Robert Stark was the auditor-controller of Sutter County. Stark was indicted on various charges of financial misconduct with public money, including charges that he made unauthorized transactions between different county funds. Stark moved to dismiss the indictment, alleging, among other defenses, that he did not know those transactions were unauthorized. The trial court set one charge aside, but proceeded with the remainder. Upon Stark’s petition for a writ reviewing the trial court’s order, the court of appeals ordered six more counts set aside but allowed the remaining charges to proceed. The court of appeals held that for those remaining charges arising from unauthorized behavior, Stark must have known that his actions were without legal authority. The Supreme Court of California granted review to determine the required mental state element for those charges.