The Fourth Department vacated defendant's plea to a misdemeanor (as a reduced charge) and dismissed the indictment because the People did not take any of the steps required by Criminal Procedure Law 210.20(6):
County Court granted defendant's motion to review the grand jury minutes and, upon that review, concluded that the evidence before the grand jury was not legally sufficient to support [promoting prison contraband first degree] but was sufficient to support the lesser included offense of promoting prison contraband in the second degree. Defendant then pleaded guilty to the lesser included offense.
“CPL 210.20 (6) provides that when a court decides to reduce a count contained in an indictment [to a misdemeanor] on the ground that it is not supported by legally sufficient evidence, the People do one of the following: (1) accept the court's order and file a prosecutor's information containing the reduced charge; (2) re-present the [higher count] to a grand jury; or (3) appeal the court's order” … . Here, however, the People did not take any of those three actions, and defendant pleaded guilty to the reduced charge. Inasmuch as ” [a] valid and sufficient accusatory instrument is a nonwaivable jurisdictional prerequisite to a criminal prosecution' ” … , the plea must be vacated and the indictment dismissed … . People v Haigler, 2016 NY Slip Op 04584, 4th Dept 6-10-16
CRIMINAL LAW (PEOPLE'S FAILURE TO OBTAIN AN ACCUSATORY INSTRUMENT AFTER THE COURT REDUCED THE FELONY TO A MISDEMEANOR REQURED VACATION OF THE PLEA AND DISMISSAL OF THE INDICTMENT)/ACCUSATORY INSTRUMENT (CRIMINAL LAW, PEOPLE'S FAILURE TO OBTAIN AN ACCUSATORY INSTRUMENT AFTER THE COURT REDUCED THE FELONY TO A MISDEMEANOR REQUIRED VACATION OF THE PLEA AND DISMISSAL OF THE INDICTMENT)