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On April 30, 1979, the Supreme Court of the United States ordered the amendment of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The modifications ordered by the Court promise to bring about significant changes in the Rules, clarify ambiguous sections, eliminate confusion in application, and bring the Rules into conformity with recent case law.

The process of amending the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure began with the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States. The Advisory Committee was responsible for drafting the text of the proposed amendments and submitting explanatory comments. The proposed changes and additions were then sent to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference, which solicited comments from the bench and bar before submitting the amendments to the Judicial Conference. Subsequently, the Judicial Conference approved the proposed amendments and transmitted them to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court then ordered these amendments to take effect on August 1, 1979.

Upon receipt by Congress, the amendments to the Rules were referred to the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice. Currently engaged in a major effort to overhaul the Federal Criminal Code, the Subcommittee was unable to study the proposed changes in detail. Consequently, the Subcommittee acted to delay the passage of those amendments that it regarded as particularly controversial or far-reaching. Accordingly, Congress delayed the effective dates of the modifications to rules 11(e)(6), 17(h), 32(f), and 44(c) and the enactment of rules 26.2 and 32.1 until a study of the changes could be made, or until December 1, 1980, whichever comes first.

This comment will analyze the changes made in the Federal Rules, particularly noting the rationale for the various amendments and the intended effects of those changes.

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