First Steps in an Appeal: The Transcript

by | May 18, 2021

When appealing a lower court’s judgment, “review is solely upon the record on appeal, the verbatim transcript of proceedings, if one is designated, and any other items filed pursuant to this Rule 9.” N.C. R. App. P. 9(a). The verbatim transcript of proceedings is integral to the preservation of issues and may serve as the vehicle to present testimonial evidence necessary for appellate review.

After entering into a contract for the transcript, a court reporter or other designated transcriptionist creates the transcript from notes and audio recorded during the proceedings. However, sometimes the transcript may be incomplete or missing key parts, stemming from either human or technological error, which can deprive the moving party of meaningful appellate review.

For instance, in State v. Yates, No. COA18-158 (N.C. Ct. App. Oct. 16, 2018), Mark L. Hayes won a new trial for a client on appeal whose right to a meaningful appeal was denied after the recording equipment at trial malfunctioned, preventing the court reporter from producing a full verbatim transcript of the proceeding. There, the North Carolina Court of Appeals applied a three-part test to determine whether the right to a meaningful appeal was lost, ultimately holding the right had been denied and Mr. Hayes’ client was entitled to a new trial. However, each legal case has its unique set of factors considered in a judgment, and you should consult with a licensed attorney to determine the viability of your appeal.

Retaining seasoned appellate counsel to move forward with your case helps to ensure that each part of your appeal occurs smoothly. Mr. Hayes has worked on nearly two hundred appellate cases at all levels and also has experience in providing consultation services to trial attorneys.

To aid in the understanding of the appellate process, the Law Office of Mark L. Hayes has composed an informative, one-hour Continuing Legal Education video, approved by the North Carolina State Bar Continuing Legal Education department, titled “Appeals In North Carolina: First Steps.” The video presentation, a link to which may be found below, grants an overview of the appeals process in North Carolina, useful for both practicing attorneys and non-attorneys who simply want to understand the process. The CLE explores how to determine whether a case is ripe for appeal, if proper notice has been given, and how to obtain the transcript for appeal. Within each of these three crucial categories, Mr. Hayes discusses special considerations and details, which could derail the appeal if they are not handled properly.  

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