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County Clerk

Records Storage Center & Archives

Criminal Indictments
A Sample Criminal Indictments
Record Series Criminal Indictments
Index Index
Sample of Records View a sample record
Dates 1813-1983
Location Warren County Records Storage & Archives.
Format Consists of legal-sized handwritten or pre-printed with handwritten entries, double-sided, documents reboxed into acid-free enclosures.
Arranged Chronological by File Date
Volume 43.5 cubic ft
Department County Clerk
Legal Restrictions None
Use Restrictions Staff will access all records and must approve all requests for copies
Historical Background Prior to the reorganization of the New York State court system in 1896, all matters of a criminal nature were heard before the Courts of General Sessions (lower criminal) and Oyer & Terminer (higher criminal). According to statute and specific duties, the courts were empowered to inquire into, hear, determine, and hand down punishment suitable to the crime. In Warren County, the very first inquiry or indictment was brought before the Court of General Sessions on Tuesday, September 14, 1813, and was filed later that day with the County Clerk as Clerk of the Courts. In the Peo. v. John Harrison, jurors found sufficient evidence to charge Harrison, a labourer from the Town of Queensbury, with assault and battery on Isaac Farr and several others. Although pleading "not guilty" in answer to the bill, the defendant was later tried and found guilty of the charge, a decision which should have pleased Acting District Attorney D. Russell! Offenses ran the gamut of assault to operation of houses of gambling and ill-repute, to rioting, to murder in the first. From the period 1813-1906, over 1700 criminal indictments were handed down in Warren County courts. A detailed description of the duties of the courts can be found in the Revised Statutes of the State of New York, Vol. II, Part III, Title 4 & 5, 1836.
Description of Record Series Consists of legal-sized handwritten or pre-printed with handwritten entries, double-sided, documents reboxed into acid-free enclosures and including: offense with description of events; names of defendant, District Attorney, Jury Foreman, witnesses; findings of the jury; plea; disposition; court and filing information; a clear and concise statement without unnecessary repetition. Numeric system introduced 1924 to present. A public record (unless sealed under Section 160.5 of Criminal Procedures Law), criminal indictments may also include court's record of commitment. OCA Schedule # 30620 (Predecessor Court Period), 30010 (Felony Case Files), Pre-1950 Permanent.
Purpose of Record Defined as being the official record of a grand jury's determination of whether sufficient cause exists to bring the accused to trial; if found, the indictment must be endorsed as a "true bill" and signed by the jury foreman.
Other Formats Original papers (1890-1946) microfilmed.
Finding Aids Series indexed (computerized & paper) 1814-1906 with name, date, court, offense, document type; index listing 1880-1898, 1899-1907, 1908-1924; court maintains index c. 1925 to present. Series location on inventory database.
Related Series Minutes of the Court of General Sessions and Oyer & Terminer, Criminal Indictments - No Bill, Predecessor Court Actions, Court Actions-Mixed/Post-Predecessor.

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