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Name: People v. Reese
Case #: B253610
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 09/17/2015
Subsequent History: Review granted 1/13/2016 (S230259)
Summary

The trial court did not violate defendant’s right to equal protection when it denied his request for transcripts of the opening statements and closing arguments presented during his first trial, which ended in a hung jury. Reese was charged with making criminal threats and other offenses. His first trial ended in a hung jury. Prior to retrial, Reese, who was representing himself, moved for a complete transcript of the first trial. The trial court provided him with transcripts of the witnesses’ testimony, but not the opening statements and closing arguments. Reese’s request for the missing transcripts was denied. He was convicted in his second trial. On appeal, Reese argued the denial of his request for transcripts of the opening statements and closing arguments violated his right to equal protection under the state and federal Constitutions. Held: Affirmed. Equal protection principles require the State to provide an indigent defendant facing retrial a complete transcript unless the prosecution shows that an effective defense can be presented with less than a complete transcript. (People v. Hosner (1975) 15 Cal.3d 60; see also Britt v. North Carolina (1971) 404 U.S. 226; Shuford v. Superior Court (1974) 11 Cal.3d 903.) The equal protection issue in Hosner, Britt, and Shuford “focused on a defendant’s right to a complete transcript of all the testimony in order to effectively rebut the prosecution case and impeach prosecution witnesses.” In the present case, the court declined to expand equal protection principles to require the State to provide opening statements and closing arguments in every case. Reese was provided with the testimony of all witnesses and he failed to show that other portions of the transcript were necessary to his defense. Telling the court that he needed the transcripts “to not make the same mistakes” was insufficient. [Editor’s Note: The dissent opined the transcript could not be said to be “complete” without statements of counsel. Further, Kennedy v. Lockyer (9th Cir. 2004) 379 F.3d 1041, found that Britt requires the State to provide a complete trial transcript that includes opening statements, closing arguments, and other proceedings.]