Registration of a criminal case – your own lawyer
Some provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure provide for requirements related to office work. However, the Code of Criminal Procedure does not regulate the procedure for registering reports of a crime, registering petitions and complaints, which contributes to the safety of appeals and, most importantly, their consideration within the established time frame. The PC does not contain the concept of “registration” at all, which, according to the Rules of Office Work, means “assigning a registration number to a document, entering information about the document into the registration and accounting form.”
In accordance with Part 1 of Art. 217 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, the investigator presents “to the accused and the defense attorney the filed and numbered materials of the criminal case.” But the Code of Criminal Procedure does not say how an investigator should file a criminal case, how many sheets one volume of the case should contain, and how the sheets should be numbered. Inadequate registration of a criminal case is often the subject of statements and petitions from the defense both at the stage of the preliminary investigation and when the case is considered by the court. Both investigators and judges, when receiving petitions and complaints about violations of the formalization of a criminal case, most often refuse to satisfy the applicants. However, there is no uniformity in the reasons for refusal among judges. Quite often, courts and officials justify their refusal by the fact that the Code of Criminal Procedure does not stipulate the procedure for registering a criminal case. At the same time, according to Part 4 of Art. 7 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, decisions of the court and officials conducting the preliminary investigation must be legal, motivated and justified.
In practice, very often, the defense side points out as an argument that the investigator numbered the case materials in pencil and there are corrections in the numbering. The courts have rejected this argument, but with or without varying and not undisputed reasons.
The defense points out that the numbering of the sheets of the criminal case “not with a pen, but with a pencil makes it possible to substitute (replace) documents.” The courts reject these arguments, pointing out that “according to subparagraph “b” of paragraph 7.9 of the Instructions for judicial records management in the district court (approved by order of the Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated April 29, 2003 No. 36), the sheets of the criminal case are numbered in Arabic numerals in the upper right corner of the sheet, without touching the text of the document, in pencil.” However, from this court decision it is not clear why the investigator, when fulfilling the requirements of Part 1 of Art. 217 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation must be guided by the instructions for office work intended for the court, and whether the numbering of sheets in a criminal case corresponds to the norms of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation.
In one of the criminal cases, the Rostov Regional Court refused to satisfy the appeal of the convict, who considered it a significant violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure that “the pages of the criminal case are numbered in pencil, in the middle of the first volume there are obvious corrections to the page numbering.” In the appeal ruling, the court noted: “The fact that the case materials were not bound and numbered in pencil does not indicate a significant violation of the rights of the convicted person, since the accused was familiar with all the case materials in full while fulfilling the requirements of Art. 217 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Numbering the case materials in pencil is not a procedural violation that could affect the legality of the familiarization procedure.” This appeal ruling does not indicate the reason why the court does not see a significant violation of the requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation in the fact that the case materials are not bound and numbered in pencil.
A similar argument was made in other regional courts. The practice of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation is actually similar. In the cassation ruling dated February 16, 2021 No. 66-O11-4, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation noted that “the defendant’s references to the fact that the criminal case is bound with lacing, is not sealed, its pages are numbered in pencil, do not contradict Art. 217 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, according to which the investigator presents the accused and his defense attorney with filed and numbered materials of the criminal case. The case materials correspond to the inventory.”
How is the registration of a criminal case regulated and how to correctly refute claims regarding its registration?
Since the law only stipulates that the materials of a criminal case must be filed and numbered, investigators often justify their decisions on the preparation of materials of a criminal case by the requirements of departmental instructions for office work. For example, investigators of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation refer to the Instructions for office work, approved by order of the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia dated July 18, 2021 No. 40 “On approval of the instructions for office work of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.” This Instruction is intended for processing materials of control proceedings and internal inspections only. But by analogy with its requirements, investigators also file criminal cases, filing no more than 250 sheets in each volume, numbering the sheets in pencil (clause 9.4.5 of the Instructions), filing the case “at least four times, taking into account the possible free reading of the text of all documents”.
A procedure similar to that used in the Russian Investigative Committee for the formation and numbering of cases is also in effect in other departments where preliminary investigations are carried out and criminal cases are considered.
Thus, paragraph 5.5.4 of the Instructions for office work in the Judicial Department under the RF Armed Forces also states that “the use of ink and colored pencils for numbering sheets is prohibited.”
The unified procedure for office work in federal executive bodies is established by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated September 15, 2009 No. 477 “On approval of the Rules for office work in federal executive bodies.” Clause 3 of the Rules for Office Work stipulates that, taking into account the conditions and specifics of its activities, the federal executive body develops instructions for office work, which are approved by the head of the federal executive body. Moreover, it is specifically stated that this instruction must be agreed upon with the federal executive body in the field of archival affairs. The procedure for the formation and registration of cases, as established by clause 36 of the Rules of Office Work, is also determined by Rosarkhiv.
