Lawsuit for Alleged Deliberate Change of Criminal Trial Transcript

In Curro v. Watson, 884 F. Supp. 708 (E.D.N.Y. 1995), the defendant brought an action to recover damages from four New York State court reporters, alleging that they deliberately altered the transcript of his criminal trial; he claimed that the language in the charge was changed from "strangled or killed by other means" to "strangled or otherwise killed," and that this improperly amended the indictment; he also claimed that one objection of his attorney to the prosecutor's summation was deleted from the trial transcript; and a settlement hearing was conducted before the justice who presided at the defendant's trial at which it was determined that the trial transcript was correct. The court concluded that the State's postdeprivation remedies in the form of a transcript settlement hearing were adequate to protect the defendant's procedural due process rights and that the state hearing afforded him was sufficiently comprehensive. Ultimately, summary judgment was awarded to the defendant court reporters on the basis of qualified immunity.