The Significance of Clerical Errors in Criminal Cases

Legal matters are all about documentations and filed paperwork. Lawyers and other law experts look into court records and filed testimony for reference in future cases and legal education. All motions, subpoenas, appeals, convictions, jury sentences and other legal documents are archived. They play an important role in keeping records of their related cases, providing backup documents for a post-conviction appeal in Las Vegas, and so on.

As is the case with many important documents, however, legal documents can still be prone to serious mistakes. Transcribers and legal experts can expect one or two clerical errors for the documents that they wish to file for archiving. Clerical errors in legal documents aren’t just simple mistakes that people can overlook; they can drastically affect how people interpret a case in the future. It can even change the way courts apply case law on future hearings. It is a major reason why lawyers and record-keepers fuss over checking their documents for clerical errors.

On Their Own Initiative

Federal rules put the burden of correcting discovered clerical mistakes in a judgement or case-related document in the hands of the court that handled the proceedings. These changes are announced in the appropriate channels to notify related parties about the oversights that need to be corrected. It could be as simple as a few misspellings, or as major as re-adding an omitted paragraph. The federal rule has been amended at least once to keep it current with the changing times.

Procedures aren’t that much difference in Las Vegas. The court will still notify concerned parties and the general public regarding the corrections that will be done to the documents, and they will proceed with it as normal. However, the correction is often done after the concerned party has filed a motion requesting a correction to the judgement on clerical error grounds. Courts tend to miss out on the errors because of the sheer number of cases that they have to handle, so it will be up to the concerned parties to call them out on the mistakes.

Butterfly Effect

Just how serious can the slightest clerical error cost a defendant his or her chances at getting acquitted? For starters, even the slightest mistype for the sentence can cause more serious trouble for the defendant than expected. The misreported information can be accepted as evidence in the trial, and unless countered in a motion highlighting the error, can led to more severe penalties. The defendant may face a conviction that is several times bigger in magnitude just because the paperwork had overlooked mistakes.

An even worse butterfly effect comes around if the defendant is filing an appeal. In some cases, the sentence appeal is the last chance a defendant has to be acquitted from a serious conviction. However, if they file the motion and find out later that there were clerical errors in the paperwork, it will be difficult for them to correct the mistakes. These errors will be entered in public records and can be used by the prosecution to further seal the conviction.

An Ounce of Prevention…

Clerical errors and oversights are an expected part of any case. Even after multiple revisions, a filed appeal or motion can have one or two seemingly minor errors that can be overlooked the first or second time. It would be wise to accept that clerical errors can happen when the concerned parties least expect it.

Instead of trying to nitpick about the mistakes, it would be wiser to take action immediately. Failing to file a motion to correct documents at the shortest possible time can cause severe implications and take away any chance of acquittal. It helps to look into the documents again after they have been filed to make sure that any errors can be caught before the hearing resumes. Avoid simply accepting the judgment when an error or two has been sighted.


Clerical errors may be simple documenting mistakes, that their effects are severe and far-reaching. Just because they can happen anytime doesn’t mean that the affected parties can sit back and let things take their course. Be on the lookout for any overlooked clerical errors to avoid receiving a skewed judgement due to a simple mistake in the filed documents.