This was done due to the fact that criminal cases, orders, magazines and books of permanent or long-term storage are ultimately handed over to the archives. Therefore, a unified procedure for the formation and registration of files is established by Rosarkhiv, which is provided for by the Federal Law of the Russian Federation of October 22, 2004 No. 125 Federal Law “On Archival Affairs in the Russian Federation.”
The procedure for the formation and registration of cases is regulated by the document “Basic rules for the work of archives of organizations,” which was approved by the decision of the Board of Rosarkhiv dated 02/06/2002. The basic rules establish that all sheets of the case must be numbered in Arabic numerals with gross numbering in the upper right corner of the sheet in pencil. Sheets of the internal inventory of documents in each volume of the case must be numbered separately. When creating cases, it is necessary to comply with a number of basic requirements, including “the case must contain no more than 250 sheets, with a thickness of no more than 4 cm” (clause 3.5.3 of the Basic Rules). In each volume, documents are filed with four pins in a hard cardboard cover or bound, taking into account the possibility of free reading of the text of all documents, dates, visas and resolutions on them (clause 3.6.4 of the Basic Rules) 5.
From the above, we can conclude that the investigator draws up the materials of the criminal case on the basis and according to the requirements established by the general Rules of office work.
There are no regulatory documents regarding the sequence of filing documents in a criminal case. At the same time, in the process of pre-trial proceedings, the investigator constantly has to alter the materials of the criminal case, numbering the sheets again. In this case, the old numbering, written in pencil, is erased with an eraser.
In clause 9.3.1 of the Instructions for Office Work of the Investigative Committee of Russia it is stated that “documents in criminal cases are filed as they are compiled or received, and it is also allowed to file case materials according to episodes, persons involved and other criteria that ensure the logic of the investigation of a criminal case ”
The purely technical procedure of filing case materials is not a one-time process. The sheets are altered, renumbered and formed into volumes in order to make it convenient to navigate the materials of the criminal case, to quickly find the required document, and quickly understand the essence of the event under investigation. This is important not only for the investigator, but also for the prosecutor, lawyer, judge and other participants in criminal proceedings who have the right to familiarize themselves with the case materials.
During pre-trial proceedings, the materials of a criminal case are also altered and renumbered due to the need to present some of the documents to experts for forensic examination. The general rule is that materials are filed in a criminal case as they are received or compiled in chronological order. However, depending on the volume of the criminal case, the number of episodes under investigation, the accused and victims, and the forensic examinations performed, the materials in the case are grouped in a logical relationship. For example, if the commission of several crimes is being investigated, then procedural documents, as a rule, are filed episode by episode. Separately, the entire block devoted to forensic examinations is formed (resolution on the appointment, expert’s opinion, protocol of interrogation of the expert, protocols of familiarization with these documents of all participants, their petitions, etc.), and separately – materials characterizing the personality of the accused.
By forming documents in a case in a logical relationship, the investigator has to rearrange the materials in the criminal case and renumber the sheets. Accordingly, the sheet number marked in pencil is erased and a new number is written, taking into account its chronological location in the case volume.
When altering and renumbering sheets of a criminal case, there is one unwritten rule. The investigator (inquiry officer) may perform these actions before fulfilling the requirements provided for in Art. 217 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, that is, before the participants in criminal proceedings become familiar with the materials of the criminal case. If the criminal case with an indictment or resolution was returned by the prosecutor or the court, then the investigator (inquiry officer) should not make any changes to the registration of the case: alter the file, renumber the sheets, insert documents that, although executed during the preliminary investigation, were received during the period when the case was before the prosecutor or in court. Such documents may be, for example, responses to instructions and requests from the investigator. All these newly executed or received documents after the return of the case by the prosecutor or the court in case of their procedural goodness, that is, compliance with the requirements of Art. 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code, are filed after the decision on the investigator’s acceptance of the case for proceedings.
In order for participants in criminal proceedings to subsequently understand the appearance in the case of a document that was executed before the criminal case was sent to the prosecutor, the investigator must write a report addressed to the head of the investigative body explaining why this document (documents) was not previously attached to the criminal case materials case, and the intention to attach it to the case materials. On the report, the head of the investigative body puts a resolution “I agree, attach to the case materials”, puts a date and signature. Such a report is not provided for by the Code of Criminal Procedure, it is not a procedural decision of the investigator, but at the same time it will contain comprehensive information about the reason for the absence of a previous document in the case.
