An appeals court has sent the case of a 22-year-old McAllen man back to the 92nd state District Court after learning a hard drive containing notes was dropped and damaged, making it impossible for a court reporter to provide a transcript.
The 13th Court of Appeals made the ruling Tuesday in the case of Eddie Guadalupe Rodriguez, who is serving a 12-year prison term for assaulting two minors at a municipal swimming pool in 2014.
The offenses occurred at the South Park swimming pool in Edinburg.
In its ruling, the higher court directs the trial court to hold a hearing to determine whether Rodriguez timely filed a request for the reporter’s record and whether any significant exhibits or significant portions of the court reporter’s notes and records were lost or destroyed.
The ruling also directs the court to determine whether the lost, destroyed or inaudible portion of the reporter’s record or the lost and destroyed exhibit are necessary to the appeal’s resolution.
Lastly, the court is to determine whether the lost, destroyed or inaudible portion of the record or lost or destroyed exhibit cannot be replaced.
The ruling comes 12 days after court reporter Julian Alderette filed several affidavits informing the 13th Court of Appeals of the damaged hard drive.
This isn’t the first time Alderette has filed affidavits informing the 13th Court of Appeals of a damaged hard drive.
In May 2019, The Monitor reported that Alderette filed affidavits in the John Feit case, stating that a hard drive was dropped and damaged, resulting in Alderette being unable to provide the appeals court with a transcript of any 2016 hearings in Feit’s case, including his arraignment and three pre-trial hearings.
Feit’s appeal, however, is now moot.
The former priest, who was convicted in 2017 of killing Irene Garza in 1960, died last month.