Saturday, October 8, 2011

What's taking so long, Part 2

Scott's CA Supreme Court docket has the following two items:

09/03/2009Received:  notice from superior court that 30,846 pp. record was sent to appellant's counsel on August 31, 2009.
09/08/2009Date trial court delivered record to appellant's counsel  (30,846 pp. record) (see Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.600(e)(1); the delivery date is the mailing date plus five days.) (Note: record was sent to appellant's counsel on August 31, 2009.)

Receiving that 30,846 pp record, which includes the trial court clerk's and reporter's transcripts, is just the beginning of the process.  The defense counsel now has to augment and complete the record, which means that every single page has to be reviewed to be sure everything that is needed for the appeal is included and then file motions to request anything that is missing.

Richard L. Rubin's Internet article "Update:  Augmenting and Completing the Record in Criminal Appeals:  A checklist" provides good detail on this process and some of the things the defense counsel has to be sure to get into the record.  The defense counsel has to be absolutely certain that everything needed for a successful direct appeal is included in the record -- and that obligation is amplified in a capital case with an inmate sitting on death row.

Scott's docket also has this entry:

01/19/2010Received:  copy of order from Superior Court of Stanislaus County assigning Judge Scott Steffen on January 15, 2010 for matters related to certification of the record for accuracy. (Order signed by Presiding Judge Jack M. Jacobson.)

This means that any motions for items to be added to the 30,846 pp are filed with and argued before Judge Steffen.  All motions approved by Judge Steffen have to be fulfilled by the State.  These motions are not listed on Scott's docket, so we don't know what has been involved in this step of the process.  I assume at some point we'll see a docket entry that Judge Steffen has certified the record to be accurate and complete.

For those of you so inclined to read the rules governing the appellate process, click here and scroll down to Chapter Ten for rules that govern death penalty cases.


Jane said...

Thanks for posting this, Marlene. I especially like this item on the checklist:

The reporter's transcript should reflect all "on the record" discussions which took place during trial. To check if anything is missing, it is necessary to compare the clerk's minutes for the days of trial with the reporter's transcripts to ensure there is no reference to hearings (such as in- chambers discussions and jury instruction conferences) which are reflected in the clerk's minutes but were not included in the reporter's transcript. Also, sometimes clerk's minutes for a day of trial may have been inadvertently omitted; this should be requested as part of the normal record. Clerk's minutes for all pretrial, trial and post-trial
proceedings should be included in the clerk's transcripts.

Some of the in-chambers discussions should be dynamite!

LA Curry said...

Thanks, Marlene...I knew a lot of this but this link helps me understand what a time consuming and overwhelming process this is.

Jane, I too would love to read some of those in-chamber and sidebar discussions.

Burkey said...

Very interesting, will be looking forward to reading this. Thanks for posting it!