A Court Reporter Just Kept Typing "I Hate My Job" Instead Of Transcribing Testimony
Aaron Hand was a mortgage broker in jail for a fraud scheme worth $100 million—which sounds pretty crazy, but we're not going to spend a lot of time on it because the crime wasn't that interesting. Mostly, it involved a bunch of mortgage stuff, and none of us want to spend today reading about mortgages if we can help it.
In jail, he vowed revenge against one of the witnesses responsible for putting him behind bars. And so the boring white collar criminal turned from fraud to murder. He contacted a hit man and offered him the kingly sum of $2,000 to torture and kill the witness. But this hit man was actually an undercover investigator, as hit men so often turn out to be, especially when you find them while incarcerated, and especially when they accept a job for just $2,000.
That's the story we know now, and it ended with Aaron getting extra prison time on top of his original sentence. But sorting out all the facts wasn't so easy. Because during his appeal, the lawyers requested court transcripts from the earlier trial, and the documents they received were filled with total gibberish.
The court reporter, Daniel Kochanski, had been a disgruntled employee, not to mention a dysfunctional alcoholic. Instead of typing what everyone was saying, he often just mashed random keys. Sometimes, he wrote words, but they were cryptic references no one could decipher. At one point, he just typed the phrase "I HATE MY JOB" over and over.
It's a reminder of how weird it is that we still rely on stenographers in the courtroom. Court reporters manually transcribe testimony, much like they did back in the 18th century. You'd think we'd have switched to a better way of recording sometime around when the phonograph was first invented.
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Top image: Warner Bros.