After the return of the criminal case by the prosecutor or the court, the case materials cannot be altered and renumbered for another reason that in the decisions the prosecutor and the court, justifying the violations of the law, refer to specific sheets of the case. Therefore, it is unacceptable to change places of the sheets of the case, on the basis of which the prosecutor and the court made their decision, or to supplement the materials with new sheets.
During the numbering of sheets of material in a criminal case, technical errors are sometimes made. For example, the same number is placed in a row on two or three sheets, or omissions are allowed in the numbers of the sheets of the case. This usually happens due to inattention. Whether it is a technical error or not can be determined, for example, by comparing entries in the inventory of documents in the volume. If several sheets of a multi-page single document are not numbered, a technical error can be determined by studying its contents and comparing the chronology of sheet numbering of the document itself.
If the protocol of familiarization with the case indicates one number of sheets, but in fact there are significantly more or less of them, if the name of the document is indicated in the inventory, but another is actually filed, then this raises reasonable doubts about possible forgery, especially on the defense side . And all doubts, according to Part 3 of Art. 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, are interpreted in favor of the accused.
In conclusion, we note that for a uniform understanding and application of the law related to the registration of criminal cases, it is advisable to make appropriate changes to Part 1 of Art. 217 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation in order to exclude legal disputes on this issue.
Learning to stitch documents correctly
So, how to stitch documents, where to start, what they are used to stitch them with and on which side they are stamped – we will now look at all this.
In order not to be distracted while stitching, it’s worth stocking up on:
- needle (darning);
- office glue;
- paper sticker 4 x 6 cm.
Next, holes are made on the left side of the title page at a distance of 3 cm from each other in a field without text. The number of holes will depend on what stitching pattern is intended.
This is the simplest firmware. According to this scheme, the FMS updates the house register. In this stitching scheme, 2 punctures cannot always be located in the middle of the sheet. For example, it is customary to lace the cash book and occupational safety journal at the bottom of the sheet.
We thread the thread for the first time, bringing it to the title page. Then we pass the thread through the holes several times and tie its ends with a knot on the last page.
Next, glue a small square of paper onto the knot, which should partially cover the ends of the thread. We certify the accompanying inscription on the sheet with the seal of the organization and the signature of the manager. The seal imprint should extend to the edge of the sticker.
This 3-hole firmware is somewhat more complicated.
Step by step it is done as follows:
- First, use a needle and thread to make a puncture in the center of the sheet from the back side.
- For the second puncture, we bring the needle and thread to the back side, and make the hole 3 cm higher than the first.
- We make the last puncture below the first, bringing the thread to the title page.
- Next, we pass the needle and thread through the middle hole on the back side.
- Now we carefully pull the stitched sheets together, cut the thread and tie its ends into a knot.
- We cover the ends of the thread and the knot with a sticker intended for certification.
Tax returns and LLC charters are stitched together in a similar way.
I use this firmware scheme when preparing particularly important documents.
It is more convenient for her to make holes first. You can pierce them using a drill or hole punch, depending on how many sheets the documents contain.
Flashing documentation into 4 holes is done step by step like this:
- We begin to insert the thread from the back into the second hole.
- Then insert the needle into the lowest hole.
- Repeat the thread through the second hole.
- Next, we go into the above hole from the front side.
- We insert a thread into the upper puncture from the back.
- Now in reverse order until we insert the thread into the hole from which we started.
- Gently pull the stitches and tie the ends with a knot.
- As in the first two methods, the knot is covered with a sticker on which a certification inscription is made.
When stitching according to a five-hole pattern, a stitcher is used.
It is used when stapling particularly important documents, such as a criminal case, since it can protect the papers from substitution.
In addition, the device allows you to staple a fairly large amount of documentation, so the 5-hole pattern is often used to file current accounting documents.
Then we align all the sheets well, secure them in a clamp, and then proceed to drill 5 holes in the left side of the block. We drill two of them along the edges with an indentation of 2 cm, the third in the center. Place 4 and 5 in the spaces between the center and the outer punctures.
The 5-hole hem pattern looks like this:
- We pass the needle from the back through the middle hole, leaving a thread tail of about 10 cm. From the face we insert it into the 2nd hole from above.
- Now we lower the needle down through the upper hole and again pass it through the 2nd hole from above.
- Next, hold the end of the thread in the center and insert a needle through it, which ends up at the starting point.
- Now we do the same with the holes located below the center.
- As a result, there are two ends in the central hole on the back side, which we tie in a knot and cut off the excess threads. Only after this can you remove the papers from the press.
We seal the knot, as in all previous cases, with a rectangular piece of paper. It indicates the numbering and corresponding data about the filing.