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Name: People v. Stiehl
Case #: C066318
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/19/2011

The clerk’s receipt of the criminal information within 15 days after a defendant is held to answer at a preliminary hearing is deemed “filed” and satisfies statutory requirements. The defendant was held to answer at a preliminary hearing on July 14, 2010. The prosecutor’s office delivered the criminal information to the clerk two days later. The information was stamped “received” and placed in one of the defendant’s other case files. On August 18, the mistake in processing was discovered and the information was filed over the defendant’s objection. The motion to dismiss was granted over the prosecution’s argument that the error would have been discovered if the defendant had not failed to appear on his other case. The People appealed the dismissal based on the untimely filing of the information. For the first time on appeal, the prosecution presented an alternative argument that the information should have been deemed “filed” as of the date it was presented to the clerk. This new theory was not deemed forfeited because it was a pure question of law based on the facts appearing in the record. Under a de novo standard of review, the “received” information was deemed filed based on a long-standing principle that the filing of a paper is accomplished by depositing it with the proper officer at the place he is called upon to perform his duties. Reversal was not to the detriment of speedy trial rights, because the information was timely filed.