The Court of Appeals, reversing the Appellate Division, determined that, although the pro se inmate-petitioner did not timely file the notice of appeal, the notice was timely served and the Third Department could have exercised discretion to allow a late filing. The matter was remitted because the Third Department’s decision was silent about the reasons for dismissing the appeal:
… [P]etitioner argues that the Appellate Division should have applied a pro se inmate “mailbox rule” to deem the notice of appeal timely filed upon delivery to prison authorities for forwarding to the appropriate court.
CPLR 5515 (1) provides that an appeal is taken when, in addition to being duly served, the notice of appeal is “fil[ed] . . . in the office where the judgment or order of the court of original instance is entered.” The CPLR further clarifies that “papers required to be filed shall be filed with the clerk of the court in which the action is triable” (CPLR 2102 [a]). Thus, by its express terms, the CPLR indicates that filing occurs when the clerk’s office receives the notice of appeal. Indeed, “filing” has long been understood to occur only upon actual receipt by the appropriate court clerk … . A “mailbox rule” for filing would also contravene the clear distinctions between filing and service drawn by the legislature inasmuch as the CPLR directs that, unlike filing, “service by mail shall be complete upon mailing” (CPLR 2103 [b] ). .. * * *
… [T]he legislature has given courts the authority to excuse untimely filing under certain circumstances. CPLR 5520 provides that, “[i]f an appellant either serves or files a timely notice of appeal . . . , but neglects through mistake or excusable neglect to do another required act within the time limited, the court from or to which the appeal is taken . . . may grant an extension of time for curing the omission” (CPLR 5520 [a]). Matter of Miller v Annucci, 2021 NY Slip Op 04954, CtApp 9-9-21