her home district or any particular place. Platt v. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co., 376 U.S. 240 (1964); United States v. Hinton, 268 F. Supp. 728 (E.D.La. 1967). A Rule 21 motion by the defendant automatically is a waiver of the constitutional right to be tried in the district of offense. United States v. Angiulo, 497 F.2d 440 (1st Cir. 1974), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 896; Jones v. Gasch, 404 F.2d 1231 (D.C.Cir. 1967), cert. denied, 390 U.S. 1029 (1968); United States v. Marcello, 280 F. Supp. 510 (E.D.La. 1968).

The purpose of the rule is to secure a fair trial to the defendant when circumstances in the district where the action is brought would place an undue risk of unfairness upon the defendant if tried within that district. Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333 (1965); Jones v. Gasch, 404 F.2d 1231; United States v. Marcello, 280 F. Supp. 510; United States v. Hinton, 268 F. Supp. 728.

[cited in JM 9-14.000]