CHUUK STATE SUPREME COURT
TRIAL DIVISION
Cite as Chuuk v. Defang, 9 FSM Intrm. 43
(Chuuk. S. Ct. Tr. 1999)

[9 FSM Intrm.43]

STATE OF CHUUK,
Plaintiff,

vs.

ATTAINING DEFANG,
Defendant.

CSSC TRAFFIC CASE NO. T-61-99

ORDER

Soukichi Fritz
Chief Justice

Hearing:  February 10, 1999
Decided:  February 15, 1999

APPEARANCES:
For the Plaintiff:          Takeo Robert, trial counselor
                                     Office of the Chuuk Attorney General
                                     P.O. Box 189
                                     Weno, Chuuk FM 96942

For the Defendant:     Richard Eaz, trial counselor
                                     Office of the Public Defender
                                     P.O. Box 754
                                     Weno, Chuuk FM 96942

*    *    *    *

HEADNOTES
Criminal Law and Procedure ) Arrest and Custody
     A bench warrant is a process issued by the court itself, or from the bench, for the attachment or arrest of a person.  One accused of crime, not in custody or under bail, may be brought before the court, after information filed, by means of a bench warrant or a capias, for his arrest; and the state has the right to have as many capias issued as are necessary to accomplish its duty to try one accused.  Chuuk v. Defang, 9 FSM Intrm. 43, 44 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1999).

Criminal Law and Procedure ) Arrest and Custody
     If a defendant fails to appear in response to a summons, a warrant shall issue.  Chuuk v. Defang, 9 FSM Intrm. 43, 45 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1999).

Criminal Law and Procedure ) Arrest and Custody
     A warrant must be signed by a judicial officer, contain the defendant's name, describe the offense, and command that the defendant be arrested and brought before a judicial officer.  Chuuk v.

[9 FSM Intrm. 44]

Defang, 9 FSM Intrm. 43, 45 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1999).

Criminal Law and Procedure; Criminal Law and Procedure ) Information
     The purpose of an information, summons or warrant is to inform the defendant of what he is called upon to defend.  Chuuk v. Defang, 9 FSM Intrm. 43, 45 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1999).

Criminal Law and Procedure
     The Chuuk State Supreme Court is authorized by law to do all acts as may be necessary for due administration of justice, including the issuance of a bench warrant.  Chuuk v. Defang, 9 FSM Intrm. 43, 45 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1999).

*    *    *    *

COURT'S OPINION
SOUKICHI FRITZ, Chief Justice:
     This cases comes before the Court after notice and hearing and arises out of a traffic citation issued to Defendant by a Chuuk State Police Officer.  The citation was issued to the Defendant on January 27, 1999 and charged the Defendant with an illegal stop in violation of Section 413, of the Chuuk State Vehicle Code.  The citation required the Defendant to either pay an amount listed thereon or appear to answer the citation at the Chuuk Supreme Court, Nantaku, Weno on February 4, 1999 at 0900 hours.

     All of the foregoing appears on the face of the citation issued to Defendant.  The Defendant did not exercise his option to pay the amount indicated on the citation nor did he appear before this Court as directed in the citation he acknowledged receiving by placing his signature thereon.

     On February 4, 1999, the Defendant having failed to appear in Court, a bench warrant was issued by the Court ordering his arrest and to bring him before any Justice of the Chuuk State Supreme Court.  The Defendant was arrested and brought before the Court on February 10, 1999 for arraignment on the bench warrant.

     During the arraignment, the Defendant objected to the proceedings on the grounds that the State is required to file a complaint and otherwise comply with the provisions of Rule 4, CSSC Rules of Criminal Procedure and having failed to do so, the State is required to dismiss all charges against the Defendant.

     Black's Law Dictionary 142 (5th ed. 1979) defines "Bench Warrant" as: "Process issued by the court itself, or `from the bench,' for the attachment or arrest of a person."  See also 10 C.J.S. Bench 246 (1938).

     The term "Capias" and "Bench Warrant" are of the same nature.  In 22 C.J.S. Criminal Law 404, at 1104 (1961), it is stated:

One accused of crime, not in custody or under bail, may be brought before the court, after indictment or information filed, by means of a bench warrant or a capias, for his arrest; and the state has the right to have as many capias issued as are necessary to accomplish its duty to try one accused.

     The foregoing section also provides that:  "Where accused fails to appear in court on the date

[9 FSM Intrm. 45]

set for trial, the issuance of a capias is proper."  Id. at 1105.

     In addition to the general rules quoted above, Rule 9(a), CSSC Rules of Criminal Procedure, provides that:  "If a defendant fails to appear in response to a summons, a warrant shall issue."

     Defendant complains that the bench warrant in this case does not comply with the provisions of Criminal Rule 4.  Rule 4(c)(1) requires that a warrant:

1.  Be signed by a judicial officer.  In this case, the warrant was signed by the Chief Justice.

2.  Shall contain the name of the Defendant.  The caption of the warrant lists the Defendant's name as ATTAINING DEFANG.

3.  Shall describe the offense.  The warrant list the offense as "failure to appear".

4.  Shall command that the defendant be arrested and brought before a judicial officer.  The warrant commands the arrest of ATTAINING DEFANG and to "bring him before any Justice of the Chuuk State Supreme Court."

     Thus, it appears on the face of the warrant that it complies with all requirements of Rule 4.  It should be noted that the purpose of an indictment, information, summons or warrant is to inform the Defendant of what he is called upon to defend.  There can be no doubt that Defendant is so informed in this case.

     Also, this Court is authorized by law, Section 4 of the Chuuk State Judiciary Act of 1990, to do all acts "as may be necessary for due administration of justice."  Chk S.L. No. 190-08, 4.

     In this case the Court has followed the procedure for the issuance of a bench warrant that has been established by rule and precedents for many years.

     The Defendant's objections to the form and content of the Bench Warrant issued by the court in this case are due to be overruled, and it is so ordered.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
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