In North Carolina, fight to keep court reporters is not so silent

A May 31 article in North Carolina Policy Watch supporting court reporters offered wisdom from many in the court community. Judges, lawyers, and advocates working in the courts in North Carolina have launched strong opposition to the state senate’s budget proposal to cut the number of reporters by half and replace them with contract employees and audio equipment, citing that not only is the measure shortsighted but that it also reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of how the court system functions and the importance of accuracy reporters provide.

“At the heart of justice is the right of appeal, which necessarily includes an accurate record of lower court proceedings for the appellate court to review. By eliminating court reporters, we’re doing away with a professional in the courtroom who most everyone agrees is essential,” said the Hon. Edgar B. Gregory, a North Carolina judge, to the paper.

“What we’ve seen as states look to cut costs is that audio recording is not up to par; there’s times when someone’s forgotten to turn the equipment on, or whole sections are inaudible,” said Adam Finkel, NCRA’s assistant director of government relations, who was quoted in the article. “And when these companies make these claims of cost savings, they never include the costs of maintenance and upgrades.”

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