Dallas Co. argues to sue Routier court reporter
AUSTIN - The Dallas Country District Attorney's office should be able to
sue a court reporter whose transcript of the murder trial of convicted
killer Darlie Routier was filled with errors, an assistant district
attorney argued Wednesday.
Grant Brenna, a lawyer with the Dallas County District Attorney's office,
appeared before the Texas Supreme Court to argue that court reporter
Sandra Halsey does not have judicial immunity in the case.
The county is seeking money it used to assist in reconstructing the court
transcript, Brenna said. A second reporter had to redo Halsey's
transcript, using notes and audio tapes from the trial, because of
numerous problems in the first transcript.
Brenna said he did not know how much money was spent.
An attorney for Halsey did not attend the Supreme Court hearing and could
not immediately be reached for comment.
Brenna said that while judges and some employees in a judge's office
cannot be sued because they do things that are discretionary, court
reporters perform ministerial tasks and must merely record what was said,
Halsey's attorney has argued that because Halsey worked for a judge, she
cannot be sued, Brenna said.
The Supreme Court did not immediately rule in the case.
Routier, a homemaker in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett, was arrested two
weeks after her sons, Damon, 5, and Devon, 6, were killed in their home
June 6, 1996.
Routier claimed an intruder attacked her and the boys and then fled. A
Kerrville jury convicted Routier from Damon's slaying and sentenced her to
death by injection.
Her attorneys argued in March before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
that her conviction should be reversed because the record of the 1997
trial is plagued with inaccuracies.