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Should Court Transcripts be Provided to Parties Free of Charge?

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I learned during my first semester at University of San Francisco School of Law during Dean Brand’s welcome reception that in the United States, one only gets as much justice as one can afford.  In other words, there is no such thing as equal access to justice. I didn’t fully understand the weight of those words until recently. 

During trial, I realized that access to voluminous transcripts can be very costly.  It is not something one thinks about when ordering 20 pages of court transcripts, however, the dollars add up very quickly when ordering hundreds or thousands of pages.   

How much do court transcripts cost? 

The cost of transcripts varies.  Let’s assume that 100 pages of transcripts costs $365.00.  Imagine if transcripts were 500 pages to 1,000 pages or more.  The dollars add up very quickly.   

You can’t fight fairly against the other party if you don’t have access to court transcripts.

If you want to refute expert testimony or refer back to testimony, you cannot just paraphrase, you must refer to the specific page and line.  This would be impossible without access to transcripts. 

Can Technology solve this problem? 

What if there was a way to access court transcripts electronically to read-only? That would be a start to providing more equity in a case where a party is unable to pay but does not meet the definition of impoverished.   

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  1. blog on April 14, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Keep this going please, great job!

    • Lahdan Rahmati, Esq. on June 14, 2020 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks for reading!