Fla. Supreme Court amends rule, mandates live court reporters in all capital trials

On March 24, the Florida Supreme Court on its own motion issued an amendment to the Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.535 to prohibit the use of digital recording for any and all capital case trials and post-conviction proceedings. The court further mandated the use of a live court reporter. These changes are effective immediately.

Over the last several years the state’s Eleventh Circuit Court had decided to start putting digital recording in the majority of courtrooms but, according to Rosa Naccarato, the president of the Florida Court Reporters Association, “based on this recent action taken by the court, it is clear that the system is failing already.”

“In the past 10 years, our state court administrators have steadily reduced the page rate to the point that competent stenos would no longer do the work. As a result, the administrators thought that going to digital recording would solve all their problems,” explained Naccarato. “I have heard nothing but horror stories about the quality of the transcripts and how long it takes to get something transcribed.”

According to Naccarato, the action by the Florida Supreme Court and the fact that it is effective immediately speaks volumes to the failures of using digital recordings in lieu of live court reporters. She also predicts that it is just a matter of time before the court mandates live court reporters for all felony cases.

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