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  1. #1

    Default How to Properly Cite a Transcript, Case Law, and Statutes

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California

    Greetings Experts,

    I am currently working on my opening brief for an appeal of a violation of VEH 22350.

    I have 2 questions:

    The first involves citing a transcript of the audio recording. There was no court reporter during my trial, but it was audio recorded. The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego, does not allow the recording itself to be used, so I paid to have it transcribed. That transcription is now part of the record. I have seen examples of how to properly cite a Reporter's Transcript or a Clerk's Transcript, which said to use the volume number, followed by "RT" or "CT," then the page number (e.g. "1 RT 3" for Volume 1 of the Reporter's Transcript, Page 3). But I am uncertain as to how to reference the transcription of the audio recording. Is it considered the same as a Reporter's Transcript? Or should I come up with something like "TT" for "Trial Transcript" or "AT" for "Audio Transcript?"

    The second question concerns citing case laws and statutes. Actually, not so much citing them, as listing them in a Table of Authorities. Throughout my brief, I make references to various case laws and statutes. I'm familiar with how to mark a citation in Microsoft Word, but do I need to mark every single occurrence of the case laws and statutes? Or do I only need to mark them if I'm quoting one of them? Perhaps this question applies more to statutes, since I reference various statutes (including VEH 22350) multiple times, but only reference the case laws once or twice.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Properly Citing Audio Transcript, Case Law, and Statutes

    This is an excerpt from THE BLUEBOOK, A Uniform System of Citation.*

    "With court-produced documents, including oral argument transcripts and transcripts of record, the same general rules apply:

    Transcript of Oral Argument at 11, Ayers v. Belmontes, 126 S. Ct. 469 (2006) (No. 05-493).
    Transcript of Record at 16-17, Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763 (1950) (No. 306)."

    Yours would look something like this:

    Transcript of Trial at [page #, line #'s], People v. [your name], [Case #], (2016)


    Any time you reference a case, statute, or any legal material it should be listed in your Table of Authorities for each time (page) it's referenced.

    Keep in mind that this is an appeal by a pro per and the courts will not expect everything to be perfect.

    What is the basis for your appeal?

    ------
    *The bluebook: A uniform system of citation (19th ed.). (2010). Cambridge, MA: Published and distributed by the Harvard Law Review Association.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Properly Citing Audio Transcript, Case Law, and Statutes

    Thank you for your reply, Jim!

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    Yours would look something like this:

    Transcript of Trial at [page #, line #'s], People v. [your name], [Case #], (2016)
    Wow, that'll be a pretty big reference each time. The "1 RT 3" format was much simpler. But if that's the way it should be, then that's how I'll do it.

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    Any time you reference a case, statute, or any legal material it should be listed in your Table of Authorities for each time (page) it's referenced.
    Does that include mentioning it, e.g. "Appellant cross-examined Officer on VEH 22350...?"

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    Keep in mind that this is an appeal by a pro per and the courts will not expect everything to be perfect.
    Someone else kind of told me that, too... he said that courts are generally more lenient with pro per appellants.

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    What is the basis for your appeal?
    I actually have several grounds for appeal. Without going into too much detail, I'll summarize. Everything I'm listing here, including parenthetical points, are part of my appeal:

    1) Engineering and Traffic Survey did not justify the posted speed limit. (Officer testified to conditions listed on the survey, but those conditions are readily apparent to drivers and would require no special downward speed zoning, per VEH 22358.5. I used that during my trial, but the judge ignored it.)
    2) District Attorney failed to respond to Informal Discovery Request. (During trial, the judge asked the officer to respond to that, which was wholly inappropriate, since the Officer is not a representative of the DA's office and is not qualified to respond. (I'm citing People v. Marcroft in that the officer is a witness, no more, no less.) Officer responded that the police department doesn't provide records to defendants. Well, that's fine, because I didn't request them from the police department, I requested them from the DA. It was the DA's responsibility to request them from the police department and provide them to me, which they failed to do.)
    3) Lack of substantial evidence that my speed was unsafe for the conditions at the time.
    4) Trial was even allowed to proceed without representation from the DA's office (GOV 25600, PEN 16).
    5) No proof of intent to commit a crime (PEN 20).

