Friday, September 30, 2011

One Can't Waive Indictment After Being Indicted

In People v Spencer (4th Dept 9/30/11) the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, reversed a conviction and vacated a Superior Court Information (SCI) where the defendant pled guilty pursuant to a SCI after he was indicted for a crime arising from the same incident. As the Court explained the
waiver of indictment was invalid inasmuch as there is no evidence in the record before us that a local criminal court held him over for the action of a grand jury on the charges in the superior court information (SCI). Defendant is correct that his contention “is a jurisdictional one which survives his appeal waiver and guilty plea”
(People v Dennis, 66 AD3d 1058, 1058; see People v Boston, 75 NY2d 585, 589 n), and we agree with defendant that his contention has merit. As the record establishes, at the time defendant waived indictment and consented to be prosecuted by an SCI, he had already been indicted on the burglary charges, which arose from the same incident. Consequently, we agree with defendant that, “[g]iven the objective and the plain language of CPL 195.10 (2) (b), the conclusion is inescapable that waiver cannot be accomplished after indictment, as was the case here, even where it is the defendant who orchestrates the scenario” (Boston, 75 NY2d at 589). We therefore reverse the judgment in appeal No. 2, vacate the sentence imposed, and dismiss the SCI.

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