Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
The Court Reporter Winter 2010
Share |
 Return to Top 





For Professionals in Electronic / Digital Court Technology

Volume 15, Number 4 — Winter 2010 . . .





President's Message

Sometimes, while days shorten and temperatures drop, it's a bit hard to keep in mind that spring is just four months away — and a new decade is a whole lot closer!
2011 will be an exciting year for our Association.
In September, Randel Raison (Texas), my predecessor as President, and Lynn Gilstrap (Florida), our Secretary from June of '09, concluded their Board service.  We want to express appreciation to both for volunteering their time and energy.

Even before becoming a Director in 2008, Randel was active in Association affairs, particularly on Conference planning committees.  While President, he furthered a number of our long-term goals.  Randel owns APLST (All Professionals Litigation Support Team) in Houston.  Thank you, Randel.

Lynn, when first joining the Board, was immediately willing to accept the Secretary's position.  Lynn has been a member since early 2007, and earned her CERT*D certification later that year.  She continues now in her position with Florida's Fifth Judicial Circuit.  Thank you, Lynn.
And we welcome to our current Board new Directors Buck Ewing (Massachusetts) and Rick Russell (Maryland).  See their brief bios in this issue at Board of Directors Updates.

Director Kenneth Kelemen (Delaware) is now our Secretary.

Planning for AAERT's future requires a wide cross-section of experience which reflects our members' various perspectives.  The Directors comprise a very talented group from across the country.
The Board is moving forward on planning, on-line certification issues, website development, and educational videos / materials for our members.  We are pleased with the work being done to update the organization and meet members' needs.

You, too, can actively share in the Association's activities — see the opportunities outlined in this issue at Committees — a chance to participate.  It's encouraging to know how much expertise, in so many arenas, exists within our ranks.

So, best wishes to all next year and next decade!

Janet Harris, CERT, CCVS
AAERT President




Executive Corner

Thinking forward and into the future.  That's what Association Management Companies (AMC's) help boards accomplish, and that is what I, as AAERT's Executive Director, have been focusing my attention on — moving forward into 2011.   We are challenging ourselves to stay ahead of the curve by discussing our vision of the Association in three years, in five years, and even further, and how to best guide AAERT into this ever-evolving technological future.  This is not an easy task.  Strategic planning takes time, commitment, and vision.  But that is exactly what this Board has willingly agreed to do.

Questions will arise.  For instance,  "What do we, as a Board, need to do to prepare for the future of AAERT?"  One answer:  "Think outside the box."  It's an easy answer, but to rationalize and implement are two different things.   An undertaking that must be examined is being prepared for the Millennials, the increasing numbers from the Gen X-er's, while still identifying with the Baby Boomers.
Another question may be considered,  "How will this Association do business differently utilizing today's technology?"  Associations will need to boost usability, be more accessible, and provide and protect the management of our data.  We need to be mindful of our membership dollars, and not be hasty to chase a "hot" or "new" item without first giving it due diligence by researching that item.  What are our members using?  Are they perhaps using this very item?  Are they satisfied with it, or do they feel they threw away their hard-earned dollars chasing this latest craze?  As we all know, technology changes rapidly.

The Board's job is to govern and make changes as needed.  Strategic planning is a time-consuming task, but one that the Board takes very seriously.  They will continue with AAERT's mission, while keeping the Association fresh and useful to you.

Happy Holidays to the entire AAERT family, and let's welcome the New Year.


Michael F. Tannen, CSEP
AAERT Executive Director




Kentucky  legislation
an all-inclusive approach

A pending bill to amend Kentucky law would define "court reporting" as:

"[t]he making of a verbatim record by means of manual shorthand, machine shorthand, closed microphone voice dictation silencer, or by electronic recording of any testimony given under oath before, or for submission to any court, referee, or court examiner or by any board, commission, or other body, or in any other proceeding where a verbatim record is required."  (Emphasis added.)

The bill establishes a Kentucky Board of Court Reporting, and would include AAERT certification for digital reporters practicing in the state.

To read the bill's text in PDF format, as it existed on 16 November, click here.
The Kentucky Court Reporters Association (KyCRA) leadership reached out to both AAERT and the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) to collaborate in an effort to protect the profession regardless of reporting method.

