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CAROL A. MANSFIELD v. SCOTT T. LOPEZ (02/24/81)

submitted: February 24, 1981.

CAROL A. MANSFIELD
v.
SCOTT T. LOPEZ, APPELLANT



No. 1742 PHILADELPHIA, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal, of Chester County at No. 219N of 1980.

COUNSEL

William Butler, IV, West Chester, for appellant.

William Lamb, District Attorney, West Chester, for appellee.

Spaeth, Johnson and Wieand, JJ. Wieand, J., files a concurring statement.

Author: Spaeth

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 569]

This is an appeal from an order based upon a finding that appellant is the father of appellee's child, Daniel, and directing appellant to pay $10.00 a week in support of the child. Since the lower court's official stenographer took no stenographic notes of the testimony, we reverse and remand for new trial.

On February 29, 1980, appellee filed a complaint against appellant under the Civil Procedural Support Law,*fn1 seeking support for her child. On June 19, 1980, a non-jury trial was held, at which appellant, representing himself, denied paternity. On June 24, 1980, the lower court entered its order directing appellant to pay child support.

In its opinion explaining its order, the lower court states:

The practice of this County regarding non-support hearings is that they are not stenographically recorded unless either party requests that they be. Hence, the only records of this proceeding are the Court's Bench notes and recollections.

(Slip op. at 2, footnote 1)

Relying on its practice, the lower court rejected appellant's argument that "he was not offered the use of stenographic means of recording testimony, thereby preventing him from effectively exercising his right of appeal." (Slip op. at 2-3.) We are unable to accept the lower court's decision, for the practice on which the court relied is contrary to law.

The Act of May 1, 1907, P.L. 135, § 3, 17 P.S. § 1804, provides:

The official stenographers of the several courts of common pleas, when engaged in such courts, or in the courts of oyer and terminer, general jail delivery and quarter sessions of the peace, shall take full stenographic notes of the testimony in all judicial proceedings in any trial of fact, at law or in equity, together ...


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