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PHOENIX -- The Arizona Supreme Court said the countdown begins on when criminal defendants must file appeals when a judge pronounces sentence, not when a court clerk files the resulting paperwork.

Lower-court judges had disagreed on whether a man convicted in Pima County of aggravated DUI in 2011 filed his appeal notice within the required 20 days.

Brady Whitman Jr. filed his notice of appeal 19 days after a clerk filed the judge's sentencing order but 21 days after the sentencing.

The Supreme Court's ruling acknowledged that a court rule setting the 20-day deadline is ambiguous but said starting the 20 days with the sentencing is "simple, fair and expedient."

The judges dismissed Whitman's appeal but said he can to file a late appeal because his delay wasn't his fault.

Associated Press,

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