July 21, 1996
Re: Shamema Honzagool Sloan
Dear Judge Trabue,
I have been attempting to perfect my appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals from your order dated April 30, 1996.
The main problem I have been having is that, according to everybody whom I have consulted, there is only one court reporter who is capable of preparing the transcript. Her name is Terri Spruce and her number is (804) 239-9672. I have called her repeatedly about this. I called her on February 20, 1996, within a few hours after your trial on this matter had concluded. She told me that she had just undergone surgery and had just gotten out of the hospital. She said that it would take six weeks for her to recover and after that she would then be in a position to prepare the transcript.
Unfortunately, I have never since been able to get her on the telephone. I have repeatedly left messages on her machine.
In the mean time, I have called every other court reporter service in the Lynchburg-Roanoke area. They all say that only Terri Spruce can handle this matter. I do not understand the problem exactly, but I believe that only she has the type of recording equipment in use in Amherst County. A further factor is that she prepared transcripts in this case before, and therefore would recognize the voices.
The other solution would be for me to proceed with this appeal on a statement of facts. Here, the problem is that there were virtually no facts adduced at trial. Charles and Shelby Roberts did not testify, nor did they call any witnesses on their behalf. Only I testified, plus I called my daughter as a witness. I think that you will agree that no significant facts were adduced from this testimony.
I hope that you will cooperate in allowing me to proceed forward with this appeal. Frankly, in the past, the cooperation of the other judges was not forthcoming. For example, when Judge Gamble signed his order dated November 18, 1991, I did not even learn of the order until January, 1992, nearly two months later, and did not even receive a hard copy until February, 1992. My notice of appeal was dismissed as untimely. Then, as now, there was a long delay of two months between the trial and the signing of an order, so I had no way of knowing when a judgment would be issued.,
Unless I can somehow get a transcript made, I hope that you will agree to certify a statement of facts so that this appeal can proceed.
Very Truly Yours,
M. Ismail Sloan