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The Court Reporter Summer 2010
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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, click here for an archival copy.




@ July's   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 Louisianans!

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 — court administrators.




President's Message

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 Tina Schaeffer, 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 experiences.

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 audio files.

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 recording.

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 as great!

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
AAERT President





Elena Kagan  —  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 the Court.

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, click here.

The Encyclopædia
 —  the world of reference works is a-changin'

Digital books, at least for up-to-date consumers, aren't exactly news.
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 information evolves.

Ms. Seger spoke on June 28th to C-SPAN2's Book TV correspondent during the American Library Association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

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 erosion.

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.
Because 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!
  Showing possession / control / duration:

  John's coffee spilled onto Mary's book.
  a span of three years' time
  the children's hour
Rules of thumb

  Forming contractions (1)
= as "place-holders" for omitted letters or numbers:

  That May nor'easter was a perfect storm.
  No, you can't.
 =  cannot
  The '90s ran from '90 through '99.

  Forming contractions (2)
= combining two separate words into one:

  No, you don't.  =  do not
  Forming plurals of lowercase letters —

  Watch those p's and q's.
  What do all these little x's mean?

  — but not of capital consonants or numbers*:

  He marked many big Xs on the document.
  She was in her mid-30s.
  He retired in the 1990s — no, the '80s.

  Although they may look the same in print, single quote marks, such as used in "nested quotations," are NOT apostrophes:

  Ty said, "Read 'Tort Law' by Roselli."
*For a convenient "on-line handout"
reviewing basic principles / modern usage conventions,
see Purdue University's web page on apostrophes.




Training modules — AAERT VIDE

Click here to preview an example.

Video can take a moment to download; be patient!

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 at

Also on the Committee are Director Chris Boone and Certification Chair Tina Schaeffer.




Our 2010 – 2011  Board of Directors / Officers

Janet Harris

Karen Bergstrom

Lynn Gilstrap

Jim Bowen
New Jersey


Randel Raison

Chris Boone

Stacie Jergenson

Ken Kelemen





For a list of prior award recipients, click here.        

Steve Simon, CERT  —  Orlando, Florida

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 recognition.

Steve (left) receives his award
from Immediate Past President Randel Raison.

Stacie A. Jergenson, CERT*D  —  Litchfield, Minnesota

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.

Congratulations, Janet!
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.
Sacramento, California
Orlando, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Lafayette, Louisiana
Annapolis, Maryland
Marlborough, Massachusetts
Jefferson City, Missouri
Bismarck, North Dakota
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
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
— Florida
— Florida
— Florida
— Florida
— Texas
— Colorado
— Massachusetts
— Florida
— Georgia
— Louisiana
— Pennsylvania

A general discussion of the program and a current schedule is at Certification Testing.

Tina Schaeffer,  CERT
     Certification Chair




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 here
Award Ribbon

Corporate  /  Vendor Members

Lisa Marie Dees
Veri-Core, LLC
Melbourne, Florida
Sharon L. Holm
Record Transcripts, Inc.
Tampa, Florida
Erica Leigh Van Ostrand
Washington Rapid Transcription Service
Seattle, Washington
Alexander Radutsky
(Vendor Member)
Special Recording Systems, Ltd.
Kiev, Ukraine


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
L.S., Florida
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
L.T., Kentucky
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
H.W., Florida
Robin Lynn Winters, Illinois
Jennifer Anne Young, Maryland




A continuing reminder:   AAERT Membership Benefits 

Review the details of these offers in the Members Area of our website:  Login Page
or click on these company logos:


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.   © 2010.

Janet Harris, CERT, CCVS, President

AAERT   /   P.O. Box 9826   /   Wilmington, Delaware  19809-9826





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