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Vocapedia > USA > Law, Justice > Prosecution


Prosecutors > Indictment > Counts





The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley

Video        CBS        14 October 2011


Catholic bishop indicted for unreported child abuse


American Catholic bishop Robert Finn,

of the Kansas City, Mo., diocese,

has been indicted for failing to report suspected child abuse.

Michelle Miller reports on the significant charge

- unprecedented in the history of the Catholic Church

in the United States.



























What is a criminal indictment?


All of us have read newspaper headlines

about a person being indicted

for a criminal offense.


What exactly is an indictment,

and what does it do?


An indictment

is a formal accusation of a crime.


While today there are ways to accuse

someone of committing a crime

other than through an indictment,

indictments are still used

in the United States,

especially for federal crimes.


They are used less frequently

in the state court system.


The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

requires that a person cannot be charged

with a capital or otherwise infamous crime

other than by presentment or indictment

by a grand jury.


However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled

that this amendment does not apply to state courts.


Therefore the use of grand juries

is optional for state courts.

- 17 August 2014
















indictment        UK / USA
















































grand jury












Manhattan grand jury












federal grand jury indictment > Bernard B. Kerick’s indictment        2007












grand jury of the county of New York

118-count indictment against  Chinese businessman Li Fang Wei        2009









grand jury of the county of New York

118-count indictment

against Chinese businessman Li Fang Wei > accuse        2009








return an indictment against N




felony abuse indictment






grand jury indictment




























Supreme Court of the State of New York > County of Bronx > Indictment        2007






federal indictment






federal grand jury indictment > charges
























federal grand jury indictment

Bernard B. Kerick’s indictment        2007








laws on grand jury secrecy





an 11-count indictment against N






10-count indictment






waive an indictment







































grand jury > Indict N on felony charges






grand jury > indict the officer on a murder charge,

punishable by life in prison,

and a voluntary manslaughter charge






grand jury > indict six police officers

on homicide and assault charges in the death of N

















be indicted by a federal grand jury










be indicted by a grand jury











be indicted

on charge of abuse of power / on two felony counts






be indicted (...)

by a federal grand jury

on charges of accepting

more than $140,000 in loans and gifts

in exchange for promoting

the business of a political patron

who was seeking special favors

from the state government.






USA > be indicted

on one count of attempted first-degree grand larceny        UK






be indicted

on terror-related charges, including treason





be indicted

on charges of negligent homicide and cruelty to the infirm





be indicted on a perjury charge / be charged with perjury






be indicted on 46 felonies

including murder and attempted murder





be indicted on a charge of tampering

with a governmental record, a felony,

and on a misdemeanor charge

related to purchasing human organs











decline to indict N






bring indictments





money laundering indictment




criminal conspiracy indictment





be indicted by a federal jury

on five felony charges of N





seek felony indictments against N




federal court






one count of obstruction of justice,

two counts of making false statements to F.B.I. investigators

and two counts of lying to the grand jury












charge > murder






be charged

in U.S. District Court / indictment against ... issued by a federal grand jury




be charged with plotting to steal

bone and other tissue from cadavers




plead not guilty to charges outlined in a 471-count indictment




Supreme Court of the State of New York >

County of Bronx > Indictment        2007







be indicted

on terror-related charges, including treason




be indicted on charges

of negligent homicide and cruelty to the infirm









be indicted

by Travis County grand juries

on money laundering and conspiracy charges





be indicted

for conspiracy to commit securities fraud






Bill of Indictment






grand jury > sealed indictment > hand up murder charges against N





be indicted

on 42 counts of insider trading






grand jury transcript
















make false and misleading statements















deny any wrongdoing




plead not guilty

to an indictment on 11 counts relating to N





plead not guilty by reason of insanity




plead not guilty to first-degree manslaughter






plead not guilty to charges of kidnapping and murdering...
















battery charges






more serious charges of aggravated battery






prosecutors > indictment > accuse






 indictment on nine counts,

including malice murder, felony murder

and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.






