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Name: In re Gray
Case #: C056083
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/02/2009

Absent a properly promulgated local rule of court dictating otherwise, a criminal defendant may file a notice of appeal with the courtroom clerk of the judge who imposed sentence. Following his conviction by jury trial, but before imposition of sentence, appellant, acting in pro se, filed two notices of appeal. Prior to the sentencing hearing, the appellate court dismissed the appeals as being taken from a nonappealable order; a verdict alone is not a final judgment from which an appeal may be filed. At sentencing, appellant, again representing himself, asked if he could file an appeal with the courtroom clerk, but was told by the judge that an appeal must be filed within 60 days with the appeals unit. Eventually, the case ended up in the California Supreme Court on a petition for writ of habeas corpus, and the Supreme Court ordered the Director of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to show cause why the remittitur that issued following the initial dismissal of the appeal should not be recalled, and why the trial court could not refuse to accept the notice of appeal. The appellate court found there was no valid basis to recall the remittitur, but concluded appellant should be allowed to file a notice of appeal that should be treated as timely filed. As to the question of where the notice of appeal could be filed, because there was no valid local rule in the county that required a notice of appeal to be filed with the appellate unit, appellant was not prohibited from filing the notice with the clerk of the judge who imposed sentence. The court cautioned that its ruling was limited to criminal cases, and that the notice could be filed only with the clerk of the judge who imposed sentenced and not with any superior court clerk.