A court reported in New York, who was apparently dealing with alcohol and substance abuse issues, totally blew off his reporting duties on dozens of trials, putting many convictions at risk. Daniel Kochanski has since been fired, but looking back at his shorthand from cases he reported, investigators have found instances of him typing illegibly, gibberish, or even resorting to typing “I hate my job, I hate my job, I hate my job” instead of transcribing what was being said in court.
Kochanski denies typing gibberish, but apparently he was called in to try to translate his own shorthand typing, but those efforts were unsuccessful. Courts have been holding reconstruction hearings trying to recreate the record of several proceedings.
The irony is that human court reporters are more reliable that electronic recordings… most of the time. Several issues arose around Florida of courts being unable to fully reconstruct transcripts from electronic recordings, which caused the cases to need to be retried, which is why the general practice in most if not all of Florida’s judicial circuits is that live court reporters are required for felony trials. It’s unfortunate that these courtrooms didn’t have a backup system in place for this reporter’s shortcomings, though such problems must be very rare: I have never heard of such a problem before.