A court reporter, also known as a court stenographer, is responsible for transcribing spoken or recorded speech into written form. Court reporters undergo extensive training in order to provide real-time transcription of the words spoken by every party during a court or deposition proceeding.
Court reporters play a significant role in the court by providing an accurate record of what occurred during a case, but why is court reporting crucial to the judicial process?
Avoiding settled statements
Trial courts have a tendency to approve “settled statements”, or detailed narrative summaries, of proceedings in place of real-time court reporting. Settled statements are often a time-consuming and costly process full of each party objecting to the other’s version of events. As a result, trial courts are forced to make a decision favoring one party.
Settled statements are then used for the record of documents from the trial court proceedings. It’s necessary to have a court reporter who can transcribe the proceedings and avoid settled statements, especially because the trial court may favor the party whose version is not aligned with what truly happened.
Providing accurate transcription
Hiring a court reporter in place of using transcription technology ensures that the proceeding is transcribed accurately and without any errors. Although transcription technology may seem superior, it often fails when it comes to overlapping dialogue and quietly spoken or mumbled words.
Court reporters may experience the same difficulty, but are able to ask individuals to repeat what was spoken in real-time. Obtaining a transcript with no errors is extremely important because even small errors have the potential to sway the ruling in a case.
Court reporters are highly trained in both the legal profession and with stenographic technology. They are unrivaled in speed and accuracy, and must meet certain requirements to become licensed in the field. For example, in Texas, court reporters must show they can type at a rate of 225 wpm (words per minute) on question-and-answer style testimony, 200 wpm on jury charge testimony, and 180 wpm on literary material using machine shorthand — all at a rate of 95 percent accuracy to pass.
Court reporters also have the ability to actively organize and search for information within a transcription. This allows an attorney to quickly review a specific moment of the trial if a question or ambiguity arises, rather than forcing the attorney to make assumptions regarding important details.
Obtaining favorable rulings
You should consider hiring a court reporter for your case to ensure that your case will be transcribed in real-time with all the correct details. Having a court reporter present also helps you avoid the costs associated with a settled statement. To ensure that a court reporter will be present for your proceeding, contact your local courthouse and ask. If the courthouse does not provide court reporters, it’s essential to consider hiring one.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the presence of a court reporter may be necessary to obtain a favorable result. For instance, if you’re the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case, your medical malpractice attorney will inform you how critical expert witness testimony will be to your case. Your court reporter will be able to offer accurate transcription of every detail related to the malpractice stated by the expert witnesses.
It used to be the norm for court reporters to be present in courtrooms, but they are becoming increasingly absent. If your local courthouse does not provide court reporters, ask your attorney for recommendations or conduct a simple Google search specific to your area, like “Miami court reporting firm”. Court reporting is crucial to the judicial process because it ensures that every word is preserved as accurately as possible for the court’s record.