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Drunk Court Reporter Types “I Hate My Job” During Trial

Court Reporter

A New York City court reporter decided to take his work frustrations out:

An alcoholic Manhattan court stenographer went rogue, channeling his inner “Shining” during a high-profile criminal trial and repeatedly typing, “I hate my job, I hate my job” instead of the trial dialogue, sources told The Post.

The bizarre antics by Daniel Kochanski, who has since been fired, wreaked havoc on some 30 Manhattan court cases, sources said, and now officials are scrambling to repair the damage.

One high-level source said his “gibberish” typing may have jeopardized hard-won convictions by giving criminals the chance to claim crucial evidence is missing.

Kochanski’s botched transcripts include the 2010 mortgage-fraud trial of Aaron Hand, who was also convicted of trying to hire a hit man to take out a witness against him.

A source familiar with the case said Kochanski’s transcripts of that trial were a total mess.

“It should have been questions and answers — instead it was gibberish,” the source said.

And in a scene right out of 1980′s “The Shining,” where Jack Nicholson’s off-the-rails writer repeatedly types “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” a source said of Kochanski: “He hit random keys or wrote, ‘I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job,’ over and over.”

Claudia Trupp, of the Center for Appellate Litigation, said her office was handling the appeals in Hand’s and nine other cases.

“I never had a situation where a single court reporter was responsible for so much damage,” she said.

Kochanski, 43, was fired in March 2012 for misconduct, said Office of Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver.

In my line of work I’ve gotten to know many court reporters over the years and I’ve often wondered what thoughts might be running through their head during the course of a trial or deposition.

Now we know.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Pearce says:

    Maybe you can answer this for me, Doug.

    Why do we still have court reporters? The technology exists to record every second of audio and video. It’s been deployed everywhere from grocery stores to parking lots. Why not the courtroom?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  2. Tim says:

    @James Pearce:

    Why do we still have court reporters?

    Maybe they have a good union.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    My guess is that he hates his job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    @James Pearce:

    Because the courts are stuck in the 18th century.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. superdestroyer says:

    As more illegals enter the United States, the closer it comes to being a one party state. This is just the beginning, soon no one will bother participating in Republican primaries, opting instead to run in Democratic ones knowing that this is the only way to make a difference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  6. @superdestroyer: I try to ignore the trolls, but seriously, WTFITS?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. Tillman says:

    @superdestroyer: That’s right, I voted you up. You did it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Tillman says:

    @Tim: Either that or a terrible one, and it’s less expensive to have a stenographer than audio-recording equipment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. superdestroyer says:

    @Timothy Watson: Look, the homosexual agenda is not about civil rights but about getting government perks and benefits. Back in 1865, white liberals thought that the black agenda is merely about the right to vote and freedom from bondage, so they passed the reconstruction amendments thinking that blacks would not make any further demands from the government afterwards. They were proven wrong by the mess we have today, and this is why homosexuals should not be granted suffrage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  10. @superdestroyer: And what the frak does that have to do with a drunk court reporter?!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. superdestroyer says:

    @Timothy Watson: @Timothy Watson: Because affirmative action.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. @superdestroyer:

    Because affirmative action.

    Uh…what? I’m pretty sure someone with the name “Daniel Kochanski” is Polish, or at the very least Slavic. Unless you’re going old-school nativist and talking about the evils of letting those Slavs in, what the frak are you talking about?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. superdestroyer says:

    @Timothy Watson: You answered your own question. Affirmative action leads to Papist infiltration in all ranks of government; very soon our Republic will be replaced by a one party regime which answers only to the Vatican. Those people are very fond of welfare due to lacking a Protestant work ethic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  14. James Pearce says:

    @superdestroyer: Too bad there’s not an island country or a moon base you can go to where you can only be around your own kind, never having to worry about people of the wrong ethnic or religious background invading your personal space or consciousness.

    You’d probably be happier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. superdestroyer says:

    @James Pearce: So I see that you are trying to hasten the transition of the United States into a one party state by trying to make me go away. Didn’t expect anything else from a democrat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. wr says:

    @Timothy Watson: Um, guys? I don’t think this is the real SuperD — just someone having a little fun.

    I know I laughed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. @wr: I was wondering if he was trolling me or what, perfect example of Poe’s Law at work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. Grewgills says:

    @wr:
    I was wondering if it was that or if he had finally jumped the shark.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  19. (parody) superdestroyer says:

    I was surprised to see that I was actually fooling anyone. I could see my first comment being confused with a real SD comment, but what I wrote later on seemed too ridiculous to me to be seen as anything other than parody. I guess that even this tripe can pass as real comments from our Racist in Chief.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. @(parody) superdestroyer: Well play, sir. Admittedly, my gullibility had been increased due to the sheer level of bullshit coming out of Eric Florack on another post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. DrDaveT says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Because the courts are stuck in the 18th century.

    Indeed. If you want to crusade for modernization in the courtroom, the use of court reporters is way down the list of needed reforms. (After all, you’re going to need a transcript at some point anyway.) I’d start with more urgent reforms, like allowing jurors to take notes during the trial. That seems like a bigger leap forward to me…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. rudderpedals says:

    @DrDaveT: Absolutely correct. Some states (mine) allow state court jurors to take notes. Not sure what the issue is with other states that haven’t changed their procedures.

    FWIW, Federal Court does away with the live reporter; everything’s taped, the reporter gets her page fee when transcribing from the tape. Best part about it is being able to download an mp3 for leisurely review at the office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  23. Tillman says:

    @Grewgills: That’s pretty much what I thought had happened. The only area he wasn’t like SD: too concise. SD would’ve gone on longer. Not like I noticed at the time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0