The Third Department, reversing County Court and dismissing the Superior Court Information (SCI), determined the SCI was an improper vehicle for defendant’s guilty plea because the grand jury had already handed down an indictment. In addition the SCI was jurisdictionally defective because it did not include the original charge or a lesser included offense:
CPL 195.10 (2) (b) provides that a defendant may waive indictment and consent to be prosecuted by a SCI in “the appropriate superior court, at any time prior to the filing of an indictment by the grand jury.” However, “waiver of indictment attempted after a [g]rand [j]ury actually indicts is generally invalid under CPL 195.10 (2) (b) because the plain words of the statute require a waiver be made prior to the filing of an indictment” … .
It is well settled that the general purpose and objectives of constitutional and statutory boundaries with respect to the waiver of indictment are to permit a defendant “to go directly to trial without waiting for a grand jury to hand up an indictment, [thereby] affording a defendant the opportunity for a speedier disposition of charges [and] eliminating unnecessary [g]rand [j]ury proceedings” … . When the grand jury has already acted, and those motivations are no longer present, waiver of indictment is not authorized, even where defendant has consented to the devised procedure … .
Here, an indictment had been filed — to which defendant pleaded guilty — prior to defendant agreeing to be prosecuted by way of an SCI. Although the indictment was subsequently dismissed, the dismissal was not due to any defect requiring such dismissal (see CPL 210.20), County Court did not authorize resubmission of the charge to the grand jury (see CPL 210.45 ) and a new felony complaint was never filed. Therefore, defendant was not placed on a formal preindictment procedural track … . People v Eggleston, 2019 NY Slip Op 04497, Second Dept 6-6-19