State v. Lewis

In State v. Lewis, 176 Conn. 270, 407 A.2d 955 (1978), the defendant had been charged with robbery in the second degree. Prior to the start of the trial, the state filed a two part substitute information, charging the defendant with being a persistent felony offender. Id., 271. The defendant was convicted of the robbery count and sentenced under the persistent felony offender statute to an indeterminate term of incarceration, with a maximum allowable penalty of life imprisonment. Id. On appeal, the defendant claimed that the state did not first obtain a grand jury indictment, as was required by article first, 8. Id., 271-72. Stating that "the penalty for a conviction of robbery compounded by a conviction under the persistent felony offender statute could have been life imprisonment"; id., 273; the Court that it was mandatory that the defendant first be indicted by a grand jury before standing trial, and reversed the judgment and remanded the case for resentencing. Id., 272-73. Although the court determined that the state was required to obtain a grand jury indictment under article first, 8, of the Connecticut constitution, and that the defendant could not be sentenced as a persistent dangerous felony offender, the court ruled that that jurisdictional defect did not affect the conviction on the substantive offence and ordered the dismissal of the second part of the information. Id. at 273. In 1982, article seventeen of the amendments to the constitution of Connecticut amended article first, 8, replacing the prior requirement that any defendant accused of committing a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment be charged by way of "an indictment of a grand jury" with the requirement that such prosecutions proceed only upon "probable cause shown at a hearing . . . ."