57.1 Release of Information in Criminal Cases

(a) By Counsel

Counsel shall not release or authorize the release of information or opinion in connection with pending or imminent criminal litigation if there is a reasonable likelihood that dissemination of such information or opinion will interfere with a fair trial or otherwise prejudice the due administration of justice.

Counsel participating in, or associated with, a pending criminal investigation shall refrain from making any extrajudicial statement, which a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by any means of public communication, that goes beyond the public record unless the statement is necessary to inform the public that the investigation is underway, to describe the general scope of the investigation, to obtain assistance in the apprehension of a suspect, to warn the public of any dangers, or otherwise to aid in the investigation.

From the time of arrest, issuance of an arrest warrant, or the filing of a complaint, information, or indictment in any criminal matter, until the commencement of trial or disposition without trial, a lawyer or law firm associated with the prosecution or defense shall not release or authorize the release of any extrajudicial statement, which a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by any means of public communication, relating to that matter and concerning:

(1) the prior criminal record (including arrest, indictments, or other charges of crime), or the character or reputation of the accused, except that the lawyer or law firm may make a factual statement of the accused's name, age, residence, occupation, and family status, and if the accused has not been apprehended, a lawyer associated with the government may release any information necessary to aid in the apprehension or to warn the public of any dangers which may be present;

(2) the existence or contents of any confession, admission, or statement given by the accused or the refusal or failure of the accused to make any statement;

(3) the performance of any examinations or tests or the accused's refusal or failure to submit to any examination or test;

(4) the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses, except that the lawyer of law firm may announce the identity of the victim if the announcement is not otherwise prohibited by law;

(5) the possibility of a plea of guilty to the offense charged or a lesser offense; and

(6) any opinion as to the accused's guilt or innocence or as to the merits of the case or the evidence in the case.

The foregoing shall not be construed to preclude the lawyer or law firm during this period in the proper discharge of official or professional obligations from announcing the fact and circumstances of arrest (including time and place of arrest, resistance, pursuit, and use of weapons), the identity of the investigating and arresting officer or agency, and the length of the investigation; from making an announcement, at the time of seizure of any physical evidence other than a confession, admission or statement which is limited to a description of the evidence seized; from disclosing the nature, substance, or text of the charge, including a brief description of the offense charged; from quoting or referring without comment to public records of the court in the case; from announcing the scheduling or result of any stage in the judicial process; from requesting assistance in obtaining evidence; or from announcing without further comment that the accused denies the charges made.

A lawyer involved in the investigation or litigation of a matter may state without elaboration the general nature of the claim or defense; the information contained in a public record; and that an investigation of the matter is in progress, including the general scope of the investigation, the offense or claim or defense involved and, except when prohibited by law, the identity of the persons involved.

During a jury trial of any criminal matter, including the period of selection of the jury, no lawyer or law firm associated with the prosecution or defense shall give or authorize any extrajudicial statement or interview relating to the trial or the parties or issues in the trial, which a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by any means of public communication, if there is a reasonable likelihood that such dissemination will interfere with a fair trial, except that the lawyer or law firm may quote from or refer without comment to public records of the court in the case.

Nothing in this rule is intended to preclude the formulation or application of more restrictive rules relating to the release of information about juvenile or other offenders; to preclude the holding of hearings or the lawful issuance of reports by legislative, administrative, or investigative bodies; or to preclude any lawyer from replying to charges of misconduct that are publicly made against that lawyer.

(b) By Courthouse Personnel

All court supporting personnel, including among others, United States marshals, deputy marshals, court security officers, the clerk and deputy clerks, secretaries, law clerks, typists, court reporters, and employees or subcontractors retained by the court-appointed official reporters are prohibited from disclosing to any person, without specific authorization by the court, any information relating to a pending grand jury proceeding or criminal case that is not part of the public records of the court. This rule specifically forbids, but is not limited to, the divulgence of information concerning grand jury proceedings and arguments and hearings held in chambers or otherwise outside the presence of the public.

History

(Amended 1/1/97)