After more than 3 years, Jameson v. Desta (Case No. S230899, July 5, 2018) has been decided by the California Supreme Court, in favor of the party FVAP (joined by 30 DV and family law organizations and individuals) supported as friend-of-the-court. It struck down San Diego’s policy that eliminated court reporters from civil cases because the policy contained no exception for low-income people who had received fee waivers.
Under this case, all counties statewide are required to provide court reporters to low-income litigants that request one, free of charge. 30 out of 58 of California counties had eliminated court reporters in family law cases. This is a sweeping decision that we believe will have far-reaching impacts statewide for all low-income litigants, including survivors of DV, many of whom are low-income.
This ruling is important because court reporters transcribe what is said during a hearing or trial into written form, and not having a court reporter often means a litigant cannot succeed in appealing an unfavorable trial court decision. Also, the availability of a court reporter’s transcript can help if a litigant wants to modify a trial court decision at a later date, such as a custody or visitation decision.
Read media coverage quoting FVAP Executive Director Erin Smith here and here. For FVAP’s Case Alert with practice tips concerning this case, visit our Legal Resource Library and enter the password or follow the instructions to receive a password.