Dallas Co. argues to sue Routier court reporter


Associated Press

AUSTIN - The Dallas Country District Attorney's office should be able to sue a court reporter whose transcript of the murder trial of convicted killer Darlie Routier was filled with errors, an assistant district attorney argued Wednesday.

Grant Brenna, a lawyer with the Dallas County District Attorney's office, appeared before the Texas Supreme Court to argue that court reporter Sandra Halsey does not have judicial immunity in the case.

The county is seeking money it used to assist in reconstructing the court transcript, Brenna said. A second reporter had to redo Halsey's transcript, using notes and audio tapes from the trial, because of numerous problems in the first transcript.

Darlie Routier      

Brenna said he did not know how much money was spent.

An attorney for Halsey did not attend the Supreme Court hearing and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Brenna said that while judges and some employees in a judge's office cannot be sued because they do things that are discretionary, court reporters perform ministerial tasks and must merely record what was said, Brenna said.

Halsey's attorney has argued that because Halsey worked for a judge, she cannot be sued, Brenna said.

The Supreme Court did not immediately rule in the case.

Routier, a homemaker in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett, was arrested two weeks after her sons, Damon, 5, and Devon, 6, were killed in their home June 6, 1996.

Routier claimed an intruder attacked her and the boys and then fled. A Kerrville jury convicted Routier from Damon's slaying and sentenced her to death by injection.

Her attorneys argued in March before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that her conviction should be reversed because the record of the 1997 trial is plagued with inaccuracies.