Requirement of Specificity
The second part of the sufficiency test, apprising the
what he or she must be prepared to meet incorporates the
requirement of the Sixth Amendment. The specificity requirement
insure that a defendant only has to answer to charges actually
the grand jury and not a prosecutor's interpretation of the
the defendant is apprised of the charges against him in order to
preparation of his defense, and that the defendant is protected
double jeopardy. See United States v. Haas,
216 (5th Cir.), reh'g denied, 588 F.2d 829, cert.
U.S. 981 (1978).|
An example of an indictment which failed this test is provided
United States v. Nance, 533 F.2d 699 (D.C. Cir. 1976). The
indictment in Nance charged a false pretense violation pursuant to
Code. It listed the name of each victim, the date of the false
representation, the amount each victim lost, and the date the sum
to the defendants, but was fatally defective as a consequence of
to specify the false representation which induced the victims to
money to the defendants. See also United States v.
F.2d 1493, 1504-05 (10th Cir.)(indictment charging controlling
making them available for storing and distributing cocaine base
because failed to state how control was exercised), cert.
S.Ct. 353 (1993).
The indictment, though, need only satisfy a defendant's
constitutional right to know what he or she is charged with and not
evidentiary details which will be used to establish his commission
offense. See United States v. Blinder, 10 F.3d 1468,
(9th Cir. 1993)(indictment charging RICO violation in omitting
facts sufficient despite lack of detailed explanations of
United States v. Chappell, 6 F.3d 1095, 1099-100 (5th Cir.
1993)(indictment met requirements of alerting defendants to charges
sufficient despite possibility of being more carefully drafted),
denied, 114 S.Ct. 1235 (1994); United States v.
F.2d 535, 547 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, Gispert v. United
States, 445 U.S. 946 (1980).
In determining whether an indictment sufficiently informs the
defendant of the offense, courts give the indictment a common sense
construction. United States v. Drew, 722 F.2d 551, 552-53
1983)(indictments charging defendants with acting knowingly and
sufficient although failing to track statutory language alleging
or fraudulent intent" because, under common sense reading,
informed of charge), cert. denied, 467 U.S. 1216 (1984);
States v. Reed, 721 F.2d 1059, 1061-62 (6th Cir.
charging defendants with conspiring with others sufficient because,
common sense reading, it also charged defendants with conspiring