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For Professionals in
Electronic / Digital Court Technology
Volume 15, Number 3 — Summer 2010
. . .
Kentucky's Chief Justice
discusses two decades of experience with an electronic (video) record
In a recent interview titled "Digital
Advances Solve Trial Record Issues,"* Kentucky's Chief Justice
John D. Minton, Jr., reviewed the state's twenty-year history
with video-capture of court proceedings. Kentucky has video-recorded
its trials since 1981, and Justice Minton remembers "the old days of court
reporters with no nostalgia at all."
Now, because the official record is the video recording itself, he
says, ". . . the trial record is made while the case is being
tried. The video's there. Then, when the lawyers write the briefs
on appeal, they cite to the counter [number] on the video record, and that's
where we go to find the testimony. We don't just read the words,
we actually see the person testifying, or hear the comment made."
The interviewer asked about a case in which a new trial was
ordered because the judge could be seen nodding off to sleep.
Justice Minton observed diplomatically: "It is very accurate at
capturing what's going on in the courtroom. The intonation of the
voice, the surroundings, the circumstances."
Can parties get copies? And if so, when?
"Yes. Often, if the trial lasts long enough, a lawyer will ask the
clerk to make a simultaneous copy as the trial is going along."
Don't lawyers grandstand during trials?
"There were all these discussions that, lawyers being lawyers, they'd play
to the cameras. It just didn't happen."
And what about having embarrasing remarks captured on the record?
"That happened. We got used to it. Lawyers quickly learned
that when that little red light is on, you're on the record."
JAVS, Inc., of Lexington, Kentucky, supplies integrated video / audio
systems to the courts, and estimates a savings of $2 million
a month to the state's judicial budget, compared to what traditional machine
stenography would have cost.
Of course, not all jurisdictions will decide to establish videography
as the sole official court record as Kentucky has done, but the trend
toward electronic capture is very clear.
And so are the benefits!
*Connecticut Law Tribune, April 26, 2010;
interviewer / author Thomas B. Scheffey.
Here is a direct link to the full article and interview:
If the Tribune's link is no longer active,
for an archival copy.
NACM Conference, New Orleans
Our Executive Director, Michael Tannen, and Sherry Simmons,
CER, both of T-TEAM Management, represented AAERT at this year's National
Association for Court Management's conference in New Orleans. The
meeting drew about 300 attendees from around the world, including Nigeria,
Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Serbia, and Montenegro.
Sherry reports, "We were able to speak with lots of attendees,
but the 'stars' were the Louisiana contingent. We were the lucky
recipients of hugs, vigorous handshakes, and thanks for AAERT's support
in Louisiana's recent legislation allowing digital
reporting methods in their courts, and recognizing
AAERT certification for their digital court reporters."
Special thanks go to Steve Townsend, Chair of AAERT's Advisory Board,
Suzanne Stinson, Advisory Board member, Margaret Morgan, CERT,
Jim Bowen, CER, Jan Harris, CERT, Tina Schaeffer, CERT,
and Gillian Lawrence, CERT, for the extra help they gave to
Michael was able to connect with some of AAERT's long-time friends such as
Veri-Core, JAVS, FTR, and Easy Scribe & Record
Solutions, as well as introduce himself and AAERT to many who we hope
will become new friends of the Association.
Representing AAERT in any capacity is an honor, and particularly so among
those most intimately concerned with judicial management issues —
The educational theme from our AAERT at Sea Conference will carry
through our next year's activities. At Conference, members were able
to relax and enjoy ocean vistas even while participating in the workshops.
Of note, Ken Kelemen,
Chris Boone, and
as members of the Education Committee, gave attendees a preview of
technical / informational videos to be published in conjunction
with the Association's website in the coming year.
Examples illustrating the Committee's approach are in this issue.
Although our group at sea was relatively small in number, they were
rich and diverse, representing 19 states and 2 countries.
