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Burnet County court reporter delays appeals process

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TWC News: Burnet County court reporter delays appeals process
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The family of an 11-year-old girl who was killed in Burnet County is questioning how the courts can allow the woman convicted of killing her to stay out of jail for so long.

In August 2010, 50-year-old Lynda Mescher was convicted of manslaughter for the 2009 death of Brianna Plehn. Mescher was sentenced to eight years in prison, but after posting bond and filing an appeal, she has yet to spend a day behind bars because the appeals process is moving so slowly.

Pinky Garza, Brianna’s mother, believes it's an injustice that Mescher continues to go free with no apparent deadline for when her appeal will be tried. She wants to know why it's taken so long.

As it turns out, the Third Court of Appeals has yet to see documentation regarding Mescher's case. Burnet County’s only court reporter has yet to file the report for Mescher's appeal, missing three deadlines set by the appeals court.

“The court reporters are specifically schooled in this before they get their certification,” Retired 299th District Court Judge Charlie Baird said. “They know what is expected of them."

The first deadline was in October, following Mescher’s August conviction. The most recent was Jan. 17 of this year.

"There does seem to be a severe injustice here because the court reporter, by not getting her appellate record prepared timely, is delaying the final resolution of this case,” Judge Baird said.

In a court order issued in December of 2011, the court reporter was given the ultimatum, to either file the appeal report or face a contempt of court charge.

When she spoke with YNN the court reporter said she will need at least two more weeks to complete the report.

Burnet County Judge Gil Jones says the court reporter is facing a backlog of at least 15 cases. Both Judge Gil and the court reporter cite a personnel shortage as the reason for the delay.

"Nothing is going to bring my daughter back,” Garza said. “I just want justice done."

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