federal indictment






the 9-count, 41-page racketeering conspiracy indictment






hand down a 10-count indictment against





indictment > unseal






















































serve two years' probation





violate terms of probation










set bail at $15,000





be put up bail of $10,000





be free on $25,000 bail
















file criminal charges





be indicted by a grand jury

on a variety of charges

including violations of civil rights,

criminal harassment, and stalking






be indicted

on charges of negligent homicide and cruelty to the infirm        2006





impanel a grand jury





grand jurors






grand jury appearance










Corpus of news articles


Law, Justice >


Grand jury, Prosecution > Indictment > Counts



Here’s how indictments work

in the United States’ legal system.


March 31, 2023,

10:42 a.m. ET


Maria Cramer

A Manhattan grand jury has indicted Donald J. Trump for his role in paying hush money to an adult film star. That is only the first step in what is likely to be a long legal battle.

An indictment, whether it is handed up in federal or state court, is a formal accusation — not a conviction — and it is among the first moves a prosecutor can make to bring a case to trial.

When a person is indicted in a criminal court in the United States, it means that a grand jury composed of residents chosen at random believed there was enough evidence to charge that person with a crime. Such panels, generally convened by judges at the request of prosecutors, meet for weeks, and can hear evidence in a variety of cases. The judge is not present during grand jury proceedings after the jurors are chosen, and jurors are able to ask the witnesses questions.

Unlike a criminal trial, where a jury has to reach a unanimous verdict, a grand jury can issue an indictment with a simple majority. In this case, there were 23 grand jurors, meaning at least 12 had to agree on an indictment.

Grand jurors hear evidence and testimony only from prosecutors and the witnesses that they choose to present. They do not hear from the defense or usually from the person accused, unlike in a criminal trial where proceedings are adversarial. (Defendants in New York have the right to answer questions in front of the grand jury before they are indicted, but they rarely testify. Mr. Trump declined.) That one-sided arrangement often leads defense lawyers to minimize indictments and argue that prosecutors could persuade jurors to “indict a ham sandwich,” a proverbial phrase that former Vice President Mike Pence used on CNN Thursday night.

As in other criminal cases, the exact charges against Mr. Trump are under seal and will not be revealed until he is brought to Manhattan Criminal Court for a formal arraignment, which is expected to happen on Tuesday.

At that point, the indictment will be unsealed, initiating the case’s next phase. Prosecutors will share their evidence with defense attorneys, who often ask a judge to dismiss the case on various legal grounds.

A trial is not guaranteed and may not be scheduled for months, as both sides will most likely argue over the merits of the case and what evidence can be presented to a jury.

Here’s how indictments work in the United States’ legal system,
March 31, 2023,
10:42 a.m. ET,

Parent page:






Too Big to Indict


December 11, 2012
The New York Times


It is a dark day for the rule of law. Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system. They also have not charged any top HSBC banker in the case, though it boggles the mind that a bank could launder money as HSBC did without anyone in a position of authority making culpable decisions.

Clearly, the government has bought into the notion that too big to fail is too big to jail. When prosecutors choose not to prosecute to the full extent of the law in a case as egregious as this, the law itself is diminished. The deterrence that comes from the threat of criminal prosecution is weakened, if not lost.

In the HSBC case, prosecutors may want the public to focus on the $1.92 billion settlement, which includes forfeiture of $1.26 billion and other penalties, as well as requirements to improve its internal controls and submit to the oversight of an outside monitor for the next five years. But even large financial settlements are small compared with the size of international major banks. More important, once criminal sanctions are considered off limits, penalties and forfeitures become just another cost of doing business, a risk factor to consider on the road to profits.

There is no doubt that the wrongdoing at HSBC was serious and pervasive. Several foreign banks have been fined in recent years for flouting United States sanctions against transferring money through American subsidiaries on behalf of clients in countries like Iran, Sudan and Cuba. HSBC’s actions were even more egregious. According to several law enforcement officials with knowledge of the inquiry, prosecutors found that, for years, HSBC had also moved tainted money from Mexican drug cartels and Saudi banks with ties to terrorist groups.

