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Court Reporter to Face Contempt of Court Charges

December 8th, 2008 by

After Monday’s Circuit Court hearing where a fill-in court reporter had failed to provide required transcripts of a May, 2008 $6 million judgment case to the Circuit Clerk to be included in an appeal to state court, Judge Bynum Gibson ordered her to be picked up and brought to court.  She presented herself to the Sheriff’s office late Monday.

Tuesday morning, Lee Frazier appeared in court before Judge Gibson, and provided testimony about quality of the work that she provided.

There were 336 “inaudibles” in one day’s records, where 10 is generally the maximum.  Also, 2 sidebars were not included. Gibson said that he’d seen the transcript that she’d left at the Circuit Clerk’s office just before noon, Monday, and that, “it’s thrown together.  It’s a mess.”

Frazier told the court that she met the court reporter requirements and had been approved by the state, but was not well trained in trial court settings.  Frazier told Judge Gibson that she had told his regular court reporter, Ms. Taylor, “I hope that there isn’t an appeal.”

Gibson asked Frazier if she had told the Circuit Clerk’s office that the court’s letter “was bulls*^t”.  She responded, “I don’t remember that.”

Frazier told the court that she had overslept Monday, due to “taking cold medication”.  She also provided the court will 2 pages of notes, and an exhibit list, the only items pertaining to the original case that were still in her posission

In closing, Judge Gibson ordered a contempt of court hearing, which will be presided over by another judge, since Judge Gibson is involved in this case (and could possibly be called as a witness, along with members of his court staff.)

The judge also recommend the Frazier’s licensing board be notified of the hearing and be provided with transcripts and testimony. 

====================

The story below posted on December 2, 2008.

Sheriff Told to Pick Up Court Reporter to Appear Before Judge

In a situation like no one has seen in decades, Judge Bynum Gibson issued a pick-up order, a body attachment, and a show cause order, Monday morning, for a former fill-in court reporter, that had worked in a $6 million court case, here in Drew County.

A few months ago, Joseph Turner, a paraplegic auto-accident victim, was awarded a $6 million verdict by a Drew County Jury, in his case against Swift Transportation, a freight moving company.

After that trial, Swift’s attorney’s filed an appeal, which is to be heard by an Arkansas State Court.

During the last day of that trial, the court reporter was out, and was replaced by Lee Frazier, a certified court reporter approved  by the State of Arkansas.

Since that time, Ms. Frazier has been contacted, and has failed to provide the court transcripts to the Drew County Circuit Clerk.  The final deadline, according to Judge Gibson was at 8:30, Monday morning (Dec. 1).

When Frazier hadn’t delivered her work, and since this could affect the state court’s hearing of the appeal, Judge Gibson issued a pick-up order, a body attachment, and a show cause order, to require Frazier appear before him to explain what had caused the shortcomings of her performance.

At approximately 11:40, Ms. Frazier arrived at the Circuit Clerk’s office, and was escorted to the courtroom by a staff member, who reportedly told Ms. Frazier the judge wanted it hand delivered to him.  Frazier stayed in the courtroom for a couple of minute, and then left the building.

It should be pointed out that Ms. Frazier was not told that orders had been issued for her appearance, because she left as they were reportedly being brought to the courtroom. 

Later, Judge Gibson set a $5,000 commercial bond, to enable her to be released, and to insure her appearance at a future hearing.

Ms. Frazier did return to the courthouse around 4 p.m. (she lives in Lincoln County), and then bonded out.

There is a hearing set for Tuesday morning to “show cause as to why she failed to obey the orders of this Court”.

6 Responses to “Court Reporter to Face Contempt of Court Charges”

  1. anonymous says:

    Where besides MonticelloLive can you get this story so timely?

  2. Rachel says:

    I was on the jury for this trial and remember the “new” lady on the last day. What happens if she doesn’t hand over the information?

  3. I have been a court reporter for many years, I can not believe that the regular court reporter would not have gotten someone with more experience in a trial court, especially when it was reported that the sub “hoped there would be no appeal.” That shows she was not confident in doing the reporting. What was so important that she couldn’t arrange for someone with experience, even if she had to get a reporter from Little Rock?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ms. Chewning is assuming that Ms. Frazier was telling the truth about what she told the “regular” reporter. One should have all the facts before making a judgment. The assumption was also made that all reporters in Little Rock are competent. One needs to remember how to spell “assume.”

  5. So Sorry, anonymous, she should have gone to
    Warren for an experiened Court reporter. They have two good ones with lots of court experience. I know them myself. If you will notice I said even if she had to go to Little Rock to get someone with experience. You seem to be the one assuming quite a lot, not me.

  6. […] Court Reporter to Face Contempt of Court ChargesIn closing, Judge Gibson ordered a contempt of court hearing, which will be presided over by another judge, since Judge Gibson is involved in this case (and could possibly be called as a witness, along with members of his court staff.) . […]

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