Stenographer Refuses Deal to Complete Transcript
Posted February 5, 1998
DURHAM (AP) — A court stenographer jailed after refusing to complete the transcript of a capital murder trial has balked at a deal offered by court officials who want the transcript finished.
Court officials said Wednesday that Patt McMann-Byrd could use her own equipment to prepare the transcript in a day room of the county jail.
But defense lawyer Keith Bishop argued that McMann-Byrd should be released from jail so she could more comfortably prepare the transcript under house arrest.
Bishop also said McMann-Byrd needs help to finish the transcript because her arms are numb from a recent series of traffic crashes. It has been impossible to find anyone willing to submit to the strip-searches that would be imposed on anyone entering the jail to assist her, the lawyer said.
A hearing was scheduled for Friday morning, at which McMann-Byrd will have a chance to formally accept or reject the state's proposal.
If she rejects it, she will be subject to ``full contempt'' proceedings, said District Attorney Jim Hardin Jr.
McMann-Byrd is charged with criminal contempt and felony counts of obstructing justice, converting state property to her own use and extortion and embezzlement of public money.
She was jailed under a $540,000 bond last week after missing a state deadline for completing the transcript of the murder trial of Todd Boggess.
Boggess, a young drifter, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die for the fatal beating of Wilmington honor student Danny Pence.
McMann-Byrd says she is due $58,000 to finish the original transcript and three copies. The state is willing to pay only $28,500 for the original and one copy.
According to Bishop, the state now wants to bill McMann-Byrd $4,135.60 for purported overpayments it made to her for other transcripts.