Archived Press Releases

2021 Press releases

A live stenographic court reporter in the Darrell Brooks case would have guaranteed an official record existed and possibly a different outcome

NCRA cites why digital recording is not failsafe

RESTON, Va., Dec. 7, 2021 — The use of a live stenographic court reporter in the case of  Darrell Brooks would have most certainly guaranteed that an official record of prior proceedings would have been available to the judge, potentially changing the outcome of a recent bond hearing that resulted in his release just days prior to the horrific and tragic holiday parade incident Brooks is being charged with, according to the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the country’s leading organization representing stenographic court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers.

“We don’t know if having a record would have changed the judge’s decision in terms of the bond fees, but having an official record of previous charges to review against Mr. Brooks just days before the parade incident might have resulted in a very different outcome, as well as having that record available for review so that if a reversal of ruling was needed, then it could be pursued before this individual was released resulting in this harm to innocent people,” said NCRA President Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter and captioner from Salt Lake City, Utah, with more than 30 years of experience.

Brooks has been charged with six counts of intentional homicide and injuring more than 60 others participating in or attending the parade.

“NCRA and its membership do not condone the use of digital recorders for record-making purposes. Reasons include issues surrounding chain of custody, security of the record, and accuracy of the record,” Dibble said.

“A stenographer uses a system of steno markings to record the testimony that is so personalized to that individual reporter it becomes a realtime watermark for each word that is spoken, making it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to tamper with or change the official record. The presence of a live person between what is being said during a proceeding and what is being taken down as the official record further prevents the opportunity for anyone to manipulate or destroy testimony taken during a legal proceeding, not to mention the human oversight and immediate verification that a record is actually being recorded and not discovered at some later date that electronics weren't working,” Dibble explained.

According to NCRA, the Brooks case is not the first example of digital recording devices failing to capture the official record in the courtroom. In addition, news reports have also cited that officials in the Milwaukee County District Court where Brooks appeared before the parade incident, were warned about the potential failures associated with using digital means to record proceedings.

NCRA notes that in this day and age of deep fakes and tampering with audio and theft of voice and image, a certified stenographic court reporter is the best protection for ensuring that what is captured in legal proceedings is accurate and truthful as well as enforcing personal privacy laws. The record is imperative to liberty, human rights, and in this case even lives and should never have been put at risk by using an inferior method of keeping the record.

“We, as professional stenographers, are the keepers of your record; we hold this responsibility with the highest level of integrity. Many stenographers are nationally or locally certified, are required to abide by state and national laws, and are required to engage in mandatory continuing education training. We know how important an accurate, usable transcript is to all parties, and we always strive to ensure it is distributed when requested by those who have the right to that record within the confines of the law. We are bound by confidentiality requirements and by ethical standards that are not taken lightly,” Dibble added.

To arrange an interview with President Dibble or a working court reporter or captioner, or to learn more about the lucrative and flexible court reporting or captioning professions and the many job opportunities currently available, contact



About NCRA

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has been internationally recognized for promoting excellence among those who capture and convert the spoken word to text for more than 100 years. NCRA is committed to supporting its 16,000 members in achieving the highest level of professional expertise with educational opportunities and industry-recognized court reporting, educator, and videographer certification programs. NCRA impacts legislative issues and the global marketplace through its actively involved membership. Forbes has named court reporting as one of the best career options that do not require a traditional four-year degree, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the court reporting field is expected to grow by 14 percent through the year 2020. For more information, visit




Annemarie Roketenetz
National Court Reporters Association
Director, Communications and PR
Tel: 703-584-9014 or

Court reporters and captioners available for interviews, steno machine and realtime demonstrations