The Third Department, reversing the conviction and dismissing the superior court information, determined that both the indictment and the subsequent superior court information were jurisdictionally defective. Both charged sexual offenses with the victim being less than 17 years old as an element. Both had the wrong birth date for the victim, which placed the victim’s age at more than 17 years old. The Third Department noted that the indictment, which was replaced by the superior court information, was improperly amended to reflect the correct birth date:
… [T]he superior court information specifically cited and charged defendant with endangering the welfare of a child under Penal Law § 260.10 (1), which provides that “[a] person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child when . . . [h]e or she knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years old” (Penal Law § 260.10 ). However, the superior court information also alleged that, “[o]n or about November 13, 2016, . . . the defendant . . . did knowingly act in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years old, . . . having a date of birth of 6/2/1999, by engaging in oral sexual conduct with” the victim. Inasmuch as the offense of endangering the welfare of a child requires that the victim be less than 17 years old, we find that the superior court information was jurisdictionally defective because it failed to effectively charge defendant with the commission of a crime where the date of birth indicated that the victim was 17 at the time of the offense … .
Although a trial court may permit an indictment to be amended “with respect to defects, errors or variances from the proof relating to the matters of form, time, place, names of persons and the like” (CPL 200.70 ), an indictment may not “be amended for the purpose of curing . . . [a] failure thereof to charge or state an offense or . . . [l]egal insufficiency of the factual allegations” (CPL 200.70  [a], [b] … ). Here, inasmuch as the first five counts of the indictment charged defendant with offenses that required the victim to be less than 17 years old, such counts suffered from the same jurisdictional defect as the superior court information in that they failed to allege a crime by stating that the victim’s date of birth was June 2, 1999 — making the victim 17 years old at the time of the alleged offense on November 13, 2016. As such, County Court had no authority to grant the People’s application to amend those counts, “regardless of any consistency with the People’s theory before the grand jury” or lack of prejudice to defendant … . People v Solomon, 2022 NY Slip Op 02158, Third Dept 3-31-22
Practice Point: If an element of the crime is that the victim is less than 17, and the indictment and the superior court information have the wrong birth date which puts the victim’s age at more than 17, the indictment and the superior court information are jurisdictionally defective and cannot be amended.