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I'm not a legal student or scholar, but I'm looking to get my hands on a full transcript of a California murder trial from the 1980s in which the defendant recieved the death penalty. Since the LA county court's website says that they destroy transcripts after ten years, but keep transcripts from death penalty cases indefinitely, I am fairly sure the record still exists. I just don't know how I should go about getting it, how much an e-mailed PDF copy would cost, how much a scanned copy would cost if I went to the court and got it in person, or even if the record would be found at the court or in the state archives, since the defendant is dead. Any help would be much appreciated.

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I would contact the county court clerk's office and make the request, as they normally will have duties that would include filing transcripts and other court paperwork. If they don't have it in an archive they own, they would certainly know who does if for no other reason then they would have to send modern cases to them. I would also check the State Court's website and see if they have case databases availble for search (My state does have access to a search of cases by names or case numbers and will return the names of both parties in the case as well as all witnesses called by either side and all developments and motions and finding results including the verdict. The transcripts don't normally appear, but since the system depends on state by state, it could. I would advise calling the clerk's office before going in person. No use making a trip only to learn your case is elsewhere in L.A. (and you'll be caught in rush hour).

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