AAERT is currently in discussions with KyCRA leadership as to specific language, and is reviewing the contents of the bill, which sets up certification and licensing requirements for all court reporters.  KyCRA contacted AAERT for comment, and we appreciate the gesture to include us in the process.

Watch for updates in TCR as developments unfold.

KyCRA is soliciting funds and support, and you can contact them at




E-Reporting and the visually impaired

Our blind / visually impaired community is growing rapidly.*


But we don't seem to be nearly as aware of their presence as we are of those with hearing impairments — (whose American Sign Language interpreters, for example, are stationed prominently near podiums at public meetings).  Our rare exposures to public accommodations for the B/VI are limited to audible tones at busy intersection crosswalks, or Braille numbers in elevators.

Of course, our focus is within the legal system.  And here, E-Reporting has a unique, valuable role to play in making "the record" accessible to the blind.

But you ask,
"Don't Braille transcripts already meet that need?"
Actually, no.

Although a wonderfully creative tool, Braille is a complex tactile code system not easily learned or quickly mastered.  Indeed, the National Federation of the Blind reports that only a minority of those who might benefit from Braille can read it, and far fewer read it with sufficient fluency to keep up with normal conversational speed.  A typical reading rate of 20 or so words per minute is best described as tortuous.

Of particular concern is the fact that those who develop visual impairments in later life find Braille difficult to master — and many choose not to even make the attempt.  Unfortunately, it is this group which is most rapidly expanding due to our aging population.

Enter digital reporting

Professional E-Reporting's multi-channel audio record opens a "real-world" window for all the blind / visually impaired.
In so many respects, it provides a more comprehensive record than anything available from any hard-copy version, because only when hearing the actual speakers' voices can we discern the tone, speed, sarcasm, annoyance, or humor in otherwise static, dry words.
That said, we have a way to go in fully accommodating B/VI needs.  What if someone wants to review only the testimony of Witness X?  Must he wade through the entire proceeding?  An audio index appended to the recording would be helpful, indeed.

Remember that our digital systems let anyone type a quick time-reference on a keyboard, and that exact point in the record begins playing instantly.  An audio index would cite to the times of major case events, rather than the transcript pages, to let a listener quickly "drill down" to specific areas of interest.

Another alternative:  a simple "case-event index file" which someone might then refer to in Braille hard copy as needed.

A conclusion:  The delivery modes of our official audio records can be refined, improved, and expanded upon.  But even absent such developments, E-Reporting already possesses what the B/VI need.

Remarks contributed by Bill Wagner,
AAERT's former treasurer,
who is among those
experiencing macular degeneration.

  Facts / Stats Sheet
  • Of the 1.3 million legally blind Americans, fewer than 10% read Braille.
  • Only 10% of blind children are now learning Braille, down dramatically from prior decades.
  • We are rapidly becoming an obese society, resulting in an epidemic of diabetes, which is significant because . . .
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults.
  • Over 4 million American adults have clinical diabetic retinopathy, and 1 in 8 of them have advanced, vision-impairing sequelae.
  • Nearly 2 million Americans have macular degeneration, a loss of central vision which impairs reading / driving.  This is an age-related risk with genetic components, increasing as the population ages.  It is not, however, directly related to diabetes.
Sources / Resources:
•  National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC).
•  Archives of Opthalmology, 4 Apr;122(4):552-63.

•  National Federation of the Blind.
•  National Eye Institute, The National Institutes of Health.




 News and opinions . . .

    June 23 – 25  

Informative, in-practice topics, useful for both reporters and transcribers, will be on our agenda,
so start planning now to meet with us
      at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona!

The Supreme Court  —  a step backward,  a step forward . . .

•  Earlier this year, and three quarters of a century after their elegant D.C. building was dedicated, the justices voted to close the Court's great bronze doors at the top of those familiar wide marble steps we see in all the photographs.  Public access is now funneled through a small side entrance.  Why?  Security considerations.
The decision was not unanimous, and some justices lamented the negative symbolism of locking the Court's "front door."

If that's the step backward, what's the step forward?

•  Also of symbolic importance, yet surely of greater impact, the justices this fall decided, at long last, to regularly release audio recordings of the oral arguments they hear.
Of course, for many years the Court has electronically reported all its "argument sessions," but until now these official audio records have been only occasionally (and very selectively) released to the public.