Those findings echo those of a Congressional report, issued in July, which said that between 2001 and 2010, HSBC exposed the American “financial system to money laundering and terrorist financing risks.” Prosecutors and Congressional investigators were also alarmed by indications that senior HSBC officials might have been complicit in the illegal activity and that the bank did not tighten its lax controls against money laundering even after repeated urgings from federal officials.

Yet government officials will argue that it is counterproductive to levy punishment so severe that a bank could be destroyed in the process. That may be true as far as it goes. But if banks operating at the center of the global economy cannot be held fully accountable, the solution is to reduce their size by breaking them up and restricting their activities — not shield them and their leaders from prosecution for illegal activities.

Too Big to Indict,






No Charges for Officer

in Killing of Man, 68


May 3, 2012
The New York Times


A grand jury voted not to indict a White Plains police officer who shot and killed a 68-year-old former correction officer and former Marine in his apartment last November, the Westchester County district attorney said Thursday.

District Attorney Janet DiFiore called the shooting “a tragedy on many levels.” But she said the grand jury had concluded that “there was no reasonable cause” to indict Officer Anthony Carelli, who fired the shot that killed the victim, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.

Officer Carelli and several other officers were sent to Mr. Chamberlain’s apartment after his medical-alert pendant went off and he did not respond to a call from a medical-alert agency operator.

After Ms. DiFiore announced the grand jury’s decision, the White Plains police released more than 200 pages of documents about the encounter, along with audio and video recordings made as it unfolded. In one report, Officer Stephen Demchuk described Mr. Chamberlain as “acting irrational” when the police arrived and said he stuck an eight-inch butcher knife through a crack in the door.

Mr. Chamberlain made “continuous slashing motions towards my head and face,” said Officer Demchuk, who was ordered to break down the door, but added that Mr. Chamberlain held it shut “with the assistance of a chair.”

The officers eventually broke down the front door. Four officers entered and tried to subdue Mr. Chamberlain, first with a Taser weapon, then with a shotgun loaded with beanbag-type ammunition intended to disable someone without causing serious injury. Officer Demchuk said Officer Carelli fired his .40-caliber pistol when Mr. Chamberlain went after another police officer “with the butcher knife raised.”

Mr. Chamberlain’s family issued a statement saying they were “profoundly saddened” that the grand jury had not found reason to charge Officer Carelli. Lawyers for the family said they would ask the Justice Department to investigate the case.

David E. Chong, the White Plains public safety commissioner, whose department oversees the police, said an internal review would now be finished.

Andrew C. Quinn, a lawyer for Officer Carelli, did not return a call seeking comment.

Ms. DiFiore said the grand jury had heard from 42 witnesses, 21 of whom were civilians — including the emergency room physician who examined Mr. Chamberlain.

Ms. DiFiore said that one officer, who was not identified, used a racial epithet outside the first-floor apartment. “The use of a racial epithet in any context is offensive to the dignity of all of us,” she said. When spoken by a police officer, she added, “It’s intolerable.” But she said the grand jury had not found it to be criminal. Mr. Chamberlain was black. Officer Carelli is white, The Associated Press has reported.

The episode began when Mr. Chamberlain, who could not walk more than a short distance without becoming short of breath, apparently set off his medical-alert pendant accidentally. (An autopsy showed later that his blood-alcohol level was 0.11.)

Responding to the alarm signal, the system operator tried to establish contact using a two-way speaker in the apartment. “Mr. Chamberlain, are you O. K.?” the operator asked.

When he did not reply, the operator arranged for an ambulance. Patrol cars were also sent.

Randolph M. McLaughlin, a lawyer for Mr. Chamberlain’s family, disputed the police account. He said Mr. Chamberlain had not thrust a knife at Officer Demchuk’s face, as he described, although Mr. McLaughlin said video, which had been recorded by cameras in the officers’ Taser weapons, showed “a metal object coming out” from behind the door.