And there was ample leisure time to establish relationships among these
interesting people. Such networking has long been a significant
benefit of attending Conference. I have always enjoyed the opportunity
to meet with members from every aspect of our industry and learn from their
Be sure to take a look at some photos of our activities on board
in this issue —
here is a link to them.
At Conference, Luis Gomez (Florida)
and Gail Malm Armstrong (Indiana)
concluded their terms as Directors.
Luis has served as both a Director and as Secretary. He was AAERT's
conference photographer / videographer for many years. Thank you,
Luis, for your time and talents, and for capturing candid moments for great memories.
Gail served as a Director and as Vice-President. She has been a
diligent watchdog for the profession, and continues to keep us apprised on
developing industry issues. Thank you, Gail, for your varied
contributions, and willingness to devote your time and resources
to our Association.
AAERT membership, like the ocean, is diverse and widespread. We are
an adaptable group that has learned to ride out the rough waves, and go
with the flow of technology.
". . . our historical
digital perspective and experience
cannot be matched."
In 2002, when I began an earlier term as President, digital recording was
in its early stages. Many of us, myself included, were still recording
on analog systems, and wary of giving up our physical media for digital
Nearly ten years have passed, and we find that most of our members are now
well versed in, and thoroughly familiar with, digital recording technology.
Our Association has followed the development of digital technology, not only
as users, but as developers. In the future, our historical digital
perspective and experience cannot be matched.
And it is our responsibility, as well, to ensure that we share our knowledge
with our members, clients, and all users to maximize the benefits of digital
I am excited about the changes ahead for all of us. Rest assured it
will be challenging and difficult at times, but the rewards will be just
Next year, we will meet by land, in the desert of Phoenix. I hope
you will be able to join us.
Janet Harris, CERT, CCVS
new Justice does not oppose courtroom cameras
On August 5th the Senate confirmed New York attorney Elena Kagan as
the 112th Justice (but only fourth woman) to serve since the
Supreme Court first met in 1790. During her confirmation process,
Justice Kagan said she was not opposed to the prospect of cameras in
Her view illustrates the gradual updating of attitudes within the judiciary
as its ranks begin to include those raised among and comfortable with
various electronic technologies. This inexorable trend further
erodes the traditionalist view that transcripts alone suffice
as an adequate public record. Oral arguments before the Court are
now preserved by electronic audio recording, and have been for a number
of years. Adding a visual component to the audio would, at long last,
produce a full record appropriate to these important and historic proceedings.
Connecticut mulls court reporting proposals
Last November, Connecticut's Committee on Court Recording Monitors and
Court Reporters, chaired by Supreme Court Justice Joette Katz,
began considering an array of court reporting issues and concerns.
On July 6th it released a set of draft recommendations, which
will be further honed and submitted to the Court this fall. The
underlying principle is that court records, being public property, must be
held in the sole custody of the judiciary.
Fourteen motions were approved, including:
The Judicial Branch should adopt digital audio-recording as the
standard for recording proceedings.
A list of transcriptionists / transcription companies should
be prepared, whose work products meet Branch standards and are acceptable
for use in all court proceedings.
Machine stenography ("real-time" mode) should also be
available in certain cases.
To read the full draft minutes (PDF) of the July meeting,
Digital books, at least for up-to-date consumers, aren't exactly news.
the world of reference works is a-changin'
But for libraries? And even in their research / reference sections, where
we expect to see those long rows of impressive, ponderous tomes?
Well, Rebecca Seger of the Oxford University Press says to get ready
for a new and "emptier" look at your local library.
She points to an
accelerating trend to replace those miles of reference volumes with
fully digitized versions. This can reduce
research time by about 75%, she estimates. It's also far less
costly than buying edition after edition of hard-copy reference works,
it frees up shelf space, and it allows for rapid updating as
Ms. Seger spoke on June 28th to C-SPAN2's Book TV correspondent
during the American Library Association's annual meeting in
Those who actually enjoy "browsing among the dusty stacks" may not welcome
this development, but it's the direction the entire genre is going, and
seems quite irreversible.
