When court reporters go bad

The NY Post has this story about a court reporter who typed “I hate my job” over and over again instead of transcribing the courtroom proceedings.

And here’s the story in the NYT.

Which reminds me of something that happened early in my career.  There was a death penalty case that ended up being tried three or four times after being reversed three times (I don’t know if after the third reversal whether it was tried or there was a plea).  I worked on the third appeal along with a really good attorney, Les Alvis.  The transcript was a long time coming.  Three and a half years.  Anyway, when it finally arrived, there were a lot of “inaudibles”  in lieu of testimony.   Hundreds of them.  In trying to reconstruct the record, we did discovery.  The court reporter claimed the tapes had been lost in a hurricane but the dates didn’t add up.  The story we heard was that the court reporter turned out to be very bad at her job.  After the judge she worked for moved on, the transcripts of the cases not yet transcribed were harder and harder to come by.   Arrest warrants issued and the transcripts would show up one by one on the courthouse steps.  We raised the incomplete transcript as an issue on appeal but got it reversed on the same issue it was reversed on the first time – an issue having to do with a lesser included offense instruction.   Here’s the case. See paragraph 31 for a list of the “inaudibles”.  

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