He also said that Officer Carelli fired his pistol immediately after the shotgun with the beanbag ammunition had been fired. “The shots are beanbag, beanbag, beanbag, gun,” he said. “They weren’t giving him a chance, or themselves, or react.”

The documents the police released on Thursday indicated that the officers insisted on going in because they believed someone else might have been in the apartment. They had heard Mr. Chamberlain talking to someone — someone he addressed, according to one of the police reports, as “Mr. President.”


Michael Powell contributed reporting.

    No Charges for Officer in Killing of Man, 68, NYT, 3.5.2012,






After Decades,

Charges in 2 Manhattan Murders


January 26, 2011
The New York Times


One victim, Cornelia Michel Crilley, was a Trans World Airlines flight attendant who was raped and strangled in her Upper East Side apartment in 1971; the other, Ellen Jane Hover, an aspiring orchestra conductor who disappeared one summer day in 1977 — and whose remains were found nearly a year later on the Rockefeller estate in Westchester County.

The two women, both 23 at the time of their deaths, most likely did not know each other. But according to law enforcement officials, they had at least one connection: both were killed by Rodney Alcala, a photographer and one-time contestant on “The Dating Game” who is on death row in California for killing a 12-year-old girl and four women in the late 1970s. He has been in prison there since 1980.

A grand jury in Manhattan has indicted Mr. Alcala, 67, on charges that he murdered Ms. Crilley and Ms. Hover, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the case. The Manhattan district attorney’s office would not comment on the indictment. Mr. Alcala may also have been involved in other killings, officials say.

One of Ms. Hover’s relatives said she was gratified at the expected indictment.

“For the longest time, it was a foregone conclusion that he would never be charged for her murder,” said Sheila Weller, a cousin of Ms. Hover. “This is a terrific surprise.”

But Leon Borstein, who was Ms. Crilley’s boyfriend and said he was with the police when they discovered her body in her apartment, said he did not see the point of prosecuting a serial killer already on death row.

“All it does is entertain him, and it doesn’t do anything for us,” Mr. Borstein said. “He gets to fly out to New York, meet with his lawyers, sit in a courtroom for days on end. It certainly alleviates the boredom of sitting in a jail cell.”

For more than three decades, the killings of Ms. Crilley and Ms. Hover remained unsolved. It is unclear when detectives in New York became interested in Mr. Alcala — who lived in New York in the early 1970s, attended New York University under an alias and worked as a photographer — as a possible suspect. Law enforcement officials would not say. But a former boyfriend of Ms. Hover’s said in an interview that the police told him two weeks after her 1977 disappearance that a man with California connections might be involved.

In 2003, New York police detectives investigating the Crilley murder went to California with a warrant to interview Mr. Alcala and get a dental impression from him, said Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman. Mr. Alcala, who was in prison for the murders in California, initially denied that he had ever visited New York. But after the police presented him with the warrant, he responded, “What took you so long?” Mr. Browne said.

A forensic dentist later issued an opinion that a bite mark on Ms. Crilley’s body was consistent with Mr. Alcala’s impression, a law enforcement official said.

While investigating Ms. Crilley’s murder, detectives with the Police Department’s Cold Case Squad learned that Mr. Alcala had used an alias, John Berger, when he was living in New York, Mr. Browne said. They later found that name in the file folder for Ms. Hover’s case, he said.

Ms. Weller said her cousin had an appointment with the man to take pictures before she disappeared.

Last year, the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., opened a cold case unit to review thousands of unsolved murders, and the cases of Ms. Crilley and Ms. Hover were among those the office reviewed. The district attorney’s office would not discuss its role in the investigation, but, speaking generally, Mr. Vance said in a statement, “Cold cases are not forgotten cases.”

Later in 2010, after the police released dozens of photographs of young women that were found in a storage locker that Mr. Alcala kept in Seattle in 1979 to see if there were other victims, several women came forward claiming that a photographer named John Berger had taken their picture in New York in the 1970s.

