Why use a court reporter?

Court Reporter vs. Digital Recording

We continue to hear, “Why not just tape it?” There are many reasons why a court reporter should always be your first choice over a recording. To begin with, an audio recording does not create text from the spoken word; they produce recordings. Reporters create a verbatim record of the proceedings, and therefore, produce paper and digital transcripts. With the latest technology available, reporters can create realtime (voice to text) instantly. A digital recording still requires the services of a transcriptionist. Reporters are able to stop the speakers if several of them are speaking over one another, or ask the participants to speak up if they are soft-spoken or if they mumble. A door slams, a person coughs, a chair squeaks, all of these scenarios can change the outcome of an audio-produced transcript. On the other hand, if a reporter is present, they will simply ask the speaker to repeat themselves.

With realtime capabilities, judges and attorneys have immediate access to the testimony. And court reporters do not inadvertently record attorney-client exchanges.

A reporter’s ability to search for a readback is far easier than searching through an audio tape, which can be time-consuming and cumbersome when not achieved immediately. At the end of the proceedings, a reporter has the ability to deliver an uncertified rough draft transcript with a certified copy to follow shortly thereafter. Reviewing an audio record takes a lot of time and most judges and attorneys don’t want to listen to the entire recording. If the case is appealed, written testimony is required, thus, a transcriptionist must be hired.

Technology has allowed reporters to safeguard against failure of losing notes with a multi backup system. If your audio fails during recording, you won’t know that until the case is over. Reporters are an unbiased third party and keep custody of the record according to the statute. Through their licensing, they certify the validity of the transcripts that they are true and accurate.

So while courts around the country continue to trim their budgets, we must ask at what price? Multiple cases around the country have had to be retried due to audio failures. In 2010, a murder trial in Kentucky had to be retried due to such failure, at an enormous expense to the state.

So next time you hesitate, just ask yourself if you want your record to count. All the time and energy you put into a case should not be put in jeopardy just because you think you can save a few dollars.

  • 16 Jan, 2015
  • Posted by master
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