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Criminal Resource Manual 201 Indictment And Informations
Indictment and Informations
An indictment, as defined in Black's Law Dictionary, is:
An accusation in writing found and presented by a grand jury, legally convoked and sworn, to the court in which it is impaneled, charging that a person therein named has done some act, or been guilty of some omission, which by law is a public offense, punishable on indictment. A formal written accusation originating with a prosecutor and issued by a grand jury against a party charged with a crime. An indictment is referred to as a "true bill," whereas failure to indict is called a "no bill."
Black's Law Dictionary 772 (6th ed. 1990).
An information, has been defined as:
An accusation exhibited against a person for some criminal offense, without an indictment. An accusation in the nature of an indictment, from which it differs only in being presented by a competent public officer on his oath of office, instead of a grand jury on their oath. A written accusation made by a public prosecutor, without the intervention of a grand jury.
Id. at 779. Together with the pleas of guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere, the indictment and information constitute the pleadings in Federal criminal proceedings. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(a).
Updated February 19, 2015