State v. Fogel

In State v. Fogel, 16 Ariz. App. 246, 492 P.2d 742 (1972), the defendants allegedly recorded first mortgages on property that were not, in fact, first mortgages. The government charged the defendants with recording a false instrument under section 39-161 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, 4 but argued that the offenses were governed by the statute of limitations for falsification of public records. The Arizona code provided that there was no limitation period for prosecuting a charge of falsifying public records. Id. (citing former Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. 13-106(a)). The court rejected the government's contention that there was no limitation period for recording a false instrument, reasoning: "A statute increasing the period of limitation as to particular crimes is to be construed strictly to apply only to cases shown to be clearly within its purpose. Ever since the 1901 Penal Code, our legislature has recognized two distinct crimes: (1) Offering a forged or false instrument for filing, A.R.S. 39-161; and (2) a falsification by a public officer or any person with public records in his custody as set forth in A.R.S. 38-421." (Id. at 745.)