Compulsory Joinder Law and Legal Definition

Compulsory joinder refers to the necessary joinder of a party. In certain situations, the state brings multiple charges in a single prosecution unless the circuit court determines that the interests of justice require a separate trial. The fact that multiple offenses arise from distinct, but related, acts in the course of single incident is irrelevant for purposes of compulsory joinder. Indeed, there is no requirement of joinder where multiple offenses arise from a series of related acts. [People v. Gooden, 189 Ill. 2d 209 (Ill. 2000)].

For purposes of compulsory joinder, the requirement that offenses arise out of the same criminal episode, must be interpreted to include the condition that the offenses be connected in such a manner that prosecution of the offenses involve substantially interrelated proof. Compulsory joinder is relevant in crimes that are committed simultaneously or in close sequence, crimes that occur in the same or closely related place, and acts that form part of the schematic whole, generally involve interrelated proof. For the purpose of compulsory joinder, proof of different crimes is interrelated if the proof of one crime forms a substantial portion of proof of the other. Separate trials for crimes that do not share a substantial factual nexus do not prejudice a defendant. If proof of one of the crimes charged is not relevant to proof of the other, then the two crimes do not involve interrelated proof and as a matter of law is not part of the same criminal episode.

The compulsory joinder rule is intended to provide broader protection than the same offense principle of double jeopardy. The collateral estoppel aspects of double jeopardy, the same criminal episode element of the compulsory joinder rule are not a self-defining concept. The term “episode" connotes a set of events or occurrences that bear some distinctive relationship to each other.