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Electronic/Digital Recording

Key Links and Videos

2015 NCRA Convention Presentation on Saving Official Court Reporter Jobs

Kansas Court Reporters Association PowerPoint to Supreme Court

Kansas Court Reporters Association Presentation to Legislature 

Kansas Court Reporters Association Booklet

Key Studies

May 2014: NCRA's Cost Study Task Force published a white paper detailing all the costs that most court systems must take into account when comparing the true cost of a stenographic court reporter versus an electronic or digital recording system. 

February 2011: In response to the constant attacks on their profession, the California Official Court Reporter Association (COCRA) released a packet of information that discusses why certified shorthand reporters (CSR's) are necessary in maintaining the impartiality of the transcript and the integrity of the courtroom.  The document compiles ER/DAR mishaps and proves that a certified court reporter is the only true guardian of the record. 

September 2010: The Library of Congress commissioned a study titled "The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age".  This study reiterates that much that is digitally recorded has a significantly shorter lifespan than earlier recorded technologies and of course, that which is written.  The widey used CD-R discs only last about three to five years before they start to fade.  Additionally, digital sound files can be easily corrupted meaning that moments from history (even recent history like September 11th and the 2008 Presidential Election) can be forever lost.

December 2009: The California Court Reporters Association (CCRA) commissioned a study on the cost of replacing court reporters with DAR.  Their findings contradicted the perceptions held by some legislators who expect to find savings from switching to DAR.  The study focused on the court systems in Florida and California.  CCRA has used this document to help them in meetings with the State Finance Department to help prove that not only do they produce a more accurate record, but they are cheaper than the alternative. 

December 2009: The Iowa Judicial Council commissioned the Digital Audio/Video Recording Technology (DART) Committee to study moving the Iowa court system to completely digital.  DART found that they were concerned that the so-called "cost-savings" that switching to an all digital court would bring would not be realized for many years, if at all.  The report recommended that the courts keep their stenographic reporters. 

May 2009: The Minnesota court system compiled this document which chronicles the state of electronic recording in other states.  It includes data from 25 states and the District of Columbia and is purely a factual document. 

Recording Errors on Transcripts

July 2013: Malfunction in courtroom recording equipment prompted a judge Wednesday to declare a mistrial in the case of murder defendant Patrick Deon Ragland.


Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/07/31/2742656/judge-declares-mistrial-in-case.html#storylink=cpy

May 2013:Testimony of all of Good Samaritan's witnesses had been lost. Requring a new hearing of the entire case.

July 2012Faltering digital recording system causes a motion for a new hearing in Adams County, Colorado. “Plaintiff has not shown that she was unable to have a fair trial due to the later discovered failure of the recording system. At best, only appellate review is impacted.” 

July 2011: Recordings from Virginia Tech Shooter's Civil Commitment Found Inaudible.

March 2011: Significant video recording errors nearly derailed an lengthly trial in Hamilton County, Ohio.  "Defendant’s right to due process was not violated by the use of a video recording system in the courtroom, which resulted in the trial transcript being partially indiscernible." 

March 2010: Parties are still trying to certify a 2003, an eight month long trial for appeal because of a faulty recording device.  This 2003 United States Court of Appeals in the District Court in New Jersey has faced substantial delays because ER system in place failed to properly transcribe testimony in over 10,000 locations. There were over 10,000 substantive errors, NOT including  basic spelling errors.  

March 2007: A court transcript misidentified parties in the case leading to an appeal.  The transcript also contained significant and major transcription erros with unreadables.  Then Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum stated, "The Office of the Attorney General agrees that digital recording has resulted in a substantial decline in the quality of transcription."

Presentations

In late 2014, the Kansas Court Reporters Association developed materials to advocate for the importance of official court reporters and the role that they play in the state. Eventually, the state association gave these excellent and highly effective presentations to the State Supreme Court and the State Senate. The presentation has helped solidify, protect, and promote the role of the official court reporter in Kansas. To access the presentation, follow the links below.

- PowerPoint Presentation (download)

- Transcript of presentation to the State Supreme Court and the State Senate (works best in Internet Explorer)

- Presentation Booklet and supporting documents

In September 2010, NCRA Board Member Bruce Matthews, along with the Ohio Court Reporters Association gave two presentations promoting the Court Reporting profession.  These presentations ultimately ended up saving multiple official jobs in Ohio. 

US Courts Video on Court Reporting Profession

Lucas County Presenation 

- Toldeo County Presentation

- Inaudible

Articles

February 2012: Biggs alleged that he needed the new trial because there were huge gaps in the transcript of the administrative appeal hearing due to a bad audio recording of the proceedings. The poor record precluded Superior Court from properly reviewing the record. 

December 2011: In Juneau, Alaska, a missing warrant hearing due to a failed electronic record is throwing a wrench into a theft case. "Here we have the inadvertent failure to press a button and record a search warrant proceeding that can be reconstructed, perhaps, by subsequent hearings." However, the loss of the record is proving to cause problems for the prosecution. Read the complete story from the Juneau Empire.

February 2011: After having problems with their recording systems, a Houston courthouse approved a hire for a court reporter.  When speaking about the failure of the recording system, the judge stated, "We have two cases on appeal and one was a jury trial. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what we are going to do.”

February 2011: Several Michigan judges are reported saying that they support a stenographic court reporter to a digital or video recording.  The article notes, "Court-reporter advocates say a stenographer provides a better record of events and turns around transcripts at a much-faster pace than someone using a video/audio system."

January 2011: No transcript was able to be produced in a series of New York Superior Court cases as the ER equipment malfunctioned.  A Boston attorney involved in one of the cases which was not recorded stated, “This is the fear that everyone’s had with the [recording] system: that you’re going to have something important and it’s not going to be picked up.  I never know when they’re recording or not.”  

September 2010: This article, published in the Jefferson County Courier Journal, documents the failures of the ER system put in place in Jefferson County, Kentucky.  One judge even switched back to a court reporter due to her lack of faith in the ER system in place.  It will cost the county an additional $1.1 million to upgrade the ER system. 

September 2010: The McCook Daily Gazette published an article that discusses potential budget cuts in the Nebraska court system.  Court reporters receive support from the state bar association who overwhelmingly oppose the introduction of DAR into the courts.

Videos Created By NCRA Membership Associations:

This Video was created by the Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters to inform the public that court reporters are the leaders in technology in courts. They also created a pamphlet to further illustrate their advancement in technology.

This video was created by the Washignton Court Reporters Association in response to King County threatening to cut several court reporter positions breaking both state law and union regulations.

This video was published by DRA of California after Governor Schwarzenegger continued his attacks on the court reporting profession. 

Other Helpful Videos

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin produced this video for NCRA members prior to the 2010 NCRA Convention extolling the benefits of court reporters. 

This short video has been shown on PBS over 500 times around the country discussing the court reporting profession.  It was underwritten by NCRA and speaks of the history of the profession, and the benefits of having a true impartial observer in the courtroom.  Realtime reporting is also discussed.