By JEFFREY POWELL
Former South Walton County Mosquito Control District (SWCMCD) Commissioner Gregory “Charlie” Burke recently filed a motion with the Walton County court requesting all audio tapes concerning his trial that ended on June 11, 2008. That trial ended with Burke’s conviction on charges of false swearing to any oath or false certification of nomination and submission of false voter registration information.
During a telephone hearing with First Judicial Circuit Court Judge Kelvin Wells, Burke’s Tallahassee attorney Michael Ufferman requested the tapes. Wells and the court reporter, who was also involved in the teleconference, informed Ufferman that no tapes exist and that they believe the written transcript to be the official record.
In Burke’s motion it says he “believes that there was at least one statement that was made during the trial that does not appear in the trial transcripts.”
According to the court reporter, informal tapes are sometimes used to help clarify the final written record but those tapes are destroyed after the transcripts are completed. Wells also indicated that most requests for records are more specific rather than asking for an entire transcript.
During the conference Ufferman admitted the request was “moot,” due to the fact that there are no tapes.
“There has been no evidence presented that there was any omission to the record,” Wells decided.
“The purpose of a court reporter is to make a record of the proceedings,” said Assistant State Attorney Greg Anchors. “There has been no evidence of error in this case.”
Jeffrey Powell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.