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525. Rule 20 Transfer Procedure

When an indictment is pending against a person in another district, the person may state in writing that he or she wishes to plead guilty, to waive trial and to consent to a disposition in the district in which he finds himself. In this situation, counsel is not necessary to validate the defendant's consent to a transfer, as defendant may, by a not guilty plea, later nullify the proceeding; and the statement in that event may not be used against him or her. White v. United States, 443 F.2d 26 (9th Cir. 1971); Snowden v. Smith, 413 F.2d 94 (7th Cir. 1969).

After the defendant signs a written election to proceed under Rule 20, the United States Attorney in the district in which the defendant is present executes a consent and forwards both documents to the United States Attorney in which the indictment is pending. Either United States Attorney may, under the Rule, refuse consent, such consent being discretionary. In such a case, the defendant may be proceeded against under Rule 40.

If both United States Attorneys consent, the United States Attorney in the district in which the indictment is pending should forward the signed consents to the clerk of his or her district court, who will transfer the court file to the clerk of the district court for the district in which the defendant is present. The case will then proceed to arraignment. Since a plea is contemplated, the provisions of Fed. R. Crim. P. 11, pertaining thereto, apply in the Rule 20 context.

Updated December 7, 2018