Adam WALSWORTH, Petitioner, v.The SUPERIOR COURT OF SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Respondent; The People, Real Party in Interest.C098517; Filed December 20, 2023
2023 WL 8797474 (Cal.App. 3 Dist.), 1
Summary: The Court of Appeal directed the respondent court to issue an order granting Walsworth’s motion to dismiss his case. He was denied the statutory right to a speedy trial, and there was no good cause for the undue delay.
The Court of Appeal had reversed Walsworth’s conviction and remanded for a new trial, issuing the remittitur on October 27, 2022. Five days later (November 1, 2022), respondent court clerk received the remittitur in the mail. The Court of Appeal held that the remittitur at issue here was deemed filed pursuant to the California Rules of Court when received by the court clerk. Here, nothing substantive was done in respondent court. Thirty-two days after issuing the remittitur (November 28, 2022), Walsworth filed an appeal with the California Department of Corrections (CDCR), claiming his sentence was reversed and he should be released to county custody. CDCR denied the claim because respondent court told CDCR no changes had been made to petitioner’s conviction. Walsworth’s appellate counsel then sent a letter to respondent court inquiring about the status of Walsworth’s new trial and attaching the remittitur. The sentencing judge received this letter 97 days after the Court of Appeal issued the remittitur (on February 1, 2023). The sentencing judge ordered filing of the remittitur on the same day and scheduled an expedited hearing. Walsworth filed a motion to dismiss. The sentencing judge denied the motion, finding no speedy trial violation because the remittitur was filed by the sentencing court on February 1, 2023, and because Walsworth failed to demonstrate actual prejudice. Walsworth petitioned for a writ of mandate to compel respondent court to dismiss his case on the ground that he was not brought to trial within 60 days of the filing of the remittitur. The Court of Appeal issued the writ.
Court’s internal procedures once it receives a remittitur in the mail
Once received, the remittitur is assigned to an appeals clerk at the appeals unit of the clerk’s office. The appeals clerk then enters in two databases the date the remittitur was received and the outcome of the matter. The appeals clerk then places the remittitur in the mailbox for the sentencing judge’s department for “filing.” A copy of the remittitur is also delivered to an exhibits clerk for record keeping.
Here, an appeals clerk received, signed, and dated the remittitur on November 1, 2022. The appeals clerk recorded the signed remittitur in both databases, noting the judgment was reversed and the sentencing judge’s department number. A copy of the remittitur was also delivered to an exhibits clerk, and an acknowledgement of receipt was returned to the Court of Appeal. However, the appeals clerk never delivered the remittitur to the judge’s department.
On November 28, 2022, Walsworth filed an appeal with CDCR claiming that his sentence was reversed, that his matter was remanded for a new trial, and that he should be released to county custody. CDCR denied petitioner’s claim on January 10, 2023, stating: “We contacted [respondent court] and they stated no changes have been made to your conviction since June 11, 2021. We then contacted the District Attorney’s [ ] office in which they said there is currently no future court dates pending. It appears you filed your appeal and they agreed, but the court determines your sentence. We have not received any legal documents from the court to change your current sentence.”
After receiving a letter from Walsworth’s appellate counsel, the sentencing judge ordered filing of the remittitur and scheduled an expedited hearing. Walsworth filed a motion to dismiss for violation of Penal Code section 1382 in early March 2022. Respondent court denied the motion, finding that the 60-day speedy trial period under section 1382 had not passed because the remittitur was filed on February 1, 2023. It also found no violation of petitioner’s constitutional right to a speedy trial because he failed to demonstrate actual prejudice.
Walsworth filed a petition for writ of mandate.
Violation of Penal Code section 1382’s right to be brought to trial within 60-days
The remittitur was filed here on November 1, 2022, when it was received by the appeals clerk. Because petitioner was not brought to trial before December 31, 2022, and no good cause is shown, dismissal is required under section 1382.
Section 1382, subdivision (a)(2) provides: “The court, unless good cause to the contrary is shown, shall order the action to be dismissed … [i]n a felony case, when a defendant is not brought to trial within 60 days … after the filing of the remittitur in the trial court.” “In these circumstances the defendant is not required to make any further showing, and in particular he is not required to make an affirmative showing that he has been prejudiced by the delay.” (Sykes v. Superior Court of Orange County (1973) 9 Cal.3d 83, 89.)
When a document is filed
California Rules of Court, rule 1.20 deems a document filed “on the date it is received by the court clerk” “[u]nless otherwise provided.” California law provided that “ ‘[a] filing of papers is accomplished by depositing with the proper officer at his [or her] office or at any place at which he [or she] is called upon to perform his [or her] duties, the paper which is to be filed.’ ” (People v. Maldonado (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 89, 96.)
“ ‘[W]here a statute or rule requires that papers be filed with the clerk, it is not necessary that they be delivered to the clerk’s main office; it is sufficient if they are deposited with the courtroom clerk in the courtroom or chambers.’ ” (In re Gray (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 1189.)
Section 1382 requires the remittitur be filed with the trial court and the California Rules of Court deem a filing effective when it is received by the court clerk. Respondent court’s local rules have no specific filing requirements for a remittitur. Although respondent court’s internal procedures direct the sentencing judge’s department to file the remittitur, such procedures are not properly promulgated local rules and are not known to the public. The respondent court lacks authority to require filing of the remittitur with the judge’s department. The filing of the remittitur occurred on November 1, 2022, when it was received by the appeals clerk. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 1.20.) Section 1382 was violated when petitioner was not brought to trial before December 31, 2022, the 60th day after the filing of the remittitur.
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