Section J: Position Statements - Subsection 5: Policy Statement on Affirming the Role of and Need for the Official Reporter
POLICY: Policy Statement on Affirming the Role of and Need for the Official Reporter
Adopted: July 2003
Reaffirmed: July 2011
Budget crises in many of the nation’s courts have increased the pressure to reduce the number of qualified reporters or replace them with alternative record-making methodologies. Put simply: in times of economic challenge, concerns over funding often take precedence over concerns regarding the quality and accuracy of the record.
NCRA believes that adopting such a limited perspective risks not only the production of an accurate, complete, and secure record of the proceeding, but also the efficient functioning of the judicial process and access to the courts for American citizens. Therefore, decisions regarding the best method for making the record must be based on the court’s larger goals and customer needs.
Court reporters are experts at gathering information and preserving it in formats that are quickly accessible and readily usable. They have played a critical role in bringing state-of-the-art technology into the courtroom. Clearly, realtime computer technology when applied by a highly trained and skilled individual enhances the value of the record. These ‘Guardians of the Record’ offer the only method for immediate voice-to-text translation via realtime technology, thereby providing counsel and the judge with instant access to the transcript during the proceedings and ensuring a faster and more efficient judicial process. The same technology provides greater access to the justice system for the more than 28 million U.S. citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing. Having the transcript immediately available in digital form puts key information where it is needed, when it is needed. As a result, the role of the official court reporter has changed from making a record for appellate review to managing a multipurpose system that provides online data for lawyers and other legal professionals.
NCRA advocates that realtime court reporters offer the best, most accurate, most efficient means (human or technological) and best proven and most widely available method for reliably and instantly capturing and integrating the spoken word into a comprehensive and accurate information base. This capability is critical to the swift, fair, and accurate operation of justice. Therefore, the nation’s courts should take every opportunity to make use of the skills and services that only a realtime or computerized court reporter can offer to the judicial system.