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What options do I have available if the court reporter fabricates the court transcripts?

Pasadena, CA |

I have ordered several court transcripts for hearings that took place during the litigation of my civil case(motion hearings, etc.). If I noticed that the transcripts are not accurate to the point of fabrication, what can I do in this case?

Any advice is appreciated...

I understand that you can't give legal advice and I actually meant to say that I would appreciate if you let me know what legal options are available in a situation like this...thanks

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

You have no options unfortunately. If you have gotten to the point of just now ordering transcripts and the trial has concluded, you are out of luck. If you noticed errors to the point of fabrication in something approaching real time you might have had a chance (a miniscule chance) to have the Court take some corrective action. Retrospectively, once the transcript has been certified by the court reporter and the case has been concluded -- you are done.

If the case is still pending and there are audio recordings of some of the proceedings, your attorney _might_ be able to get the Judge to allow a new transcript to be prepared. If the audio recordings are _perfect_ your attorney might get the Judge to have the new transcript certified. If that happens, your attorney might get the Judge to reconsider or re-argue _some_ of the dispositive motions. Since you are here asking for advice, I would infer that you did not (or do not now) have an attorney. Without an attorney to assist, you are done.

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Good luck!

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Asker

Posted

the trial is not until november...so there is plenty of time left. would it make sense though that I go to the same judge (where this happened) and ask him to review the transcripts? what if the judge has something to do with this??

Robert M Lorey

Robert M Lorey

Posted

No. The Judge is not going to review the transcripts unless you have an _objective_ record of what actually happened. No Judge would accept his or her own notes, or certainly not your notes, of what happened over a certified transcript. If there is an objective record you have a slim chance of getting a new transcript prepared. If there not an objective record of the proceedings already conducted, you are done. The Court Reporter is there in the building on a daily basis, works with all the Judges and is a "repeat player" in the judicial system. They are under oath to truly and accurately prepare a transcript of the proceedings to the best of their abilities. Typically the court reporting personnel are either long-standing employees or work for a company which is of long-standing itself. No Court in the world is going to take a pro se litigant's word about what happened in Court over a sworn transcript prepared by a court reporter. The odds of this actually occurring are on par with your odds of being killed by falling space debris -- zero. The Judge had nothing to do with the perceived errors in the transcript. No Judge is going to risk their career, their reputation and their freedom to permit or to allow false transcripts to be prepared and certified. No matter what facts you think are being suppressed, this is not "Seven Days of the Condor" or "Law and Order." The Judge has way better things to do than to mess about with falsifying transcripts of proceedings. To suggest otherwise would be to label yourself as a crazy person and would likely get your case dismissed (best case) or have yourself held in contempt of court and maybe forcibly medicated. If there is an audio or video tape, use it. If not, ask the Court for permission to make a recording for your own use going forward. The Judge will probably refuse, especially if you break out the crazy talk, but you can ask. You can't take notes as fast as the witness speaks, or you are concentrating on your arguments and can't take notes -- both of which are probably true -- might give you sufficient basis for the request for tapes. Again, the Judge will probably deny your request, but you can't get if you don't ask. I would very strongly caution you against trying to make your own surreptitious tapes of the proceedings -- it is illegal in most jurisdictions to record a judicial proceeding without Court authorization. Good luck!

Posted

I agree with my colleague. However, he did leave out one other option GOING FORWARD. You may, at your expense, hire an independent Court reporter to sit in the courtroom and take notes. After the hearing is over, you can compare the transcripts. If there is a discrepancy, you can bring it to the Court's attention. If you have several hearings where this is the case (or days of trial), this may be sufficient grounds to have 'something' happen.

But what you really need to do is hire a lawyer or consult DIRECTLY with one. If you already have one, he or she should be advising you or you need to consult with one to get a second opinion. After all, this is what you are paying them for.

Adam Jaffe Law Office of Adam Jay Jaffe 124 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, #204 Solana Beach, CA 92075 (619) 810-7964 www.smallclaimsappeals.com Adam@AdamJayJaffe.com This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice". Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different states.

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Robert M Lorey

Robert M Lorey

Posted

Mr. Jaffe's suggestion of retaining your own court reporter is the best resolution to the problem. Good catch!

Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jay Jaffe

Posted

Thanks.

Posted

I agree with the answers above that there is nothing formally that you can do to correct the transcripts. However, depending on the situation, if you are able to speak with the court reporter (politely) and he or she is receptive to conversation, you may be able to identify one or two examples of where you think mistakes were made to see if he or she would be willing to check and make any appropriate corrections. A longshot, but about the only think you can do at this point.

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Posted

You don't explain why you want to or need to challenge the transcript. If you intend to appeal, the appellate rules have a procedure for challenging the record; in your situation, that may result in a remand to the trial court for a hearing on the accuracy of the transcript. In other words, the judge who presided over the case will determine whether the transcript is correct based on his or her notes or memory of the proceedings. The opposing party gets to respond to your challenge as well.

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