The Nature of Words
Down here in Austin, our creeks like to flood and chew away at their
banks, so for some years now the city has been installing gabions to stop
An odd word, gabion.
It's actually a wire-mesh
basket filled with stones; gabions can be stacked and arranged almost like
bricks or in more fluid patterns, and they're permeable, unlike concrete.
Gabion came into usage in the 16th century, from the French,
meaning a rough two-handled basket. The Italian is gabbione,
from gabbia, a cage, from the Latin cavea or cavity.
A bollard also holds things back, but now we're talking
about either boats or cars. Commonly seen these days are bollards in
the form of large, immovable spheres placed in front of building entrances to
allow pedestrians through but dissuade vehicles from entering.
Bollards were originally low, thick posts on wharves to which mooring lines
were attached, but they're as likely to be seen now on roadsides and in
parking lots, used to hold cars away from places they shouldn't be.
Bollard is derived from bole, the trunk of a tree, from the
Middle English bolr.
Another derivative of bole is bulwark, from the
Middle Dutch bol + werc. A bulwark is a fortification
or a foundation. The French took bulwark and made
boulevard, originally a promenade laid atop demolished
city walls, when those defensive ramparts were no longer needed.
A coaming, the raised lip around a hatch or other
opening in a deck or roof, holds water back. This form of the word
came into usage in the early 17th century, having been earlier spelled
"coming." Webster's Third indicates that it comes from the word
comb in the sense of the curled crest of a wave.
I enjoy combing the dictionaries for insight into unusual words I run across.
Laurel H. Stoddard, CET
On The Record Reporting & Transcription, Inc. (Austin, Texas)
about our pesky postrophes
Click here for the quiz.
Apostrophes serve several unrelated purposes in English.
they're like jacks-of-all-trades, when to use them — and equally
important, HOW and when NOT to — can become a bit tricky.
It's helpful to know rules, but remember that people speak creatively,
and rarely follow literary advice. Our job is not to edit them, but
to make their words "read" easily and make sense. Below is a brief
recap. Those things said, good luck!
Our Education Committee is developing a series of training modules
for both reporters and transcribers.
This preview illustrates our planned approach,
which will explore topics at various levels of
difficulty / expertise.
It begins with an excerpt on basic cable considerations for reporters,
and concludes with transcript format issues for transcribers.
Member input is welcome.
Contact Committee Chair Kenneth Kelemen
Also on the Committee are Director Chris Boone and
Certification Chair Tina Schaeffer.
For a list of prior award recipients,
Steve Simon, CERT
2010 Wagner-Fuss Award.
For many years, Steve has been Florida's Ninth Judicial Circuit court
reporting manager, and was instrumental in developing the Circuit's widely
admired integrated electronic reporting system.
He was one of the first public-sector managers to become active within
AAERT. He's been a Director, served as Vice-President, and
later chaired our Certification Committee
(2004 – 2010).
Steve, the entire membership appreciates your hard work on our behalf!
The Wagner-Fuss Distinguished Service Award is presented from time to time
to members whose contributions to the Association merit our special
Steve (left) receives his award
from Immediate Past President Randel Raison.
Stacie A. Jergenson, CERT*D
Reporter of the Year.
Stacie has been a member of AAERT since 2001, and earned a dual CERT
certification in 2008. She has been an official court reporter in the
Eighth Judicial District of Minnesota since 1995.
One of Stacie's accomplishments as an electronic court reporter was
her instrumental role on a committee which successfully petitioned for
equalization of salary and benefits among all Minnesota court reporters,
regardless of the method used to capture the record.
Stacie was elected to our 2010 - 2011 Board of Directors, and we welcome
her to office.
Stacie (right) receives her award
from Margaret Morgan, our sixth President (2008 – 2009).
Janet Pryce, CET**D
La Grande, Oregon
Transcriber of the Year.
Janet has been a member of AAERT since 2007, the same year she earned
her CET certification status. She has been transcribing for courts,
law firms, and law enforcement agencies for over fifteen years.
