Prosecutor’s Review of Legal Transcripts and Other Evidence Helps Overturn Wrongful Convictions

by | Published on Sep 23, 2016 | Legal Transcription

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Prosecutors Review of Legal Transcripts and Other Evidence HelpsCourt proceedings transcription is integral to the litigation process. Documentation of the testimony, the argument, and the words uttered by the judge is critical as it provides a record of what went on in the courtroom. What’s more, according to a recent Winnipeg Free Press report, review of trial transcripts along with other evidence, are helping to overturn wrongful or unfair convictions.

Post-conviction, trial transcripts play a crucial role and allow the defense team to present a full and proper submission based on facts. According to the Winnipeg Free Press report, the prosecutor Lisa Perlman did a painstaking review of hundreds of pages of case files, transcripts, and crime-scene photographs. This helped unearth confessions that freed two men who were wrongfully convicted of setting a blaze that caused six deaths at a Brooklyn drug den.

This is just one of the convictions that this prosecutor helped overturn. Perlman is a member of the conviction review unit in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office that is assigned with the task of assessing and rectifying problematic convictions. In fact, according to the news report, this is a growing trend among prosecutors in the US and there are now about 24 such units across the country engaged in rectifying legal mistakes.

Since its launch in 2011, the Brooklyn unit identified 160 cases to examine and at the time of the news report, had completed reviewing about 60, resulting in 20 exonerations. Examination of the legal transcripts and other evidence by the Brooklyn unit revealed that wrongful convictions have resulted from:

  • overlapping errors by police and witnesses or from prosecutors taking a case to trial
  • judgment errors
  • shoddy defense work and
  • unintentional but reckless and careless borderline ethical practices

As Brooklyn’s District Attorney noted, “Wrongful convictions not only destroy the lives of the wrongfully convicted and their families, but they also undermine the integrity of the criminal justice system.”

Leading legal transcription service companies work with advanced technology and resources to provide superior legal documentation of court proceedings. This recent report shows just how important accurate and timely documentation of audio and video recordings of court proceedings is to meet the needs of prosecutors and ensure justice is done.

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