A step yet to take: allowing cameras into the Court.

"The hourglass syndrome"
findings re annoyance, anger, and our work

•  You ask someone a question.  He stares back blankly, glassy-eyed and non-responsive.  You ask again, but might as well be talking to a wall.

•  You request that someone do a very simple task, and ask him oh-so-nicely, but he just stands there mute and does nothing.  You ask again, and he pretends you're not even there.

Get annoyed?  Even angry?
    Feel like giving him a good old-fashioned whump up the side of the head?

A University of Washington study has explored the surprising extent to which we personalize equipment we work with a lot, such as computers.  So, when our requests are met with the infamous "endless hourglass" or a terse error message that seems to imply, "Hey, stupid, you're the one at fault here!" or programs inexplicably stop dead in their tracks, we react like "he's" a rude co-worker exhibiting socially unacceptable behavior — in short, we feel dis'd, and annoyance can mushroom into irrational anger.
(Yes, people do smash their computers, sometimes.)

The study suggests amending "the hourglass experience" to humanize interactions, such as "Sorry, Tom; I'm working on it," "This will be done in a moment, Mary" — or at least something to make us feel we're not just being disrespectfully ignored.

Rennae Phillips, Issaquah, Washington

The last issue of TCR posed a QuickQuiz question which, if correctly answered by e-mail, would bring the winner a whimsical title, "Widely Acknowledged Word-Whiz."  The question:

Only one standard, non-regional English word requires two apostrophes — and most authorities prefer THREE!   What is it?     Hint:  it's nautical, but not naughty.

Rennae sleuthed out the answer which hits the mark:
fo'c's'le, the apostrophe-heavy phonetic rendering of its underlying word forecastle — a superstructure toward the bow of a merchant ship where the crew is housed.

Rennae is a new member, and also has an extensive background in Stenomask reporting.  She owns Catalina Court Reporting in Issaquah, Washington.




Keeping time, once an art of leisure, now presses upon us as an immediate and inescapable need . . .

A word called archaic by the dictionary but which expresses an element of time so clearly, to me, is anon.  It came into use about 1000 C.E., and is Middle English, anon, anoon, from Old English on ane, "in one (course)"; i.e., "straightaway."  Why say, "straightaway" or "immediately," when you can simply say, "It will be ready anon"?

Several words relating to time come to us from Latin into Middle English, such as quotidian or "daily," and meridian, "mid-day."  In both cases the Latin dies or "day" is modified.

Dial also comes from dies by way of the Late Middle English dialis, an instrument for telling time by the sun's shadow.

Another time-measuring word that came into use in the early 17th century is hebdomadal, something that occurs every week, or every seven days.  The noun from which it is derived, hebdomad, came into use nearly a hundred years earlier.  The Latin hebdomad comes from the Greek hebdomas, "a week," from "seventh," hepta.
English adopted the Italian word tempo without modification, coming from the Latin tempus, time.  The usage was extended to non-musical senses in 1898, per the Online Etymological Dictionary.

Many have heard the expression "Time and tide wait for no man."  In original usage, time and tide were synonymous.  The word "tide," coined before 900 C.E., then meant time, from the Old English tid, "time", "hour."  This usage is heard seldom now except in the liturgical calendar, Christmastide, Eastertide.

A modification of tide that came into use in the 11th century means "events, news, information":  tidings.

Good tidings to all!

Laurel H. Stoddard,  CET
On The Record Reporting & Transcription, Inc.  (Austin, Texas)




The value of precision
Click here for the quiz. One reason lawyers and judges still use Latin words and phrases, at least in certain situations, is because their precise meanings have been honed during centuries of use, and need no further refining definitions.
This is also true in medicine.  Consider, for example, the relative diagnostic values of acute diverticulitis v. really bad tummy-ache.

This QuickQuiz reveals how well you handle lawyerly expressions — and at the same time, you can refresh your understanding of their primary meanings.
For a convenient on-line law dictionary, including "law Latin," consult The Free Legal Dictionary.
The ne plus ultra hard-copy authority, of course, remains Black's.




