State trial courts working to find enough court reporters to staff courtrooms

California courts are working hard to fill open slots to comply with the high court’s ruling, according to an article posted Jan. 2, by The San Diego Union-Tribune. Six months ago, the state Supreme Court ruled that local courts must provide court reporters in civil cases involving poor litigants. Court administrators are now working to hire scores of reporters, as well as request additional funding in 2019.

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New Jersey Supreme Court issues rule to protect court reporter’s audio file

The Certified Court Reporters Association – New Jersey (CCRA-NJ) announced that the New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Committee created a new court rule to protect the reporter’s audio file.

Although New Jersey already had a rule in place that affirmed a transcript taken by a New Jersey Certified Court Reporter as the official record, the new rule goes further in protecting the court reporter’s audio file as a “work product.” This also means that litigants and their attorneys may not demand or request an audio file without obtaining a court order.

“By October 2013, I’d heard enough of reporter’s stories to make the announcement that I was going to petition the NJ Supreme Court Civil Practice Committee to create a rule to protect the reporter’s audio file as their work product, and not be available to litigants or their attorneys without a court order to show cause,” Rick Paone, the state association’s legislative chairman, said about how he decided to take up the issue. “The issue hit home several years ago when a litigant accused my reporter of leaving something out. His attorney told me the client was a troubled person and knew the supposed testimony had never occurred but asked that we furnish it to satisfy his client. I refused to have the reporter turn it over, and the litigant fired his attorney and filed charges against my reporter with the State Board for ‘fraud and deception.’ The matter was investigated and dismissed, but it became of paramount importance to get language in place to protect reporters from litigants and their counsel attempting to use their work product audio against them.”

Paone also emphasized that it was a long process, but one well worth the time. In addition to spending months researching the issue, he worked with the attorney for CCRA-NJ to draft a petition to the Civil Practice Committee. It took a year until the rule received a recommendation from the committee, at which time it was sent to the New Jersey Supreme Court for public comment. The rule was put into effect Sept. 1.

The text of the new rule is available courtesy of the Certified Court Reporters Association – New Jersey.



SCOTUS ditches cell phone ban to swear in lawyers who are hard of hearing

An article posted April 25 by GCN reports that the U.S. Supreme Court set aside its policy against cell phones in the courtroom recently when it swore in 12 members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association into the Supreme Court Bar on April 19. The Supreme Court provided a limited WiFi signal so the lawyers could use their mobile devices to receive a realtime transcription of the swearing-in ceremony through CART.

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Drug case in the Bahamas delayed due to lack of stenographer

A newspaper serving the Bahamas recently reported that a man accused of drug possession was granted a stay in his case pending the outcome of his constitutional motion to be heard in the Supreme Court because a magistrate could not comply with his request to have a stenographer present for his trial. The Bahamian government recently replaced stenographic court reporters with digital recording in a move that was heavily criticized by the local bar association, noting problems encountered by other jurisdictions that had adopted the same change. The country’s Supreme Court is currently reviewing whether the rights for the accused man to have a stenographic court reporter present to record the trial’s proceedings complies with his right to a fair trial guaranteed under the Bahama’s constitution.

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