Thursday, February 18, 2010

Taking part in history

One of the great joys of the profession of court reporting is being present and recording the events of history. I had the privilege of doing just that in February 2010 when I was the official reporter for the three-judge review of the case of Gregory Flynt Taylor, a man convicted of first-degree murder of a woman in 1991 (conviction 1993).

The case was brought before the Innocence Inquiry Commission, the only state-run agency in the country set up to review claims of actual innocence, and they in turn recommended review by the panel. After five days of evidentiary hearing, the judges returned with their opinion.

Based on new evidence brought to light (which is the only way the review could have proceeded, with NEW evidence), they found by clear and convincing evidence (the standard of review) that Mr. Taylor was innocent of the crime for which he had been convicted.

Mr. Taylor spent 17 years in prison. The judges overturned the verdict of a 12-member jury panel. It, I have no doubt, was a very difficult prospect and, in the end, it seems that justice has prevailed.

Court Reporters, the scribes of humanity, are the silent note takers that preserve history. What a fabulous profession. I feel blessed to be part of it.

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