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Court reporters make push for licensing

Dave Stafford
September 19, 2013
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Court reporters will make a case to a legislative commission this week that the state should set minimum standards and licensing criteria for professionals who record and compile the transcripts of judicial proceedings.

The Commission on the Courts’ agenda for its meeting Tuesday includes discussion about licensing court reporters. There currently are no minimum standards for the profession in Indiana, according to Vickie Dudeck, president of the Indiana Shorthand Reporters Association.  

“We feel that litigants, attorneys, and the general public should be assured that they are getting capable and quality service every time they are involved in a situation where the record needs to be captured or memorialized in a state court matter (in courts or in discovery), similar to the standards and rules established for all federal court cases,” Dudeck said. “The fact that it is a lower court matter shouldn't automatically mean that it's a crap shoot when it comes to the quality of the record.”

Dudeck said the group will present to the commission Tuesday to discuss how a licensing or certification system in Indiana would benefit courts. She said more than 20 states have minimum standards for court reporters, and the lack of such standards would improve the quality of transcripts and foster ethics in the profession.

“What we are proposing is not that we dictate the method of capturing the record (steno, digital recording, or voice writing), but instead we establish some standards in Indiana,” she said.

Also before the commission Tuesday will be discussion of whether there is a need for more than one court-appointed psychiatrist when a defendant raises the issue of insanity.

The commission meets at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Room 431 of the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis. The meeting is open to the public, or may be viewed via online webcast at http://www.in.gov/legislative/2441.htm.
 

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  • Court Reporter Certification
    It is admirable to seek state certification. But it won't happen. The cost of running a state board is expensive. If Indiana does implement state licensure no less than 50% oof all steno reporters will leave Indiana as they will not be successful candidates to pass both speed and general knowledge requirements. If they are granfathered in, then what is achieved? The same people are still responsible. Nothing is really gained in the short run. Besides, let's face facts. Certainly steno court reporting is a dying art. Within 7 years 50% of all stenos will be retiring and there will be no steno to replace them. So what's to be achieved in the long run. The best insurance policy for Indiana to secure 100% accuracy in taking down, recording, playback, transcribing, not just for Indiana, but for every state is to introduce DAR in every courtroom and make it the official record AND still use court reporters / transcribers who can produce a transcript that is timely, verifiable and always accessible. A steno certification in today's Digital Age is meaningless.

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  2. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

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