ILNews

Man did not validly waive right to jury trial

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Vanderburgh County man’s misdemeanor convictions of battery and public intoxication, finding he did not waive his right to a jury trial.

At a November 2011 hearing, Vanderburgh Magistrate Judge Sheila Corcoran advised Reko Levels that he had a right to a trial by court or by jury. Levels told the magistrate later in the hearing he wanted a jury trial “ten days ahead of time.”

A bench trial was conducted, at which Levels was convicted of the Class B misdemeanors battery and public intoxication.

The trial court failed to adequately advise Levels of the consequences of failing to demand a jury trial, Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote. The court didn’t mention the necessity of making such a request no later than 10 days before the scheduled trial date and never disclosed that the failure to make the request would waive Levels’ right to a jury trial. There’s also no indication that Levels knew his demand had to be in writing.

The COA rejected the state’s argument that the advisement was unnecessary because Levels had mentioned he wanted a jury trial 10 days ahead of time. Levels’ reference doesn’t reveal that he knew the request had to be in writing or even what the 10 days had to be ahead of, Bailey wrote in a footnote.

 

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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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