State v. Buckley

In State v. Buckley, 153 Ariz. 91, 93, 734 P.2d 1047, 1049 (App. 1987), no information was filed, but the record contained both a complaint clearly stating the nature and elements of the offense with which the defendant was charged, and a signed plea agreement which by its terms amended and superseded any prior charging documents. Id. at 94, 734 P.2d at 1050. No preliminary hearing was held in Buckley because the defendant had waived his right to such a hearing. Id. Though the Court recognized the general rule that the filing of an information is required to confer subject matter jurisdiction, we held that the other filed documents, taken together, satisfied the purposes of the information requirement. Id. The defendant did not allege lack of notice, and the complaint and plea agreement clearly stated the nature of the offense charged. Id. The complaint and plea agreement therefore gave the defendant notice of, and sufficiently protected him from double jeopardy for, the charges to which he pled guilty and for which he was sentenced. Id. Accordingly, the Court held that any error was technical only, and that the documents of record cumulatively constituted the equivalent of an information and conferred subject matter jurisdiction on the superior court. Id. This approach comports with Article 6, Section 27 of the Arizona Constitution, which provides: "No cause shall be reversed for technical error in pleadings or proceedings when upon the whole case it shall appear that substantial justice has been done."