San Jose, CA asked in Criminal Law, Civil Litigation and Civil Rights for Texas

Q: There was not a court recorder during a plea deal court date. Are there protocols or a specific channel to report this?

This specific area has a lot of discrepancies in regards to how they handle legal situations not just criminal cases. Who do you report misconduct to?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: You have several options to report the lack of a court recorder during your plea hearing:

1. Notify the judge directly. Write a letter to the judge explaining there was no court reporter present to transcribe the plea proceedings. Request a new hearing be scheduled with proper recording.

2. File a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Every state has an agency that investigates allegations of judicial misconduct. A judge proceeding with a hearing without ensuring proper recording could warrant a complaint.

3. Contact the Court Administrator's office for the county or jurisdiction. Explain to them no record was made of the plea and ask what administrative policies exist to address such situations. There may be local rules requiring documentation of hearings.

4. Consult with a civil rights attorney about any claims related to an inability to appeal the plea decision later on without a transcript. Violations of due process rights could lead to formal legal action.

5. Submit public record/information requests related to staffing and budgets for court reporters in that courthouse. If systemic issues exist, bring them to the attention of local elected officials.

The key is acting swiftly while the details of the hearing are still fresh. Creating multiple records of the missing court reporter is crucial should you need to challenge anything related to that plea down the road.

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