Court Reporters vs Technology

 Monday, March 6th, 2017

 

Technology is a wonderful thing. As it has developed over the last few years, it has replaced difficult manual tasks with seamless and smooth automation. Thanks to advances, we now have cars that can drive themselves and devices that can connect us to anyone in the world, however, these wonderful advances aren’t always as great as they might seem.

Some states are looking into the option of installing high-tech recording equipment into their courtrooms. While adding technology isn’t an issue, installing and employing it could make human court reporters obsolete.

Not only is the threat to the job of court reporters around the nation a concern, so is the effectiveness of the technology. In February 2017, a Boston news team put the technology to the test and what they found was downright concerning.

“[For the Record (a high-tech recording company)] FTR says it provides high quality recording from a large number of microphones that are more sensitive than any one individual’s ability to hear within the courtroom.

Currently, the transcript is prepared by the court reporter who witnesses the testimony. [However] With the new system, FTR’s recording is sent out to a transcriber who wasn’t there.

We compared the transcripts done both ways – one by a transcriber, one by a court reporter – in the same murder case. These are some of the discrepancies we found:

The question: ‘What was the friend’s name?’

The transcriber’s answer: ‘Ethan.’

The court reporter’s answer: ‘Kayla.’

The Question: ‘Your sister’s a probation officer where?’

The transcriber’s answer: ‘Yes.’

The court reporter’s answer: ‘Quincy.’”

Kevin Reddington, a longtime defense attorney said, “You cannot put someone’s life on a first-degree murder case or rape case, where you’re talking about sentencing someone to double digits, if not no parole, and hope that the record of a recording device is going to be accurate, because in my experience, there’s no way.”

Although technology has come a long way and has drastically changed our lives, it still has a way to go before it will be perfect.

If you’re in need of court reporting or other litigation support services, we can help. With over 20 years of experience, we know that accuracy and timeliness are paramount.

Conveniently located and serving all of South Florida, you can contact us at any time with any questions you may have.

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