Thursday, August 9, 2007

Court Reporter Jailed

A court stenographer was freed Monday evening, 12 March 2007, after spending the weekend in the Broward County Jail trying to finish a trial transcript needed for the long-delayed appeal of a convicted child rapist.

On Friday, Broward Circuit Judge Charles Greene jailed Ann Margaret Smith, 44, of Lauderhill, for contempt of court after he said she missed several deadlines from the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Greene put Smith under house arrest Monday while she finishes the last 400 pages of the 1,500-page transcript.

Smith's attorney argued she has three children to care for and she was making less progress typing up the transcript in jail: 91 pages in the past 21/2 days.

"If I was home, I would be working until 2 or 3 in the morning. And being in prison ... my mind is boggled thinking about my kids," Smith told the judge. Church members have been caring for her children.

Smith, a court stenographer for 21 years, said she had never before missed an appeals court deadline.

The transcript is from the trial of Damion Winston Foster, who was convicted of raping a 2-year-old Pompano Beach boy. In April 2006, Foster was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without parole

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