The trove also included items from the victims in the California cases, who were killed from 1977 to 1979. They were all sexually assaulted and strangled or beaten to death. Their cases were solved largely with DNA evidence, and, after a lengthy legal process in which murder convictions against Mr. Alcala were overturned twice, he was convicted there on a retrial in February 2010. Prosecutors presented evidence that Mr. Alcala would approach young women and ask to take their picture as a way to lure them.

Mr. Alcala’s violent offenses date back more than four decades, the authorities said. In 1968, he kidnapped, beat and molested an 8-year-old girl in Los Angeles County, and was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most-wanted list, the authorities said. He became a camp counselor in New Hampshire but was arrested after someone noticed his picture on a flier at the post office. He was turned over to the police in Los Angeles, and was convicted in 1972. He was paroled after 34 months.

When not incarcerated, Mr. Alcala, whom the authorities have described as highly intelligent, assumed the life of a freewheeling bachelor. In 1978, he was “Bachelor No. 1” on an episode of “The Dating Game,” and the host described him as “a successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed,” according to a YouTube video of the show. “Between takes, you might find him sky-diving or motorcycling.”

Wearing a brown bell-bottom suit and a shirt with a butterfly collar, the long-haired Mr. Alcala won the contest, charming the bachelorette with sexual innuendo. The woman later decided not to go on the date with him because she found him disturbing, according to several news reports.

Mr. Borstein, Ms. Crilley’s boyfriend, said she was “funny and full of life,” with long brown hair and an infectious smile. The details of her murder are still fresh in his memory. He was working as a Brooklyn homicide prosecutor at the time, and he spent most nights with the police interviewing witnesses for his cases.

When Ms. Crilley’s mother called to tell him her daughter was missing, he went with the police to her apartment. “They found her dead body inside,” he said. “They asked if I would identify the body, and I said no. I didn’t want to see her like that.”

He said he did not know why the investigation had stalled for so many years; as Ms. Crilley’s boyfriend, he said, he became a suspect, and his friends in the Police Department did not share information with him.

Ms. Hover’s disappearance drew the attention of the national press, in part because her father, once a Hollywood nightclub owner, rubbed elbows with celebrities. Her godfathers were Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin. Her mother and stepfather hired a private detective to work on the case.

Bruce Ditnes, who had dated Ms. Hover, recalled hanging up posters with her picture near her Midtown apartment in 101-degree weather after she was reported missing. He said she had long black hair down to her waist and “gorgeous brown eyes.” He said he was not surprised that she had caught Mr. Alcala’s eye.

“Ellen would literally cause traffic accidents,” he said. “We would walk into restaurants, and people would spill things on themselves.”


John Eligon and William K. Rashbaum

contributed reporting.

    After Decades, Charges in 2 Manhattan Murders, NYT, 26.1.2011,






Arraignment Set for Clemens


August 26, 2010
The New York Times


Officials at the federal courthouse in Washington said Thursday that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens would be arraigned Monday afternoon on criminal charges.

Clemens will appear before United States District Judge Reggie Walton to answer charges of lying to Congress about his use of steroids.

Clemens was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on charges that he lied during his testimony in a nationally televised hearing in February 2008 before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform when he said that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs.

The 48-year-old Clemens was charged with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress. Under current sentencing guidelines, a conviction would most likely bring a 15- to 21-month sentence.

    Arraignment Set for Clemens, NYT, 26.8.2010,






Qaeda Leader Indicted

in New York Subway Plot


July 7, 2010
The New York Times


Meeting with violent Salvadoran gangs in Honduras. Seeking radioactive material at a university in Hamilton, Ontario. Running an import-export business and teaching English — wife and child in tow — in Morocco. Hiding out in Suriname.

