On November 22, 2006, defendant executed in open court a written waiver of his constitutional right to be prosecuted by indictment and consented to be prosecuted instead by a superior court information charging him with first-degree of grand larceny, which requires that the value of the property stolen exceed $ 1 million. More than three months earlier, defendant had been arrested and charged in a felony complaint with second-degree grand larceny, which requires that the value of the property stolen exceed $50,000, and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. The felony complaint charged that defendant was the head of accounts payable at Nina Footwear and had stolen approximately $700,000 from the company by issuing forged checks to himself and a codefendant. Notably, the felony complaint also alleged that defendant had admitted to the police that he had issued the checks in question and forged the signatures. Thereafter, as the minutes of the several proceedings in criminal court prior to November 22 establish, defense counsel and the prosecutor were negotiating a disposition.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said at the outset of the proceedings, defense counsel made clear that defendant had not wanted and did not want to be indicted by a jury. The court noted that a superior court information had been prepared and that the People would proceed to a jury if a disposition was not reached. After the court stated that the felony complaint charged defendant with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Nina Footwear, the prosecutor stated that “since the complaint was drafted, there has been a significant amount discovered on top of that. It is now over 1 million dollars.” The court then outlined on the record the disposition to which the parties had agreed: defendant would plead guilty to a superior court information charging him with first-degree grand larceny in exchange for a prison sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years, pay some $ 100,000 in restitution and consent to the entry of judgment against him in the full amount of the theft, about $1.5 million.
Following discussions between the court and counsel, defendant signed a waiver of indictment form. As required by CPL 195.20, the written waiver of indictment contained a statement by defendant that he was aware that he had the right under the New York State Constitution to be prosecuted by a grand jury indictment, was waiving that right and consenting to be prosecuted by a superior court information, and that the information would be charging the offense specified in the written waiver and have the same force and effect as an indictment filed by the jury. Also as required by CPL 195.20, the written waiver was signed by defendant in open court in the presence of his attorney, and the consent of the District Attorney was endorsed thereon.