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The Court Reporter Summer 2009
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For Professionals in Electronic / Digital Court Technology

Volume 14, Number 3 — Summer 2009 . . .



The efficiencies of digital court reporting 

AAERT exhibits at NACM Conference 

Florida Digital Court Reporters Association 


President's Message 

News and opinions . . .

Ask the experts 

The Nature of Words 

Your Association

New Board of Directors 

Reporter / Transcriber Awards, 2009

2009 Conference recap

 AAERT At Sea, 2010  

Conference Cruise preview 

Cruise schedule / FAQs 

Cruise rates / requirements 

Congratulations to our new CER/Ts 

Welcome, new members  

Membership benefits — reminders




The efficiencies
      of digital court reporting

Margaret Morgan, CERT
Digital reporting's efficiencies save court systems time and money.  With budget cuts and a need to provide more services with fewer resources, this becomes more important every day.

Because I work in a state court system, I experience the benefits of these efficiencies every day.  Accustomed to these advantages, I often take them for granted.  Here are some examples:

At a recent felony sentencing hearing, a dispute arose regarding the plea agreement.

Before digital reporting, the hearing would need to be continued, a transcript would be ordered and prepared, the court, prosecution, and defense would read the transcript, and then the parties would have to appear for a second hearing.

After digital reporting, when the dispute arose at the sentencing hearing, within seconds the court reporter replayed the audio from the plea hearing that occurred six to eight weeks previously.  The court, the prosecution, the defense, Corrections, and the defendant listened to the exact agreement and could proceed with the sentencing hearing.

Such cost and time savings are significant throughout the system:

There was one court appearance instead of two.

No costs were incurred for a transcript, and there was no delay in the case.

The file was handled once by court administration instead of twice. It was not placed on the shelf in court administration, only to be pulled weeks later for a second court appearance.  There was one computer entry, not two.

To assist the hard-of-hearing, the courtrooms are equipped with a device connected directly to the digital reporting system.  The hearing-impaired individual wears a small headset and controls the volume of the proceeding.  It is used for parties, jurors, and for hearing-impaired employees who routinely work in court.  While this device is not appropriate for the fully deaf, it is successfully used on a regular basis for those with less-than-complete hearing.  It eliminates the cost of a sign language interpreter or real-time writer.  It saves court staff the time involved in scheduling a sign language interpreter or real-time writer.  And it is far less cumbersome for everyone involved.

Because of budget cuts, judges share law clerks.  The law clerks can access the audio files of court hearings so they can listen to proceedings they could not attend, and complete the work required.

At his computer in chambers, the judge I work for listens to the digital audio of prior hearings.  Our court calendars are busy and we don't have the luxury of having assigned cases.  If he wishes, Judge Chase can listen to a previous court hearing whether it occurred before him or another judge in our county.  No reporter needs to prepare a "rough draft" transcript. At his own convenience, the judge can listen to critical parts of recorded proceedings exactly as they occurred.

These are just a few examples of the cost and time efficiencies inherent with digital reporting.  There are many more.  Do you have one to share?  Please relate your scenario to me at

Editor's note:
Margaret Morgan has served on AAERT's Board of Directors.  She continues to serve as our Immediate Past President.




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Contact the Editor:

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.   © 2009.

Randel Raison, CET, President

AAERT   /   2900 Fairhope Road   /   Wilmington, Delaware  19810-1624





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