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Who Carries the Burden

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  • Legalbear
    But we deal with an adversary system where the initiative rests with the moving party. Without a transcript the petitioner, as he prepared his application to
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2010

      But we deal with an adversary system where the initiative rests with the moving party. Without a transcript the petitioner, as he prepared his application to the appellate court, would have only his own lay memory*fn5 of what transpired before the Superior Court. For an effective presentation of his case he would need the findings of the Superior Court and the evidence that had been weighed and rejected in order to present his case in the most favorable light. Certainly a lawyer, accustomed to precise points of law and nuances in testimony, would be lost without such a transcript, save perhaps for the unusual and exceptional case. The lawyer, having lost below, would be conscious of the skepticism that prevails above when a second hearing is sought and would as sorely need the transcript in petitioning for a hearing before the appellate court as he would if the merits of an appeal were at stake. A layman hence needs the transcript even more.


      [17]     It is said that the appellate court may send for the transcript and deduce from it whether there is merit in this new application for another hearing. That philosophy would make the appellate tribunal parens patriae of the indigent habeas corpus litigant. If that would suffice for appellate hearings in habeas corpus, why not in review of cases on appeal? Since our system is an adversary one, a petitioner carries the burden of convincing the appellate court that the hearing before the lower court was either inadequate or that the legal conclusions from the facts deduced were erroneous. A transcript is therefore the obvious starting point for those who try to make out a case for a second hearing. The State can hardly contend that a transcript is irrelevant to the second hearing, where it specifically provides one, upon request, to the appellate court and the State attorney. So long as this system of repeated hearings exists and so long as transcripts are available for preparation of appellate hearings in habeas corpus cases, they may not be furnished those who can afford them and denied those who are paupers.


      [18]     There is no suggestion that in the present case there is any adequate substitute*fn6 for a full stenographic transcript. We conclude that in the context of California's habeas corpus procedure denial of a transcript to an indigent marks the same invidious discrimination which we held impermissible in the Griffin and Long cases where a State granted appeals in criminal cases but in practical effect denied effective appellate review to indigents. GARDNER v. CALIFORNIA, 89 S. Ct. 580, 393 U.S. 367, 369-370 (1969)


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