This case and I have a history.
My search for records from State of Florida v. Marian Lynn Long began on August 17, 2020, with a phone call to court reporting. On the other end was a familiar voice. I had spoken with Kaye on many other occasions, and she laughed when I told her I was looking for a recording from 2006. It had been destroyed more than a decade ago.
I then asked the Office of the State Attorney to produce everything they had regarding the case, and to prioritize their production of (a) the August 29, 2006 deposition of Keith Vidler, and (b) the audio recording of a November 20, 2006 suppression hearing.
That, too, went nowhere. They produced a singe page that contained nothing new. Their case file had been destroyed a decade and a half prior.
On top of that, Marian Lynn Long was dead, and neither Frank Iennaco, Long’s defense attorney, nor the prosecutor, were responding to my calls and emails.
Next came the Clerk of Court. I requested a copy of an audio recording that I had reason to believe was in their custody. I had a photocopy of the CD.
Seriously. A photocopy of a CD.
I wanted the audio, but when the Clerk saw “audio” they referred me to court reporting. The same people who had told me they didn’t have anything.
After months of trying, I finally found my hero in Monica West. Though we did have some teething issues.
I thought my request was pretty clear:
“One of the docket items in this case appears to be a photocopy of an audio CD, where the photocopy is intended to communicate the existence of an audio recording. See attached. Specifically, the CD is labeled “CD 11/20/06 motion to suppress hearing,” and it appears to have been filed on or about 1/4/2010. I request a copy of the audio recording that is on that CD. Thank you.”
That’s what got me a referral to court reporting:
“Thank you for contacting the Orange County Clerk of Courts. Request for audio recordings or transcripts are done through the Court Reporter’s Office. Please contact their office for more information. Their contact information is as follows:..”
Yeah, I know. I was just in touch with them…
“Thank you, however I am not seeking an a copy of an official recording or transcript. I am seeking a copy of a docket item from a case. I believe that you are the custodian of that record. Am I wrong?”
That got me in touch with Monica West.
After exchanging a few messages, I received an invoice. I paid it immediately, and things were looking good. Hopeful that I might be able get the recording sooner, I wrote:
“Thanks, Monica! I already paid the invoice. Any chance you can email me the recording?”
“Your request has been fulfilled and put into the outgoing mail.”
A no, but a promising no. The kind that says, “No, but be patient. It’s coming. Finally.”
Turns out it wasn’t.
My request for a copy of an audio recording, referring to a specific recording from a specific case, on a specific CD that I bizarrely had a photocopy of? Somehow, that had been interpreted as a request for a copy of the case docket. One of the few things I already had.
Discovering that cost a few weeks, $19, and a decent amount of optimism. I thought that I was getting the recording until the moment I opened the envelope to discover that it contained documents that were already on my desk. Right next to me.
Not the biggest deal in the grand scheme of things, but it didn’t leave me hopeful.
I tried again.
I received the records you sent. Thank you.
Unfortunately, I don’t understand how the records provided are responsive to my request. I apologize for any confusion, however my request was as follows:
“One of the docket items in this case appears to be a photocopy of an audio CD, where the photocopy is intended to communicate the existence of an audio recording. See attached. Specifically, the CD is labeled “CD 11/20/06 motion to suppress hearing,” and it appears to have been filed on or about 1/4/2010. I request a copy of the audio recording that is on that CD. Thank you.
In response I was provided paper records only. Please advise.”
Monica then tracked down a box at an off-site storage facility, and requested that the box be retrieved and shipped to her office.
Eventually, it showed up. In that box was a CD. It was the CD I had a photocopy of. It had been there for more than ten years.
This is what it contained.
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