Janet's skill sets are quite varied, because in addition to legal
transcription she has also transcribed evaluations for psychologists and
psychiatrists, and provided medical transcribing services for physicians
in her area.
Janet receives her award
from Immediate Past President Randel Raison.
October 2010 Certification Examinations
AAERT's Fall 2010 test cycle will occur in ten cities nationwide.
The date in October, as well as specific location information
for each city, will appear on line,
and registration will open in early September.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Jefferson City, Missouri
Bismarck, North Dakota
Columbia, South Carolina
Newly Certified Members
at AAERT's examinations since the last issue of The Court Reporter:
Congratulations and our very best wishes to these candidates
who earned their initial or obtained upgraded certifications!
Stefanie Frances Barrett, CET**D
Gayle Renee Brown, CER**D
Pauline Nicole Cheshire, CERT*D
Patricia Boykin Drake, CET**D
Tiffini Lurena Duff, CET**D
Leslie Fujarczyk, CET**D
Judy B. Gonsalves, CET**D
Rhonda C. Meeks, CERT*D
Kay H. Pierce, CER**D
Elinor Ruth Shows, CET**D
Jacqueline Marie Varhley, CET**D
A general discussion of the program and a current schedule is at
Tina Schaeffer, CERT
A warm welcome to our new members
since the last issue of The Court Reporter
Members can go to the Association's on-line Directories by clicking
Corporate / Vendor Members
Those who prefer not to appear in on-line
listings are shown with initials only:
L.A., North Dakota
Daisy L. Amador, Florida
Rhonda L. Anderson, North Dakota
Tami L. Beckley, North Dakota
Carol Berk, Florida
Jeanne R. Brevik, North Dakota
Gayle Renee Brown, Florida
Nancy Brown, Connecticut
Rita P. Bry, North Dakota
Pauline Nicole Cheshire, Florida
Caron Dansoh, Florida
Rinny Dean, Arizona
Thomas Andrew (Andy) Denmark, Florida
Kristen R. Erickson, North Dakota
Jody Darlene Fischer, North Dakota
Pamela Estefania Flores, Florida
Mary Fluharty, Florida
Jennifer Marie Gertz, Florida
Linda P. Giles, District of Columbia
Stacy Graupe, North Dakota
Patsy Jean Hamilton, New Jersey
Christine Lynn House, Colorado
Christina Infinger, Florida
Margie Kasprzak, Maine
Cindy Lou Keller, North Dakota
Cynthia Kurtz, North Dakota
Cheryl LaSelle, Colorado
Grace Yun Lee, California
Stephanie Jo Lott, Arizona
Vicky J. Matthys, North Dakota
Renae Rochelle Miller, North Dakota
Melissa Pauline Morden, North Dakota
Dacell E. Nygaard, North Dakota
Kathryn Ann Parrill, North Dakota
Misty R. Peto, Florida
Frankie Powers, Arizona
Alexandra Marcela Ramirez, Florida
Katie Richman, Georgia
Angelica Rodriguez, Texas
LeAnn M. Schmidt, North Dakota
Lisa Schmidt, North Dakota
Jacqueline Lisa Simmers, North Dakota
Laura A. Snee, Pennsylvania
Andrea Rennette Sohun, Trinidad and Tobago
Teresa Sotuyo, Michigan
Ardith Irene Spies, Texas
Fernando Andres Subirats, Florida
Bekah Ballard Turner, Kentucky
Joan Marie Utter, North Dakota
Holly Rydel Walstead, Washington
Gina Wariner, North Dakota
Lisa Dawn Wenger, Florida
Alyssa E. Williams, Florida
Joanne Claire Williams, Arizona
Debbie A. Wilson, Virginia
Robin Lynn Winters, Illinois
Jennifer Anne Young, Maryland
Contact the Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Court Reporter is published by
The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers, Inc.,
which reserves all rights, whether in electronic or print modalities. © 2010.
Janet Harris, CERT, CCVS, President
P.O. Box 9826 /
Wilmington, Delaware 19809-9826
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