These are just some of the points of interest on the trail — or, to be more precise, the rumored trail — of an American citizen who spent part of his youth in Brooklyn, went to college in Florida and has long been on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most-wanted list, a senior Qaeda operative who over the last seven years has been portrayed as part wraith, part James Bond, and large-scale bogeyman.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn formally named that citizen, Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah, in an official case, charging him with crimes that the authorities say were all too real: the bomb plot last summer to attack three New York City subway lines and what they said was a related plot, one that British authorities said included a plan to blow up a shopping center in Manchester, England.

According to a Justice Department news release announcing the charges, Mr. Shukrijumah, 34, was one of a panel of three men overseeing Al Qaeda’s efforts to carry out attacks in the United States and other Western countries.

And in that role, he helped recruit three young men for the subway plot — men who had attended high school together in New York City and had traveled to the tribal areas in Pakistan for terror training, the news release said.

A Saudi-born naturalized American, the elusive Mr. Shukrijumah was the focus of intense attention in the months after the 9/11 attacks because of his citizenship, his knowledge of the United States and, eventually, the realization that he was tied to senior Qaeda operatives and possibly involved in a dirty-bomb plot. United States officials have offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his capture.

But he seemed to drop off the radar screens of law enforcement and intelligence agencies about five years ago, and quickly became the subject of rumors. For a period of time, was reportedly sighted in locales including Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, southern Florida and Yemen. He remains at large, officials said, and some experts believe that he has long been in hiding in the tribal areas, discounting the myriad sightings reported elsewhere around the globe.

“He very much disappeared,” said Evan F. Kohlmann, a veteran terrorism analyst with Flashpoint Global Partners in New York who has consulted for the government, referring to Mr. Shukrijumah. “There were reports of him surfacing all over the place, but I don’t believe he was ever there. I believe he was back in Waziristan, which is the only safe place he could hide.”

The 10-count indictment charges Mr. Shukrijumah and three other men with a range of crimes in connection with the New York subway plot, which prosecutors say Mr. Shukrijumah helped organize, and the planned attack in Manchester.

It supplements an earlier indictment brought in Brooklyn charging the three men he recruited for the subway plot, including Najibullah Zazi, whom prosecutors identified as a central figure in that planned attack.

Both Mr. Zazi and a second defendant, Zarein Ahmedzay, 25, have been cooperating with the F.B.I. and federal prosecutors and probably provided some of the information that led to the new indictment. The third defendant, Adis Medunjanin, 26, plans to go to trial.

The new charges include conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiring and attempting to commit an act of terrorism across national boundaries, conspiring to provide and providing material support to Al Qaeda and other terrorism-related crimes.

The new charges for the first time link the subway plot with a planned Qaeda attack in Britain and contain the government’s most detailed account to date on the development of the subway conspiracy and the identities of its authors in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

It also describes how Rashid Rauf and Saleh al-Somali — who prosecutors say were then responsible along with Mr. Shukrijumah for planning Qaeda attacks in the United States and other Western countries — communicated from the tribal areas through “an Al Qaeda facilitator” in Peshawar, Pakistan. Both Mr. Rauf and Mr. al-Somali have since been killed in United States drone strikes in the tribal areas, according to officials.

The facilitator, according to the authorities, used the same e-mail account to send coded messages to Mr. Zazi, in Denver and New York, and one of the accused Manchester plotters, Abid Naseer, in Britain.

The facilitator, who was identified in the indictment only as Ahmad or Zahid, was also charged.

The indictment was filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, where it is being prosecuted by the office of Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Mr. Naseer was one of 11 men — 10 of them Pakistanis — arrested in April 2009 by British authorities who were investigating the Manchester plot in one of that nation’s most extensive counterterrorism operations since the 9/11 attacks. A fourth defendant in the new indictment, Tariq Ur Rehman, who was arrested at the same time as Mr. Nasser and later deported, is also at large. Mr. Naseer, who fought deportation, was arrested on Wednesday and is currently in custody in Britain. The United States intends to seek his extradition.

