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630. Alibi—Practice Under Fed. R. Crim. P. 12.1

The duty to disclose an alibi defense is triggered by the government's written demand, "stating the time, date, and place at which the alleged offense was committed[.]" Rule 12.1(a). Great care should be taken in preparing the demand, in case the information it contains is treated as a bill of particulars and used to restrict the government in its proof. See this Manual at 632. The defendant has 10 days (unless the court alters that period) within which to serve the government with written notice of his intention to offer an alibi defense, "stat[ing] the specific place or places at which [he] claims to have been at the time of the alleged offense and the names and addresses of the witnesses upon whom he intends to rely to establish such alibi." Rule 12.1(a).

The government then has 10 days (unless the court directs otherwise, but in no event less than 10 days before trial) to serve the defense with written notice of the witnesses it will call to establish the defendant's presence at the crime scene and/or to rebut his alibi. Rule 12.1(b). The government should be aware that, as a result of its disclosure obligations under this section, a defendant who ultimately withdraws his alibi defense may have received information he might not otherwise have received. Thus, the decision to demand alibi discovery should be made with care.

[cited in USAM 9-18.000]

Updated December 18, 2015