New York State Court of

Court recording equipment

Electronic recordings too unreliable for our courts
Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
Re “State courts must enter the electronic age” (Editorials, Feb. 1): Electronic recording has consistently shown itself to be unreliable. Many U.S. courts have tried it and are moving back to official court reporters after experiencing mechanical failures and missing portions of the electronic record. A reporter present in the proceedings would instantly alert the parties that something was amiss.
If you or a loved one was a party in court, would you want to entrust that case and its outcome to such an unreliable method of making the record, and then hope it is available and accurate if you need to appeal?
The judicial system is the third branch of the government, and it deserves to be treated as such. We should not accept less.
— Abby Fields, Stockton
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California court reporters are in electronic age already
Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
Re “State courts must enter the electronic age” (Editorials, Feb. 1): Court reporters are the electronic age. Official reporters incur the cost of expensive equipment to provide what is undeniably the most accurate record to date. This allows for a written transcript to be provided efficiently and, most importantly, accurately.
Electronic recording still needs to be reduced back to the written word. Without official reporters, this is accomplished by unregulated personnel at the expense of accuracy. What your editorial fails to address is that numerous courts are returning to the use of court reporters after attempting the use of electronic recording for this as well as many other reasons.
— Carrie A. Dall, Manteca
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Live court reporters ensure access to fair justice
Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 – 1:02 pm
Re “State courts must enter the electronic age” (Editorials, Feb. 1): Technology can’t compare to a live court reporter. Court reporters are able to guarantee the verbatim record is being made, which is not true of electronic recording. In trial court proceedings, life is unfiltered; people testify through sobs, whisper, cough and talk over one another.
Electronic recording simply records these indiscernible sounds. A court reporter knows when clarification is needed and does it on the spot, ensuring the quality and accuracy of the record. Electronic recording offers no assurances. There is no remedy for a record that is unclear, unintelligible, or non-existent. It is unconscionable to trade one’s right to justice when it can be guaranteed.
— Jennifer Whitlock, Lodi
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Human court reporters can’t be replaced with electronics
Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
Re “State courts must enter the electronic age” (Editorials, Feb. 1): I have been a court reporter for 30-plus years. This article points out nothing that hasn’t been re-hashed over and over again. I’m appalled once again by the attack on court reporters in this state and everywhere.
Court reporters provide an accurate, cost-effective service to the courts, and preserve the record that is unmatched by any electronic recording devices. Your editorial is without merit and is inaccurate. Court reporters are needed to provide an accurate record that electronic recording simply cannot duplicate.
— Brian L. Graber, Stockton
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Electronic court recordings won’t save money, will hurt justice
Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
Re “State courts must enter the electronic age” (Editorials, Feb. 1): Do your research next time. You blew it on this one.
The cost savings claimed for electronic recording are inaccurate. Numerous states have learned this through painful experience and have brought back stenographic reporters.
There’s a reason why California law mandates the use of stenographic reporters in felonies and juvenile matters. These important cases deserve the most accurate, timely record possible, regardless of one’s ability to pay.
The real story about California courts is how the court budget is being spent on administration versus actual court operations.
— Karen Thompson, Santa Rosa
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Electronic court records won’t work at trials
Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
Re “State courts must enter the electronic age” (Editorials, Feb. 1): You cannot compare the appellate court or the California Supreme Court with trial courts. The appellate courts rely on the record of the trial proceedings to make their extremely important decisions. The trial testimony is where the rubber hits the road!
The testimony of witnesses cannot be found in a law book, nor can it be properly transcribed by an electronic transcriber who was not in the courtroom to clarify an inaudible, garbled or unintelligible answer. The transcriber cannot ask the parties to stop talking over each other. It cannot produce a transcript when there is an undetected malfunction in the recording equipment. There is an abundance of documented cases from states that have moved to electronic recording that have been overturned due to the lack of trial testimony from an electronically recorded record.
— Jenell Mullane, Redwood City
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Electronic court recording technology isn’t there yet
Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
Re “State courts must enter the electronic age” (Editorials, Feb. 1): A pilot study done in the 1990s — really? Often, the judge I work for has interrupted the proceedings while staring at my real-time transcript to say, “Hey, I know it looks like I’m playing solitaire up here, but I’m not. You see, I’m a visual learner. It helps me to see your arguments in written form.”
Many of us are visual learners. At some point, that difficult medical examiner’s testimony has to be put into words; that emotional, tearful witness has to be put into words. Who is going to do it? What is going to happen is that electronic recording will be outsourced, probably to some person in the Philippines getting paid a few dollars to bang out a transcript. That’s unacceptable.
Court reporters are still relevant because we are the best way to maintain the record. Ever try “Dragon Dictation”? Technology isn’t there yet.
— Megan Zalmai, San Ramon

Electronic courtroom recordings a simplistic solution
Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
Re “State courts must enter the electronic age” (Editorials, Feb. 1): I am a court reporting student and found the editorial quite alarming. To say that court reporters can be replaced by electronic recording as an easy and obvious solution to help the state save money fails to grasp the importance of the court reporter as well as the inherent flaws of electronic recording. My court reporting mentor once wrote 360 words per minute accurately. It is doubtful that electronic recording would ever attempt such a feat.
Moreover, I have heard of many court cases where testimony was lost because the electronic recording was not turned on. Lastly, a judge at a seminar I went to a few years back said, “I want a human being in the courtroom.” I respectfully invite the editorial’s author to re-examine its contents.

Source: www.seiu521.org
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