    Qaeda Leader Indicted in New York Subway Plot, NYT, 7.7.2010,






50-Shot Barrage

Leads to Charges for 3 Detectives


March 17, 2007

The New York Times



A grand jury voted yesterday to indict three city police detectives — two black men and a white man — in the killing of an unarmed 23-year-old black man who died in a burst of 50 police bullets outside a Queens strip club hours before he was to be wed last year, defense lawyers and police union leaders said last night.

The jury charged two of the detectives — Gescard F. Isnora, an undercover officer who fired the first shot, and Michael Oliver, who fired 31 shots — with manslaughter, two people with direct knowledge of the case said. The third detective, Marc Cooper, who fired four shots, faces a lesser charge of reckless endangerment, those two people said.

Detectives Isnora and Cooper are black; Detective Oliver is white. They were among five police officers who fired into a gray Nissan Altima carrying the bridegroom, Sean Bell, and two friends during a chaotic confrontation in Jamaica early on the morning of Nov. 25. Neither Mr. Bell nor his friends, both of whom were wounded, were armed, although the police officers apparently believed that they were.

The grand jury reached its decision after three days of deliberations and nearly two months of hearing evidence in an emotionally charged case whose stark outlines — five officers firing 50 bullets at three unarmed men who had been out celebrating — prompted an outpouring of anger in some minority communities, and widespread comparisons to the death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African street peddler who was felled by 19 of 41 police officers’ bullets fired at him in 1999.

The grand jurors, who dispersed into the wintry afternoon yesterday, indicted the three officers on less-serious charges than the second-degree murder charges filed against the four police officers who shot Mr. Diallo. All four were acquitted.

It was unclear whether Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, sought the indictment of the other two officers who fired at Mr. Bell, Detective Paul Headley, 35, who fired one shot, and Officer Michael Carey, 26, who fired three shots. All five of the officers testified voluntarily before the grand jury without immunity from prosecution.

Mr. Brown scheduled a news conference on Monday morning. Lawyers for the indicted detectives said they had been told to have the men surrender on Monday — the next day that State Supreme Court in Queens is in session. Mr. Brown’s office, which would not confirm the indictments, said the grand jury’s decision had to remain sealed until at least one officer was formally charged in court.

The person with direct knowledge of the case who said Detectives Isnora and Oliver faced manslaughter charges did not know if they were first- or second-degree counts. Second-degree manslaughter is defined as recklessly causing the death of another person. First-degree manslaughter is defined as causing the death of a person while intending to cause serious physical injury to that person or causing the death of a third person under those circumstances. The three officers may also face additional lesser charges.

Some leaders in the black community expressed muted optimism as news of the indictments spread late yesterday, while others felt the indictments did not go far enough. In Jamaica, some detected a sense of relief that at least some of the officers would face charges.

“As long as I know that somebody got something, I can live with that,” said Bishop Lester Williams, who was to officiate at Mr. Bell’s wedding on the day he died. “I have some degree of relief.”

If there had been no indictments, he said, “you have groups out there that would not have been calm. The youth of this city would have responded.”

Lawyers for the indicted officers criticized the grand jury’s action.

Philip E. Karasyk, who represents Detective Isnora, said, “Obviously, my client is upset, and he’s looking forward to having his day in court, and we’re all confident he will be vindicated.”

Paul P. Martin, a lawyer for Detective Cooper, 39, said: “I am disappointed with the grand jury’s decision, but this is just the first stage of a long process, and I am confident that once all the facts are considered by a jury of Detective Cooper’s peers that he will be exonerated of all charges.”

James J. Culleton, the lawyer for Detective Oliver, said the indictment “was not unexpected — a grand jury presentation is one-sided,”

"I firmly believe that he will be found not guilty," he said of Detective Oliver, 35, who, with Detective Isnora, 28, were considered the most vulnerable to criminal charges. Detective Oliver fired far and away the most bullets, emptying one magazine, reloading and emptying a second, and Detective Isnora opened fire first, touching off the 50-shot barrage. Detective Isnora fired 11 shots, emptying his gun.

