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Offering False Or Forged Instruments For Filing
Every person who knowingly procures or offers any false or forged instrument to be filed registered or recorded in any public office within this state, which instrument, if genuine, might be filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or the United States, is guilty of violating PC 115.
In order to prove such an offense the prosecution must establish the following elements:
1. The defendant knowingly [procured] [or] [offered] [a false] [or] [forged] instrument to be [filed] [registered] [recorded] in any public office within this state.
2. The instrument, if genuine, could have been filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or of the United States.
3. [If defendant procured the instrument but did not actually offer it for [recording] [filing] [registration] then it must further be proven that the instrument was procured with the specific intent to [record] [file] [or] [register] it.]
4. An instrument is defined as an agreement expressed in writing, signed, and delivered by one person to another, transferring the title to or creating a lien on real property, or giving a right to a debt or duty.
Points and Authorities
Under a reasonable interpretation of the statutory language a specific intent to record the instrument should be required when no actual recordation is attempted.
The term “instrument” is defined in People v. Olf (61) 195 CA2d 97, 110 [15 CR 390]. Under this definition, documents such as a will, unless filed in a probate action, are not within the scope of the statute. (See People v. Garfield(85) 40 C3d 192, 195 [219 CR 196].)
People v. Feinberg (97) 51 CA4th 1566, 1577-79 [60 CR2d 323] held that materiality is not an element of the offense of forgery described in PC 115.
Failure to adequately instruct the jury upon matters relating to proof of any element of the charge and/or the prosecution’s burden of proof thereon violates the defendant’s state (Art. I, § 15 and § 16) and federal (6th and 14th Amendments) constitutional rights to trial by jury and due process. [See generally, FORECITE PG VII(C).]