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Prefatory Comment to the 2018 Amendments

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of Criminal Procedure

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Rules of Criminal Procedure (Refs & Annos)
16A A.R.S. Rules Crim.Proc., Comment
Prefatory Comment to the 2018 Amendments
The 2018 amendments make extensive changes to the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure (“ARCrP”).
These amendments “restyle” the ARCrP in a manner similar to the 2017 restyling of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. The 2018 version of the ARCrP adds informative titles and subheadings, which should make particular rules and sections easier to locate. By using clearer language and, if possible, plain English, these rules should be easier to understand. The restyled rules avoid long sentences, ambiguous terminology (such as the word “shall”), and legal jargon. These rules also use consistent formatting conventions and terminology.
The amended rules also include substantive changes, including but not limited to the following:
(a) Rule 1 has been extensively reorganized and revised to include a variety of provisions regarding the form of documents, service, and electronic filing. The changes are generally consistent with the 2017 amendments to the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure.
(b) Rule 7, which deals generally with release, conditions for release, and revocation of release, has been revised to conform to the recommendations of the FAIR Justice Task Force.
(c) An amendment to Rule 8.2 requires that a trial begin within 90 days after a court enters an order for a new trial under Rule 32 or in a collateral federal proceeding.
(d) A new Rule 11.8 provides a separate rule for the determination of a defendant's mental status at the time of the offense. Currently, that inquiry is in the same rule, and subject to the same requirements, as a determination of a defendant's competence to stand trial.
(e) New provisions were added to Rule 15 to augment a party's disclosure obligations if the party's intends to call a “cold” expert, i.e., a witness who will be testifying about general principles without reference to any of the facts of the case.
(f) The multiple hearing provisions in former Rule 16.3, 16.4, and 16.5--including provisions for an “omnibus” hearing--were replaced by a single Rule 16.3 governing pretrial conferences.
(g) Rule 20 was amended to permit a defendant to make a post-verdict motion for acquittal without having made such a motion before the close of the evidence.
(h) Former Rule 30 was abrogated because it is largely duplicative of the Superior Court Rules of Appellate Procedure-Criminal.
(i) Rule 31, which deals generally with appeals in criminal cases, has been extensively revised to conform the rule to changes made in 2015 and 2017 to the Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure.
(j) Rule 32.12(d) was amended to remove the requirement that before ordering a post-conviction DNA testing, a court must find that the evidence is in a condition that allows DNA testing to be conducted. Given the current state of the art, such a determination cannot be made without actually performing the testing.
The wording of an amended rule may be very different, or only slightly different, from the rule that it replaces. The intent of these differences is to make the ARCrP more functional, and easier to understand and use. Prior case law continues to be authoritative, unless it would be inappropriate because of a new requirement or provision in these amended rules.
The amended rules attempt to incorporate substantive requirements previously contained within comments to the former ARCrP. Because of that, these amendments delete most of those comments, along with comments that have long ago outlived their usefulness. Parties may continue to refer to comments to pre-2018 versions of the ARCrP to the extent those comments still apply to these amended rules.


Added Aug. 31, 2017, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
16A A. R. S. Rules Crim. Proc., Comment, AZ ST RCRP Comment
State Court Rules are current with amendments received through April 1, 2024. The Code of Judicial Administration is current with amendments received through April 1, 2024.
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