All I can say is . . . . . . . wow!  Makes us ALL look REEEEAAAALLLLY BAAAAAAD!!!  :(


From the San Francisco Examiner:


AWOL court reporter delays German tourist murder case in San Francisco

German tourist Mechthild Schröer was fatally shot Aug. 8, 2010, near Union Square. Prosecutors say she was caught in gang crossfire. (Courtesy photo)

A murder trial stemming from the 2010 slaying of a German tourist has been delayed after a contract court reporter failed to deliver a grand jury transcript and stopped returning lawyers’ phone calls.

Although observers do not expect this hiccup to derail the case, defense attorneys promptly demanded that the charges against their six clients be dismissed.

But the development troubles the District Attorney’s Office, which has made prosecution of the case a top priority.

The office began outsourcing court reporting last year in response to court system budget cuts. The underfunded system could face even more cuts amid continued uncertainty over state finances.

Prosecutor Eric Fleming said the court reporter should have finished transcribing his shorthand notes “at least two weeks ago.” State law requires a completed transcript within 10 days of the Sept. 27 indictment, although reporters can seek up to 20 more days. Final transcripts can run thousands of pages.

Fleming said health issues apparently prevented the reporter from finishing the transcripts. The reporter hasn’t returned calls and emails from either side’s lawyers, and no one knows when the transcripts will be done.

“I don’t believe that this will negatively affect the case, other than delay it a short time,” District Attorney’s Office spokesman Omid Talai said.

Yet defense attorneys say their clients’ rights to a speedy trial are being violated, and will ask Judge Anne-Christine Massullo to dismiss the indictments next Monday. And after reasserting their client’s 60-day trial rights, a jury trial was set for Dec. 16. Massullo suggested there is no legal basis to dismiss the indictments for this reason.

On Sept. 27, a secret grand jury indicted Phillip Stewart, Delvon Scott, Willie Eason, Marcus Blueford and Raheem Jackson on murder and gang charges in the shooting of 50-year-old Mechthild Schröer. Gethsemane Pita was charged as an accessory to murder.

Schröer was struck by a bullet Aug. 8, 2010, while walking with her husband near Union Square. Prosecutors say the suspects were rival gang members shooting at each other outside a crowded party.

One month later, budget cuts forced San Francisco Superior Court to stop paying court reporters to cover grand jury proceedings, spokeswoman Ann Donlan said. Reporters are now hired by the District Attorney’s Office.

Defense attorney Rebecca Young, who represents Scott, questioned whether it is proper for prosecutors to hire their own court reporter. However, Talai said, the program isn’t unique to San Francisco and poses no conflict.

“This is practice for DAs offices up and down the state,” he said.

Talai said the court reporter in question is state-certified and previously worked for the court for years. But outside court, lawyers called this development unique.

“I’ve never encountered anything like this before,” said attorney George Borges, who represents Blueford.

Pita’s attorney Robert Amparán said the court reporter should have sought additional time or notified a colleague of his problem — especially in a case of this magnitude. “This is ridiculous, it’s so basic,” Amparán said, adding that his client was being kept in custody “with no proof, basically.”

Talai said the court reporter’s recent health issues “made him unable” to request additional time. He would not elaborate on the nature of the problem.

“We are working hard on our end to get the transcripts,” Talai said.

