Monday, April 11, 2011
Under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a defendant is normally obligated to attend all of the proceedings against her. However, Rule 43(b)(2) carves out an exception for organizational defendants, stating that they “need not be present” if represented by an attorney. But on its face, the language of 43(b)(2) is ambiguous: is it the defendant or the judge who has the discretion to decide whether the defendant appears? That is, may a judge compel the presence of an organizational defendant? This Note addresses the ambiguity in the context of the plea colloquy, considering the text of several of the Rules, the purposes behind the plea colloquy proceeding, and the inherent powers doctrine. It argues that district court judges do in fact have the authority to compel an organizational defendant’s presence at a plea colloquy.