New York CPL 100.40 - Interpretation

In People v. Alejandro, 70 N.Y.2d 133, 137-38, 511 N.E.2d 71, 517 N.Y.S.2d 927 (NY 1987), the defendant was charged with resisting arrest, tried before a jury and "convicted on the basis of a misdemeanor information which set forth no factual allegations establishing that the police officer was effecting an authorized arrest. " 70 N.Y.2d at 134. The court held that the failure to comply with the "prima facie case" requirement for facial sufficiency in CPL 100.40(1)(c) and 100.15(3) was a jurisdictional defect and overturned the conviction. Id. at 139. CPL section 100.40, addressing the facial sufficiency of an information, provides: An information, or a count thereof, is sufficient on its face when: It substantially conforms to the requirements prescribed in section 100.15; and The allegations of the factual part of the information, together with those of any supporting depositions which may accompany it, provide reasonable cause to believe that the defendant committed the offense charged in the accusatory part of the information; and Non-hearsay allegations of the factual part of the information and/or any supporting depositions establish, if true, every element of the offense charged and the defendant's commission thereof. The Court of Appeals explained that "CPL section 100.40(1) establishes three conditions for the facial sufficiency of an information. " Alejandro, 70 N.Y.2d at 136-37. In focusing on section 100.40(1)(c), the court stated that "an information must, for jurisdictional purposes, contain nonhearsay factual allegations sufficient to establish a prima facie case." Id. at 138. The court explained that for an information to be facially sufficient, "every element of the offense charged and the defendant's commission thereof must be supported by non-hearsay allegations." Id. at 139. The absence of facial sufficiency is grounds for dismissal of the accusatory instrument; because the prosecution had failed to allege facts showing the arrest was authorized, the conviction was overturned. Id. at 135.