    Some other minor points as well, but those are the major points.

    EDIT: On #1 and #2 above, those were motions that I made before the trial started. I'm also mentioning in my appeal that the judge asked the officer to respond to both motions, which was inappropriate, especially for #2. VEH 22358.5 wasn't mentioned until I testified, because when the judge asked the officer for his response to my motion, I was not allowed to reply and cite 22358.5 at the time; I had to wait until it was my turn to testify. When he responded to #2, I did remind the judge that my IDR was made to the DA, not the police department, but she ignored that as well.

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    Default Re: Properly Citing Audio Transcript, Case Law, and Statutes

    Quote Quoting bnewall1
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    2) District Attorney failed to respond to Informal Discovery Request. (During trial, the judge asked the officer to respond to that, which was wholly inappropriate, since the Officer is not a representative of the DA's office and is not qualified to respond. (I'm citing People v. Marcroft in that the officer is a witness, no more, no less.) Officer responded that the police department doesn't provide records to defendants. Well, that's fine, because I didn't request them from the police department, I requested them from the DA. It was the DA's responsibility to request them from the police department and provide them to me, which they failed to do.)
    It is the accepted practice in California courts, and has been for a loooong time, that the DA is not responsible for traffic discovery. Regardless of what the law says, that is the current state of affairs in the courts.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Properly Citing Audio Transcript, Case Law, and Statutes

    Quote Quoting free9man
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    It is the accepted practice in California courts, and has been for a loooong time, that the DA is not responsible for traffic discovery. Regardless of what the law says, that is the current state of affairs in the courts.
    Yeah, I'm all too aware of that, based on what I've heard from others. I'm not going to argue with YOU, don't worry. But this is the argument I'm using in my brief: (This is a summary; I'm actually quoting the penal code sections in my brief.)

    - California Penal Code 16 includes includes Infractions in its definition of Crimes and Public Offenses.
    - California Government Code 26500 names the District Attorney as the Public Prosecutor for crimes and public offenses.
    - California Penal Code 1054-1054.7 (discovery) applies to Crimes and Public Offenses.

    Given the above, I'm fairly certain they can't just come back and say "well, we don't do it that way." I intend to uphold them to the law that they are sworn to protect.

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    Default Re: Properly Citing Audio Transcript, Case Law, and Statutes

    Wow, that'll be a pretty big reference each time.
    You wouldn't need to give the full citation each time, usually just your first reference. It's just like citing case law, the first time is the full citation then abbreviated thereafter.

    You are correct in that all discovery requests do go to the District Attorney, however, your remedy for failing to comply with informal discovery would have been to file a motion with the court to compel discovery.

    The District Attorney no longer attends traffic trials in California justifying that practice based on Evidence code sec. 775 which states:
    The court, on its own motion or on the motion of any party, may call witnesses and interrogate them the same as if they had been produced by a party to the action, and the parties may object to the questions asked and the evidence adduced the same as if such witnesses were called and examined by an adverse party. Such witnesses may be cross-examined by all parties to the action in such order as the court directs.

    You are also correct that the citing officer does not nor can they represent the People of the State of California. They are simply witnesses.

    Speeding tickets are not specific intent crimes. You had the intent to get in the car and drive and that's all the "intent" that is required.

    People v. Goulet, (1992), 13 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1 provides an excellent analysis of speed trap laws and engineering and traffic surveys. Well worth the read.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Properly Citing Audio Transcript, Case Law, and Statutes

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    You wouldn't need to give the full citation each time, usually just your first reference. It's just like citing case law, the first time is the full citation then abbreviated thereafter.
    Ahh, gotcha. Thanks!

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    You are correct in that all discovery requests do go to the District Attorney, however, your remedy for failing to comply with informal discovery would have been to file a motion with the court to compel discovery.
    Hmm, true. But if the response brief mentions that, then they're admitting that they did not comply with Discovery, and I can pounce on that in my reply brief. I can simply say "I should not have had to file a motion to compel discovery" (not quite in those words, of course, but that's the general idea).

