...It is only fair to offer 'the benefit of the doubt' to all the witnesses and as you say, most were truth tellers, at least six seem quite reliable.
We have people caught in the moment and others somewhat prepared for some action but few seemed to be stretching the truth deliberately, except the Earp boys and Sills, who were quite open about lying.
As for reliability in transmission, The Nugget reporter was able to cover most of the case in shorthand so probably kept up with a little more accuracy. The Hearing and Inquest records that exist are in ink. That means the court reporter had to be using a quill pen and an ink bottle to follow the testimonies. I grew up in school writing exactly the same. Once dipping the pen point in the ink you had to touch the edge of the ink bottle to remove excess ink, You might write two or three words slowly before dipping the pen point again.
So it is unlikely the recorder could keep up with someone speaking at a normal pace. One can only assume a pencil was used and then a copy was made in ink. If so, this would invite enormous errors.
So we have to more heavily rely on the newspaper accounts, especially the Nugget.
But with what we have, one is struck with questions not asked. There was no pursuit of statements that brought on doubt, even today. There was no attempt to develop some obvious intriguing comments. Testimonies were not compared, one against another.
The problem may have been it was a Hearing, not a Jury case and that becomes a problem. But for the most part, I myself find most testimonies quite reliable with few exceptions.
"These witnesses seemed determined to ..."
I expect this is at least some of the reason we view things differently. I don't see them as being determined to do anything. Just witnesses telling what ... more
Jones/determined.... — Joyce A. Aros,Mon Apr 11 19:10
I found value in all the testimonies. Even those, that for whatever reason, are incorrect.
Regarding the testimony:
I think people under estimate how much is missing. Ike spent two or three days... more
I do not think there are missing parts of the testimony. Here's why. We have the original court reporters pages, and the Nugget's reporting for the Coroner's inquest. Keep in mind the Nugget's reporte... more
Ike Clanton's testimony
November 9-15, 1881
Ike spent four days in the court room.
The entirety of his testimony can be read aloud in one hour. That's a lot of court room time for what little verb... more
Jones if you've ever been in a courtroom you'll know it takes a lot more time to get the work done than just the time it would take to read the transcripts out loud. I was in a jury on a medical malpr... more
I've managed to dodge jury duty up to this point so I'll take your word for it.
I didn't realize that only one hour of the spoken word was the norm for a weeks worth of testimony. Only the government... more
I am evaluating the whole thing from the existing recorded testimonies. I do not change a word. I know that there are sure to be many other words spoken at the time but we don't have those, do we? So ... more
...please note in Virgil's testimony how he focuses on Billy Clanton, completely condensing the whole scenario by eliminating the attack on Frank and the shotgun blast at Tom.
Virgil focuses totall... more
Agree with you on the Earp brothers story.
I think the video is plenty clear about my opinion of the lawman story.
I think they chose Billy as the initial shooter because he was farthest into the va... more