  The short answervery small, indeed.
just how small can things get and still work?
Well, maybe not nano in the scientific sense of 10-9 or "one billionth," but certainly little.
Consider the actual shrinking of audio systems and equipment over time:

  • 1940sVertical reel-to-reel analog.  Heavy, table-bound.  External microphones / cables.  Manual notes (if any).  Rare and very expensive.
  • 1970sCassette audio recorders, still analog.  Reasonably portable.  External microphones / cables.  Manual notes.  Moderately expensive.
  • Mid-1990sDigital recording.  Light as a laptop; highly portable.  External microphones / cables.  With add-on software, keyboarded notes are time-linked to audio.  Moderately expensive.

And now there comes a further reduction in size:  an even smaller, hand-held digital system, one WITHOUT external microphones / cables, and WITHOUT a keyboard.  Notes are pen-inscribed on an 8 1/2 by 11-inch pad of special paper.  And it's surprisingly inexpensive, all things considered.

When you write with the electronic pen, your notes are "point-of-entry"-linked to the audio being recording at that instant.  Later, just point the pen to any note to replay the related audio.

The system is called Livescribe Echo.
      Read on for more about how it works.

These are earbuds.

But they're not just earphones to play sound INTO your ears.  Rather, they also PICK UP sound AT your ears.  They include small, sensitive microphones which detect the same sounds you're hearing and transmit them to the digital recorder built into the pen itself.  So, what is often termed "confidence monitoring" is an automatic given:  what you hear is what you get.

And what kind of sound is this?

Put it this way:  if you can hear and understand it, the digital replay will sound exactly the same.  It's intended to parallel binaural, omni-directional human hearing.  Is the speaker to your left?  The replay places her to the left.  There is NO "mono," NO "stereo" — everything is always binaurally "human."

Whether this somewhat topsy-turvy approach presents more problems than it solves remains to be seen — and heard.  But at least it does qualify on one level, as a dramatic diminution in system size and complexity.

These remarks do not purport to be a technical product review or a recommendation,
but are presented for general interest purposes.
See the article by Gary Dell'Abate, "My New Pen Pal," in Sound & Vision, November 2010, p. 24.

To examine a recording with interactive notes, go to the public-access sample at
Note that this was recorded at a college lecture class — a bit rowdy at first, but wait till they settle down!
Of course, you will need earphones to appreciate the binaural effect.




Board of Directors Updates
Buchanan "Buck" Ewing (Massachusetts)
has held positions in engineering, regional economic development, and business consulting.

In 1981 he founded ComputerWriters, a firm specializing in writing seminars for senior technical writers.  In 1989 he founded Cambridge Transcriptions, a regional leader in recording and transcription, and since 1995 a court-approved transcriber for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  In 2007 he founded Boston Court Reporters, the first E-Reporting firm in Massachusetts.

Between 1993 and 1998, he served on the board of the International Society of Communication Specialists (ISCS), and also chaired its Education Committee.

Buck is interested in best practices of reporting and transcription firms, and in the application of current and emerging digital technologies at the intersections of audio, text, video, and graphics.

He lives with his wife and son in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Richard Russell (Maryland)
is Operations Manager at Neal R. Gross & Co., a court reporting and transcribing company located in Washington, D.C.  He joined the firm in 1980 as an administrative assistant and part-time electronic court reporter, and since that time has been involved in all aspects of the court reporting business.

He did his undergraduate studies at Colgate University and has an MBA from George Washington University.

Rick has been a member of AAERT since 1995 and has been involved over the years on various projects for the Government Relations Committee.

He and his family reside in Rockville, Maryland.
Our Current Board  /  Officers

Janet Harris

Karen Bergstrom

Ken Kelemen

Jim Bowen
New Jersey


Chris Boone

Buck Ewing

Stacie Jergenson

Rick Russell

NOTE:  The Board will hold its annual mid-year meeting on
January 15 and 16, 2011, in Scottsdale, Arizona.




AAERT's Committees — a chance to participate!
To tweak a phrase, "AAERT . . . powered by Volunteers!"

True, some functions need professional outsourcing — website hosting, for instance.  But our Board is fully "in-sourced," as are our operational / advisory committees and project working groups.

So, which activities pique your interest or mesh with your talents?

