Question for the Court Reporters re Strike that Comment

When the judge says to strike out a comment, how “striked out” is it? Just a line through it but still in the book, or totally destroyed? I heard a while ago about a judge making inappropriate comments, then asking that they be stroked out, but don’t remember if the reporter’s book was called as evidence or not.



(by cricketbeautiful-1
for everyone)

12 comments Add yours
  1. "THE COURT: You know, I used to scream like a little girl — strike that, please."

    It stays in the record. The parties can't selectively choose what goes in the record to suit them or their side better, so stupid comments and misspeaks and everything that's said is permanent unless everyone agrees to go off the record 🙂

    When a judge strikes a response or evidence, it's only relevant to the jury. They're not allowed to consider those statements or evidence when they deliberate on the case. It's still a part of the written record.

  2. Everything said is part of the record.  When something gets stricken, the jury is usually instructed at that point that they are to disregard the question and/or answer and not consider it in their deliberations of the matter.  Nothing is ever taken out of the record. 

  3. It may help to understand that a major reason for making a record in a trial is to provide a transcript in the event of an appeal. And one of the issues which might be appealed is whether or not the jury should have been allowed to consider a statement. So the statement remains in the record, even if it is stricken for purposes of jury consideration.

    As a practical matter a judge is rarely "cooked" for an in-court comment, it's the judge who gets to do the cooking:-). That said, a judge might be censured by whatever body supervises judges in the jurisdiction if the comment were something truly offensive; for instance a derogatory comment about a rape victim.

    So back to a more or less shorthand topic, if you're taking a verbatim proceeding and the judge says "strike that" . . . be aware of the convention for indicating that. The records on appeal that I've seen here do nothing special, there's the comment, then the judge's instruction to strike, and that's all. I don't know what the procedure is if the jury asks to review a portion of the testimony, certainly they don't get to see anything that was stricken. Maybe one of the active reporters or legal secretaries in the group will fill in that detail.

  4. Actually, a judge can be cooked if what he says on the record is prejudicial to any party or shows any animus or bias to any party.  Also, the statement could indicate some sort of judicial misconduct on the part of the judge.  There are lots of things a judge could say that would get he or she into some hot water.    As for reading back to the jury, the reporter would read only those things that are in the record.  Any stricken questions, answers, or statements are not read to the jury. 

  5. In my state juries are not provided transcripts of any part of the proceedings during their deliberations. They are only allowed to take the exhibits introduced in evidence and the jury instructions read to them by the judge into the jury room with them.

    As far as striking comments from the record, nothing is actually stricken from the prepared transcript. Whatever is said in that courtroom or in chambers, unless it's off the record, goes in the transcript.

    The first judge I worked for made a comment in an in-chambers ruling that referred to "Chief Justice Robertson and the Supremes." When it came time for the appeal, I reminded him what he said and asked him if he was nervous about it. His comment, "I said it. It was on the record. It goes." My sister-in-law, who worked at the Supreme Court, told me later that that ruling was on the bulletin board with the "Chief Justice Robertson and the Supremes" comment highlighted in yellow.


  6. Hi DebbieAvon1,

    If the jury hears it, it goes in the transcript. Another example: The
    lawyer says, "Objection, Your Honor. I move to strike counsel's last
    comment." And the judge says, "That objection is sustained, and the
    jury will disregard counsel's last comment." Even though the objection
    was sustained and the jury was instructed by the judge to disregard the
    comment, that whole thing goes in the transcript. If the case goes up
    on appeal, the opposite counsel could take exception with the judge's
    ruling and disagree and make that part of the error the case is appealed on.

    You understand that's a very simplistic example and something like that
    wouldn't be the reason for an appeal.

    Sometimes "false starts" by the lawyers in chambers during a motion
    argument are not included in the transcript. Some reporters put that
    in; some do not. But that only applies to in chambers with the judge
    and the lawyers. If the proceeding in chambers is a proffer and there
    is a witness, then "strike that" comments go in.


  7. Hello Cricket,

    In the 21 years since I have been an official, I have never had a judge
    to say "strike that" for anything. Now, I have had lawyers say that
    quite often. When they say "strike that," it's usually on a false start
    in asking a witness a question. What he says goes in that book, and
    what he says goes in that transcript. For example, "What did you mean
    when you said — strike that. What did you say to the police officer?"


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