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    The District Attorney no longer attends traffic trials in California justifying that practice based on Evidence code sec. 775 which states:
    The court, on its own motion or on the motion of any party, may call witnesses and interrogate them the same as if they had been produced by a party to the action, and the parties may object to the questions asked and the evidence adduced the same as if such witnesses were called and examined by an adverse party. Such witnesses may be cross-examined by all parties to the action in such order as the court directs.
    I may not be understanding that correctly, but to me, Evidence Code 775 sounds like it says the Court can call and question witnesses. That's all fine and good, and that's exactly what they did. My argument, however, is that, per Government Code 26500, "The district attorney is the public prosecutor, except as otherwise provided by law. The public prosecutor shall attend the courts, and within his or her discretion shall initiate and conduct on behalf of the people all prosecutions for public offenses." Going back to Penal Code 16, which includes Infractions under "Crimes and Public Offenses," it is clear that the DA is the public prosecutor for infractions. And the fact that it says "The public prosecutor SHALL attend the courts..." not "may," but "shall," tells me that if the public prosecutor does not attend, then he or she is exercising his/her discretion not to prosecute the case. That may or may not fly, but I think it's at least worth a try.

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    Speeding tickets are not specific intent crimes. You had the intent to get in the car and drive and that's all the "intent" that is required.
    That's a possibility, but again, I go back to Penal Code 16, which includes Infractions under "Crimes and Public Offenses." PEN 16 isn't clear as to whether an infraction is considered a crime OR a public offense, or both. But I'm going with it being considered a crime, and for a crime, there must be an intent. Getting in a car and driving is not an intent to commit a crime. This is also something that may or may not fly with the court, but as with GOV 26500, I think it's worth a shot.

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    People v. Goulet, (1992), 13 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1 provides an excellent analysis of speed trap laws and engineering and traffic surveys. Well worth the read.
    Yep, been all over that one. Halopoff is also a case involving a speed trap, though not as involved as Goulet.

    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Properly Citing Audio Transcript, Case Law, and Statutes

    Your problem is this: The courts know the laws regarding discovery and prosecutors. They have chosen how they wish to interpret them and it is contrary to how you think they should. This has been the status quo for a long time. No appeals court has chosen to tell them otherwise.

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    Default Re: Properly Citing Audio Transcript, Case Law, and Statutes

    Quote Quoting free9man
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    Your problem is this: The courts know the laws regarding discovery and prosecutors. They have chosen how they wish to interpret them and it is contrary to how you think they should. This has been the status quo for a long time. No appeals court has chosen to tell them otherwise.
    Interesting, so you're saying that the Appellate Courts are more interested in "status quo" than the law? I strongly disagree; the real problem is that, because these are appeals from traffic citations, they are usually done in pro per by people who really don't understand the issues and therefore don't know how to make these issues "an appealable issue" from the start. All these issues have already been addressed by the appellate courts it's just a matter researching and understanding the issues. Which, by the way, is no small task.

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    Default Re: Properly Citing Audio Transcript, Case Law, and Statutes

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    Interesting, so you're saying that the Appellate Courts are more interested in "status quo" than the law?
    No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying until an Appellate Court rules on a precedent setting case, that's the way it's going to be.

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    I strongly disagree; the real problem is that, because these are appeals from traffic citations, they are usually done in pro per by people who really don't understand the issues and therefore don't know how to make these issues "an appealable issue" from the start.
    So no one has ever, in the time this has been the status quo, used an attorney (I though there were LOTS of highly qualified traffic attorneys who were willing to fight for YOU) to fight and appeal based on these issues? If so, I guess that's what it's going to take to argue it properly to an Appealate Court. That or a really well prepared pro per.

    Quote Quoting Jim Kozlovich
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    All these issues have already been addressed by the appellate courts it's just a matter researching and understanding the issues. Which, by the way, is no small task.
    So if these issues have been addressed by the appellate courts, why do they continue in the traffic courts? Why has not one Appellate Decision been published and made the law of the land to correct the behavior?

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