ILNews

Howard County Courthouse to get new security

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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Two decades after a bomb exploded in the Howard County Courthouse, new security measures are being implemented.

County commissioners earlier this week passed new security rules requiring photo identification badges for employees, and metal detectors and X-ray machines at the public entrance. This comes after a decision last fall to use $29,295 of homeland security money for the upgrades and security officers. Certain visitors, including attorneys, can obtain a frequent visitor pass for $50 that allows them to bypass the detectors.

Workers will have to swipe their cards at a reader at the employee entrance and won't have to go through the security. No weapons will be allowed inside the building. Anyone violating the rules can be fined up to $2,500 and employees could be fired. The new security measures are expected to be in place by the end of July.

Officials told the Indiana Lawyer previously they'd been considering security changes since 1987, when a man being tried on drug charges smuggled into the courthouse a briefcase with pipe bombs inside. It exploded, killing the man and injuring 15 people.
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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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