  • Government Relations
  • Certification
  • Conference 2011
  • Education
  • Membership Development
  • Planning Task Force
  • The Court Reporter
  • Nominations
  • Awards
  • Finance
A nice thing about the committee system:

Participation need not be hugely time-consuming, nor open-ended.
Most interactions with fellow-members are over the Internet, often via Skype — so there's little or no expense involved.

Another nice thing:

A very good feeling of accomplishment  when your project is brought to fruition!
Your skills and expertise will always be needed!

For further information, contact




Newly Certified Reporters / Transcribers

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!

Those who prefer not to appear in on-line listings are shown with initials only:
Aryeh J. Bak, CET**D
April Boyd, CER**D
Gayle Renee Brown, CERT*D
S.B., CET**D
Michael Connolly, CER
Janet L. Cordia, CET**D
Michelle Costantino, CET**D
Rebekah Lynne Currier, CET**D
S.D., CET**D
Karen Beth Ehatt, CET**D
Judith E. Fischer-Persson, CET**D
Mary Fluharty, CER**D
B.G., CET**D
Judy B. Gonsalves, CERT*D
M.G., CET**D
Christine Lynn House, CET**D
Jean Hudson, CET**D
E.K., CET**D
Virginia S. Kindelspire, CET**D
Susan LaPooh, CET**D
Karen Morganelli, CET**D
Shawna Hansen Ortega, CET**D
Kristin V. Pejsa, CER**D
Peggy N. Pierce, CERT*D
Dorothy Smith Pouch, CET**D
K.S., CET**D
Lee Michele Sapp, CET**D
Michelle Smiroldo, CET**D
Lisa Marie Smith, CET**D
M.S., CET**D
Andrea Rennette Sohun, CET**D
Fernando Andres Subirats, CER**D
Claudia Terry, CET**D
Trevy Thomas, CERT*D
Anne Roberta VanDereedt, CET**D
G.W., CER**D
Gervel A. Watts, CERT*D
P.W., CET**D
— New York
— Florida
— Florida
— New York
— California
— Missouri
— Massachusetts
— Texas
— New York
— Maryland
— Ohio
— Florida
— California
— Massachusetts
— New York
— Colorado
— Maryland
— New York
— Missouri
— New Jersey
— Maryland
— Arizona
— Florida
— Virginia
— Maryland
— New York
— Florida
— Maryland
— Maryland
— New York
— Trinidad & Tobago
— Florida
— California
— Virginia
— Maryland
— Florida
— Maryland
— New York

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 Member

Barbara Brown
Reporting Service
Harrisonburg, Virginia


Those who prefer not to appear in on-line listings are shown with initials only:
Karen D. Anderson, Arizona
Chrysta Bailey, Washington
Jennifer Lee Baskin, Florida
Alice H. Blackburn, Kentucky
Grace Blakeney, Florida
April Boyd, Florida
R.B., Michigan
S.B., New York
M.C., North Dakota
Christine Cohen, Arizona
Paula Doreen Corbitt, Florida
Rebekah Lynne Currier, Texas
S.D., New York
Karen Beth Ehatt, Maryland
Candace Faulkner, Mississippi
Rhonda Fetzer, North Dakota
Ruth Fongemie, Florida
B.G., California
M.G., New York
T.G., Florida
Vanessa Renee Heiser, Florida
Novela Antonia HendersonFlorida
E.K., New York
Virginia S. Kindelspire, Missouri
Latara S. King, Florida
Mary Lou Leidig, Maryland
Karen Morganelli, Maryland
Gary Michael Piwonka, Texas
Stefanie Jodi Morley, Florida
Rennae Jeanne Phillips, Washington
Chris Pierucci, Illinois
Ariel Saldana, Florida
K.S., New York
M.S., New York
Rachel A. Schoth, Louisiana
Lisa Marie Smith, Maryland
Frances Ann Stearns, Arizona
Mie Sudo, Florida
Claudia Terry, California
Trevy Thomas, Virginia
Anne Roberta VanDereedtMaryland
Wanda Voorhees, Florida
P.W., New York
Lanette Ann Young, Montana




A continuing reminder:   AAERT Membership Benefits 

Review the details of these offers in the Members Area of our website:  Login Page.
Click on these company logos to see their products / services:
court reporting supplies and equipment
office supplies and equipment
professional liability and disability insurance


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





Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal