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Transcript doesn’t exist for Hardy’s first trial, yet

Greg Hardy

Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) sits on the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)


It’s become popular in the media to assume that Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy already has had his day in court on domestic violence charges. In one way, he has. But he really hasn’t.

North Carolina procedure calls for an initial trial before a judge, which precedes the trial before a jury. The true day in court comes when the trial occurs before a jury.

To illustrate the relative lack of significance of the trial before the judge, the court doesn’t even generate a transcript of the trial before the judge.

So to say (as most have) that Hardy was convicted and is appealing the conviction isn’t accurate. Hardy hasn’t been convicted. He has been found guilty via a preliminary process that essentially serves as a filter for deciding the cases that are decided by a jury.

But nothing prevents the lawyer for the defendant from hiring a court reporter. In this case, that’s what happened. In this case, the transcript has yet to be finalized. In this case, the Panthers and/or the league presumably can tell Hardy, “We want a copy of it when it’s ready, and you’re not playing until we have a chance to read it.”

It’s unclear when the transcript will be completed. But it makes sense for the team and the league to make a clear and pointed request that the transcript be finished and tendered for a full review ASAP, so that the team and the league can determine whether Hardy did what he is accused of doing, and whether he should be disciplined by the team or the league for whatever one or both conclude that he did.