- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2005

DENVER (AP) — Convictions against eight persons accused of crimes including sex assault are at risk because a court reporter who has battled cancer quit her job before fully transcribing her notes, prosecutors said.

Arapahoe County court reporter Valerie Barnes left in 2003 as she fought breast cancer. The Arapahoe District Attorney’s Office said she left behind notes taken in her own form of shorthand that other court reporters can’t read.

“I am extremely frustrated,” Deputy District Attorney John Franks said last week.

A judge is considering whether to vacate convictions against eight defendants who have pursued appeals over the matter, said Kathleen Walsh, a spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County district attorney.

“Legitimate jury verdicts may be overturned because of what appears to be willful refusal to do the transcripts,” Mr. Franks told the Denver Rocky Mountain News.

But Miss Barnes’ attorney, David Lane, said chemotherapy caused his client to suffer memory loss, and she is unable to help any further. “This is a woman who has done her very best to help out,” he said. “The DA is doing everything they can to put her in jail.”

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