ILNews

Missing records case affirmed

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Don't go looking for any reference in a Thursday memorandum opinion relating to missing court files in an Allen County murder case. You won't find one.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the murder conviction of Daniel Favela, whose case made the news last year after his mother had been jailed for about two weeks on contempt of court charges for taking, hiding, and refusing to turn over the 13-volume file in her son's appeal. Adela Favela finally returned them to Allen Superior Judge Frances C. Gull in September 2007.

But the file-taking circumstances weren't mentioned in the Not for Publication ruling of Daniel Favela v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-0702-CR-101. The court unanimously affirmed Judge Gull's judgment and determined she didn't abuse the court's discretion in denying Favela's request to obtain the address of an area women's shelter relevant to his case, or in excluding a defense witness's testimony for the purpose of impeachment; that evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction.
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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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