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Session highlight: Artificial Justice! Small Errors, Big Consequences

On the third day of the 2023 NCRA Conference & Expo in Houston, Texas, attendees filled the Dogwood conference room to hear from NCRA STRONG Committee members Mary E. Pierce; Stacey Raikes, RMR, CRR; Lisa Migliore Black; and Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC. The seminar was entitled Artificial Justice! Small Errors, Big Consequences and advertised as a thought-provoking session exploring the tension between the democratization and monetization of court records in the United States.

As the panel moved through their PowerPoint slides, the audience was held captive by the alarming information shared, and at times were sitting on the edge of their seats.

“These ladies did an incredible job of breaking down the complexities of AI/ASR into digestible chunks,” declared Stephanie Famber, an attendee from Atlanta, Ga. “I am a student, completely ignorant on the matter, and was able to hold an intelligible conversation on the matter immediately thereafter. I look forward to learning from them again in the future.”

One of the topics discussed was the Murdaugh trial failure where both the presiding judge and the defense team praised court reporters while discussing the miserable shortcomings of a digitally produced transcript. “Is there anyone who hasn’t seen the video?” asked Terry, Chair of the NCRA STRONG Committee. A show of hands went up. “Oh, wow,” she said. As the video concluded, an attendee shouted out, “You get what you pay for!” — amusing attendees and panelists alike. Before opening the Q&A segment, attendees were encouraged to perform their own due diligence and use the tools shared at this seminar. “Go to the STRONG Resources Library where we’ve got a ton of information to print off and disseminate to your clients, to your courts,” encouraged Raikes.

“NCRA STRONG continues its effort to educate on the dire need for accuracy and accountability in creating a legal record,” said Committee Vice Chair Black. “Automated speech recognition is a high-risk-use case, and few seem to be aware of its use in our court system. The legal record you rely on should be accurate text, not predicted text by an ever-changing algorithm that discriminates against women and people of color.”

The NCRA STRONG Committee is composed of the following NCRA members: Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC; Lisa Migliore Black; Susan Alford; Stefanie R. Allison, RPR; Kim Falgiani, RDR, CRR, CRC; Lillian M. Freiler, FAPR, RMR, CMRS; Elizabeth A. Harvey, FAPR, RPR; Jo Holmgren; Andrea M. Kreutz, CLVS; Mary E. Pierce; Stacey E. Raikes, RMR, CRR; Linda D. Riffle, RDR, CRR, CRC; Mindy Sindiong, CLVS; Elizabeth Tremmel; and Sierra Zanghi, RSR. The committee can be contacted via email at