Judges alter transcripts more routinely than you think. Is it right? No. Do they get away with it? Almost all of the time.
Take the case of a Philadelphia judge who deleted disparaging comments she made about a defendant in court from the official transcript of the man’s death-penalty appeal, an alteration the state Supreme Court called “reprehensible” as it removed her from the case.
Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes admitted that she ordered a court reporter to delete what she calls “non-judicial” remarks, including calling the defendant “vile,” the high court ruling said.
The deletion came to light when lawyers seeking to quote her comments in their appeal noticed that they were missing from the transcript. The lawyers raised the issue at a later hearing before Cardwell Hughes.
“I told (the court reporter) to (remove) words that are less than judicial because I’m Southern and I say words like flipping or sucker … ,” the justices quoted Cardwell Hughes as saying during the hearing in their ruling last week.
The high court also faulted her for lambasting defense lawyers who asked her to step down from the case at a 2008 post-conviction hearing.
Cardwell Hughes refused, saying she could separate her “personal opinion of a person who toasted a house with children in it” from the evidence.
a) order transcripts as soon as possible.
b) If you have obtained transcripts and you feel that they do not represent what was actually said in court, then you should file a formal complaint to the court and ask that you be allowed to review the actual audio tape with the court reporter.
c) If you are given the run around about listening to the tape then file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.
Read more: Legal News
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