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Court Reporting Snafus: How Shoddy Reporting Can Ruin Cases

Court Reporting Snafus: How Shoddy Reporting Can Ruin Cases

A court reporter is entrusted with the responsibility of recording, verbatim, the ongoings of legal proceedings.  In any instance that the judge, jury or legal counsel require facts about who said what in the duration of the case, or any time after, they need to be able to turn to the court reporter’s transcript for an exact written recording.

The necessity of perfect transcripts, provided in a timely manner, for the appeals process, as well as the issues of ownership of the legal documents are biggest snafus in the court reporting arena.

Court cases cannot be appealed without perfect transcripts; every word matters.  If a court reporter’s transcript is incomplete, an extremely important piece of evidence could be missing.  An incomplete transcript is very likely going to slow up the appeals process.

The Trial of Darlie Lynn Routier

When Texan Darlie Lynn Routier was found guilty of murdering her child in 1997, her lawyers filed for appeal.  It took stenographer Sandra Halsey over a year to finish the 15,000 page document, which contained mistakes and missing information.

The court reporter’s procrastination and shoddy transcripts held the appeal process up for over three years.

Justice Might Not Be Served Without Proper Transcripts (source)

Justice Might Not Be Served Without Proper Transcripts (source)

Court reporters are freelance employees.  This is a benefit to the state because it alleviates the necessity of government salary and benefits, though it brings an important snafu to light:  the court reporter owns the transcripts of the legal proceedings.

Though the court reporter supplies the legal staff with copies of the transcripts, they are paid a per page transcription fee.  Also, in the slim chance that the stenographer no longer has the transcript files, an entire case can be lost – literally.

Nancy Currie – Computer Error or Shoddy Reporting?

In a 2010 case against a bail bondsman, Attorney Trevor Theilen’s court appointed stenographer was Nancy Currie.  When Theilen lost the case, he contacted Currie for a copy of the transcript to file an appeal.

Currie was also responsible for transcripts in Attorney Thelma Clardy’s civil case.  Currie, because of computer crash, was unable to deliver transcripts crucial to the case.  Currie lost her license because of this infraction.

This loss of license made Currie unable to legally produce the transcripts Theilen needed for his appeal.  With no written transcripts of the case, it was as if the case never happened.  He was back to square one in the whole legal process.

Court Reporters Are Often Responsible For 15,000 Page Transcripts(source)

Court Reporters Are Often Responsible For 15,000 Page Transcripts
(source)

Shoddy reporting can damage a case when information is inaccurate or incomplete.  Also, the possibility of a court reporter not producing transcripts or loosing the files can ruin a court case.  Choose your Philadelphia court reporter wisely, they can determine the outcome of your case’s future.

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