Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Legal Question


Perhaps one of my readers who is a lawyer can answer this for me ...

Earlier this year, we were involved in a civil court proceeding which, unfortunately, did not go the way we expected it would. In fact, we were astounded at the outcome which, in view of the evidence, made no sense. In the aftermath of the trial I learned an interesting and disconcerting thing when I called the office of the county Clerk of Court to request a copy of the transcript: there is no record of the trial testimony unless one of the parties to the affair pays to have it recorded. And not only that, even if such a record is made, there is no requirement that it be submitted to the court to be added to the official record of the trial. You can order a copy from the company that was hired to do the transcription, but at huge cost ... this on top of whatever the recorder was paid in the first place.

I don't know if this is a peculiarity of Virginia law and procedure or if it applies in other states as well, but I think it's awful. Without an official documentary record of the proceedings - by which I mean a verbatim record of the testimony and conduct of the trial, prepared by a disinterested court-employed or court-appointed recorder - how do we later reconstruct what happened and assess the basis for appeal? If one of the parties paid someone to make the recording, what guarantee is there that the recording is accurate?

So, all you attorneys out there ... how is it in states other than Virginia? I'm curious*.

Have a good day. More thoughts (and maybe other questions) tomorrow.

Bilbo

* Which rhymes with "furious," but that's not important now.

5 comments:

Anemone said...

You raise a valid question, Bilbo.

John Hill said...

Interesting...

Mike said...

I thought all county court proceedings were recorded. I know local governments are not.

allenwoodhaven said...

Wow, that is shocking! I thought there was always a record of court proceedings. There should be. As you said, how else can one know what happened and, if paid for, that it's accurate? In NJ i think they audio record court matters but don't know for sure.

Kristen Drittsekkdatter said...

It's shocking that they just dont keep a verbatim record at all times.