December 6, 1995
Mr. Samuel Sommer
Woodbourne Correctional Facility
Pouch No. 1
Woodbourne, NY 12788
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your correspondence.
Dear Mr. Sommer:
I have received your letter of November 6 in which you sought advice concerning your right to obtain a copy of an indictment pertaining to you.
According to your letter, you requested a copy of the indictment from the Assistant County Attorney in Suffolk County. Although a copy was provided, you indicated that it was neither signed nor dated. It is your view that a copy of the indictment "is not exempted from rights of conferred by the Freedom of Information Law." You have sought assistance in the matter.
In this regard, §200.50 of the Criminal Procedure Law states in relevant part that an indictment must contain:
"8. The signature of the foreman or acting foreman of the grand jury, except where the accusatory instrument is a superior court information; and
9. The signature of the district attorney."
Additionally, §210.15(1) provides that:
"Upon the defendant's arraignment before a superior court upon an indictment, the court must immediately inform his, or cause him to be informed in its presence, of the charge or charges against him, and the district attorney must cause him to be furnished with a copy of the indictment."
Based upon the foregoing, it appears that the record that you are seeking would have been made available at the time of indictment in 1968. Consequently, I can envision no basis for withholding a copy of the same record now if you no longer possess a copy, if it is sought under the Freedom of Information Law and if it continues to exist.
I hope that I have been of some assistance.
Robert J. Freeman
cc: Derrick Robinson, Assistant County Attorney