Michael J. Palladino, the president of the Detectives Endowment Association, confirmed the indictments but said he did not know the charges and would not know them until Monday, when they were unsealed.

“I know the grand jury worked very long and very hard on this particular case,” Mr. Palladino said at a late-afternoon press conference, surrounded by officials of his association. “I respect their decision. However I firmly disagree with the decision to indict these officers.”

Mr. Palladino predicted that the jury’s vote would have a chilling effect on police officers in the city and nationwide.

“The message that’s being sent now is that even though you’re acting in good faith, in pursuit of your lawful duties, there is no room, no margin for error,” he said.

Stephen C. Worth, a lawyer for Officer Michael Carey, described the moment he learned his client had not been indicted:

Mr. Worth said he got a call from Charles Testagrossa, the prosecutor who presented evidence to the grand jury, who “told me there was no true bill as to my guy.”

“Obviously,” he said, ”we are gratified by the grand jury’s decision as to Mike, and I have always believed that he acted professionally on the night of this incident.”

Police Department procedures call for the suspension of officers who are charged with a crime, and the three detectives will be ordered to surrender their shields; all five officers are already on paid leave without their weapons. Those who are suspended will be unpaid.

If indictments of police officers are unusual, convictions are even more so. Many saw a jury’s decision to acquit the officers who opened fire on Mr. Diallo after a two-month trial as a firm rejection of the powerful charges against them. In recent years in New York City, Bryan Conroy, a police officer who shot a peddler in a Chelsea warehouse had faced second-degree manslaughter charges, but was convicted of the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide by a judge, who sentenced him to probation.

The detectives indicted in the Bell case were in a larger group seeking prostitution arrests outside the Club Kalua, a topless bar in Jamaica that had been plagued by narcotics and prostitution activity, under-age drinking and guns.

Detective Isnora had trailed Mr. Bell’s party, which was broken into two groups of four men, believing that Joseph Guzman, one of Mr. Bell’s companions, had a gun and was about to use it, according to a person familiar with the detective’s account.

The detective approached Mr. Bell’s car. But Mr. Bell drove forward, clipping him, and then hit a police minivan, backed up, nearly hitting the detective again and slammed into the minivan a second time, the police have said.

Detective Isnora, with his shield around his neck, said he opened fire, according to the person familiar with his account. This led to the fusillade of shots, with some of the officers apparently believing that their colleagues’ muzzle flashes were those of assailants.

Mr. Bell was killed as he sat in the driver’s seat. Trent Benefield, 23, who was in the passenger seat, was struck three times, in the leg and buttock, and Mr. Guzman, 31, who was in a back seat, had at least 11 bullet wounds along his right side, from his neck to his feet.

Like the officers, the wounded men told their stories before the grand jury.

Protests that followed the shooting were mostly peaceful. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg convened a meeting of black religious leaders and elected officials at City Hall. He emerged from it calling the circumstances “inexplicable” and “unacceptable,” and said, “It sounds to me like excessive force was used.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s quick reaction was viewed as a salve to the situation and a turnabout from the approach of his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who did not reach out to black leaders in the immediate aftermath of the fatal shooting of Mr. Diallo.

The panel of grand jurors began its work on Jan. 22 and met as often as three times a week in an auditorium-style room in an office building in Kew Gardens.

The officers testified in the reverse order of the number of rounds they fired: Detective Headley and Officer Carey testified on March 5; Detectives Cooper and Isnora, testified on March 7; and Friday last week, Detective Oliver testified in the zenith of the process.

Deliberations seemed to move slowly and in fits and starts. After Mr. Testagrossa read the charge — the instructions on the law that the panel had to consider as it weighed the evidence — the panelists were left alone to deliberate.


Reporting was contributed by Cara Buckley,

Diane Cardwell, Jim Dwyer,

Manny Fernandez, Colin Moynihan

and William K. Rashbaum.

50-Shot Barrage Leads to Charges for 3 Detectives,










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