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This seems really inexcusable, unless the court reporter was knocked unconscious and couldn't communicate.  Perhaps it's psychological.   Why doesn't he send everything out to be scoped and get it over with?  Puzzling.
Kinda makes me wonder if they had a computer failure and lost the data???
I know there was a male reporter that my firm used for a job that came up spur of the moment in the Bay Area and after the depo, this reporter never turned in the transcript to my office.  He said the transcript wasn't ordered when, in fact, it had been ordered.  The client was pissed.  Anyway, I wonder if it is the same reporter.  That reporter I am talking about continually tries to gain access to this website but I keep denying him because I don't want that quality of reporter taking work from here.
Kelli, I think you and I are thinking of the same reporter.  If he is who I think he is, I've met him once, and I remember him telling me personally that he worked for the court before and has trouble getting his transcripts in on time.  He has been disciplined by the board too.
This is awful, especially in this high-profile case!  I would have LOVED to report this Grand Jury!  But some of the facts naturally are wrong.  Having worked as an official, the DA always hires the reporter because it is a proceeding the DA aministrates.  If the DA goes through the court's court reporter coordinator to cover it and an official is lucky enough to be asked to do it, it comes out of the DA's budget to cover the official and the pro tem hired to cover their dept.  I can see where the court probably said they are not going to do that anymore; hire your own.   And we've had instances where sadly a reporter dies, and we all had to pull together to read his cryptic notes and put trpts together on appeal (RIP Ted Sakai).  Though this is really a remote issue from the current state budget cuts (because again, it comes from the DA's budget), let's pray it will shed some needed light on the travesty that IS occuring w/ our officials being let go.  It is truly ridiculous, and all attorneys, judges agree.  Yet no one is going to do anything about it until a lot more of these debacles occur and get some publicity.  Think of the MANY small, less notorious cases happening DAILY that get no publicity where these instances are occuring. I feel awful for these German tourists who visited our city and lost their loved one, and now have to deal w/ our failed system. 

I was doing a job at an agency today and talking with the calendar person while I waited.  She was telling me about some reporters she's used that have been no-shows on jobs!  No call, no show, nothing.  I was shocked.  I didn't know ANYONE would do this.  Sometimes when my daughter has wanted me to stay home or cut school or whatever, she'd say oh, mom, call in sick.  I said when you're reporter, there is no calling in sick, only calling in dead!


One time I forgot something in the house and was running late, so I RAN from my car to the front door, in very high heels, and went flying, slamming my knee into the edge of the cement curb.  OMG, I lay there just howling, thinking I broke my knee.  My daughter was hysterical, ready to call 911.  She actually called my dad to come help because I couldn't stop crying, but I said, just get the ice pack, get the ice pack, I have to go to my job!  Finally got ahold of myself, hobbled to the car, took her to school, and went to work.  One time I got rear-ended on the freeway, but we were going fairly slowly.  Got the guy's info and went to the job. 

Have you heard about reporters just not showing up?  I guess the newer ones just don't care about their rep so much or something.  I just can't even imagine pulling something like that.  I figured if I did that, or even called and said I couldn't make it within a couple hours, I'd never work again.

Hard to believe!   I wonder if there is another side to the story though.


I just don't understand what the point would be to go to a job and report it and not turn in the work.  You don't get paid till you turn the job in.  What's the point?  You're just wasting your time to sit there all day for nothing.  I don't get it.
An agency I worked for got a call for a reporter because the one they booked did not show up.  The owner went over there and covered it.  At lunchtime, my job was over and he asked me to come over and take over because he didn't want to work all day.  When I got there, they asked if I was the reporter who was supposed to show up in the morning.  NOOOO!!! I would never do that.
I covered for a reporter that never came back after lunch.  Just packed up his stuff and left.  Never said he was not coming back.  What???  Couldn't believe there are reporters out there like that.  There should be a common sense test all reporters should have to take, as well.  Unbelievable the things people will do.

I did the "too many margaritas at lunchtime once." (This was like in 1984).   I was a regular in a Workers' Comp office.  I got back after lunch, was super buzzed.  Fortunately, the hearings were also electronically recorded.  I sat there, keep my fingers moving (as best as I could focus).  They didn't ask for readback.

Wow, good thing they didn't.   Christi, what's TIA mean? 


Can't say I ever went to work drunk, was way too paranoid for that.  I tried practicing once totally buzzed and it was a total mess.  Not gonna happen. 


I'm glad there's worthless reporters out there because then attorneys/agencies appreciate the really good reporters and we get the best work.  If we were all great, there would be way more competition.  Don't want that.


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