The ABI Reporter E-Letter – September 2010


The ABI Reporter E-Letter – September 2010

  • 1 Tags

Judges and Litigators
Prefer Realtime Reporters to Recording Devices
CA Gov. Schwarzenegger Missing the Facts re Digital Audio
Video Failures Cause Trials, Hearings to be Lost
Interactive Realtime 101
Are You Too Efficient to Be Effective?
Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation Find Terms, Keywords, Dictionary by Category
From the President

In the court reporter and legal news recently, we have seen debate on the impingement and impact of digital reporting on the career of the machine writer:  the CA governor’s comments about slashing all reporters from the state budget, debates about membership status in NCRA, and how to best use who we know and what we do to better inform our clients and the public about our profession.

As we each experience some degree of passion on this subject, we are including this excellent list of talking points by Texas reporter Jerry Kelley, to help carry forward our message of the superior method of the live, realtime machine writer.

We want this eletter to be as useful to you as possible, so please let us know what topics you would like to see covered in future issues.

Best regards,

Sheila Atkinson-Baker

Judges and Litigators Explain Why They Prefer Realtime Reporters to Recording Devices

By Jerry Kelley, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter

in McKinney, Texas

• I prefer using realtime court reporting (with encryption to ensure privacy), with the spoken word appearing in realtime, in English, on my laptop computer screen for immediate use.

• The judge, counsel, co-counsel, house counsel, client, law clerks, legal assistants, experts, and those in the “war” room can have an instant, up-to-the-minute realtime feed during deposition or court proceedings for immediate use.

• By using realtime, we can know that the proceedings are being recorded. With audio, sometimes we have gone all day before finding out that no record had been made.

• Realtime court reporters can simultaneously digitally record the proceedings. Digital recording devices cannot simultaneously provide realtime feed.

• I can actually see realtime court reporters stop writing when they overhear privileged communication between attorneys and clients. Recording devices just keep recording everything.

• Any errors in the realtime feed can be detected as they happen.

Read more »

Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger not getting all the facts when it comes to replacing stenographic court reporters with digital audio to save the state money

VIENNA, Va., Sept. 2, NCRA

In a press conference yesterday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed to a number of missed opportunities that could have saved the troubled state $2.8 billion annually. Included in this list was the wholesale removal of stenographic court reporters from the state’s courts in favor of electronic recording, which he suggested would result in $100 million of annual savings.

As is so often the case when states begin searching arbitrarily for areas to cut the budget, Gov. Schwarzenegger is short on the facts when it comes to the cost savings of replacing stenographic court reporters. More important than even its budget, California hardly can afford – as no state can – to begin taking action that could compromise the integrity of its judicial process and, ultimately, the state’s criminal justice system.

While court reporters do not in any way concede that electronic recording would result in costs savings for California or any state, utterly absurd is the governor’s implication that it presents a viable technological alternative to stenographic court reporters. “Court reporters recognize and acknowledge that using the latest technology for capturing the court record is critical, and that’s why we’ve been the leaders in that regard for decades,” said NCRA President Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, a court reporter and firm owner from Chicago. “That is why we bring 21st-Century technology into the courtroom and depositions that can and does create realtime feeds of legal proceedings, which—among other things—makes these proceedings accessible to those who are deaf or who are hard of hearing.” Read More »


Higher Standards for Better ServiceSM

Valuable Information at Your Fingertips
“Video Failures Cause Trials, Hearings to be Lost”
Read Article »

“Interactive Realtime 101”
Read Article »

Smarter Tools


Are You Too Efficient

to Be Effective?

Court Reporting:

Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation

Find Terms, Keywords, Dictionary by Category

The Lighter Side of Legal
Be Careful with Experts

This excerpt from the testimony of an expert witness (neurosurgeon) in the trial of a slip and fall case.


Q. Doctor, I guess I want to ask you about both then, both the original condition [of her back] and the surgery.

A. Her back is not a virgin. It wasn’t a virgin from the moment that the disc herniated. If the surgery were performed by angels … there will be some scar formation. The scar is not formed by the surgery, it’s formed by a patient that is alive after the surgery. If you don’t want scars forming after surgery, you must kill the patient. I try to avoid that, okay.

Q. We were glad you were successful.


Ode to the Bar Exam

“I’m worried I won’t pass the bar,”

Cried the would-be attorney (no star).

His career he regretted.

Strung out, how he fretted:

He shouldn’t have quit the guitar.

Ode to a

Grudge-Holding Judge

There once was a federal judge

Who was famous for holding a grudge.

But his clerk found a way

To get him to say,

“I forgive you.” She bribed him with fudge.


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