Prisoner Mailbox Rule
The prisoner mailbox rule, as applied to appeals, is "that a pro se prisoner is deemed to have filed his notice of appeal at the time it is delivered, properly addressed, to the proper prison authorities to be forwarded to the clerk of the superior court." Mayer v. State, 184 Ariz. 242, 245, 908 P.2d 56, 59 (App. 1995).
See also State v. Goracke, 210 Ariz. 20, 23,13, 106 P.3d 1035, 1038 (App. 2005) (extending the prisoner mailbox rule to petitions for review).
The "prison mailbox rule" was articulated by the United States Supreme Court in Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 270, 108 S. Ct. 2379, 101 L. Ed. 2d 245 (1988) (holding that for purposes of complying with time limit for filing notice of appeal, the date a pro se prisoner gives a notice of appeal to prison authorities is deemed the filing date).
In Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 101 L. Ed. 2d 245, 108 S. Ct. 2379 (1988), the Court applied the prisoner mailbox rule to an incarcerated petitioner's pleading. It held:
The pro se prisoner has no choice but to entrust the forwarding of his notice of appeal to prison authorities whom he cannot control or supervise and who may have every incentive to delay. . . . a prisoner's control over the processing of his notice necessarily ceases as soon as he hands it over to the only public officials to whom he has access -- the prison authorities -- and the only information he will likely have is the date he delivered the notice to those prison authorities and the date ultimately stamped on his notice. Id. at 271-72.