Many federal courtrooms nationwide have been making the switch to simply recording digital audio of court proceedings rather than use the services of a live court reporter. While this may eliminate the cost of hiring competent reporters, the recording systems are far from perfect—and in some cases, can present more problems than solutions:
- Recording. Digital recording software has a number of glitches even when it is performing correctly. Unlike the blinking red light of video recorders in the past, the most up-to-date technology tends to fade into the background. Errors—from running out of disc space to simply forgetting to press record—have meant that opening statements and witnesses’ testimonies have been completely lost, leaving the judge to start the proceedings all over again.
- Microphones. The most sophisticated recording systems require attorneys and witnesses to wear microphones for clearer sound. However, this added layer of technology presents another potential for malfunction. If a microphone fails to pick up audio, it may not be discovered until the transcript is created—days or weeks after the trial is complete—leading a federal court to declare a mistrial. If the case is under review by a superior court, the court may rule that there is insufficient evidence from the trial to make a decision and can order a whole new trial to take place.
- Clarity. Even when the mics have been tested and the audio software is recording, there is no way to tell what the quality of the audio will be until it is played back. There may be feedback, static, or even varying volume levels that can lead to errors during transcription, changing your client’s words and inflection.
Using a Court Reporter in Addition to Recording Software
Since a problem with a recording has the potential to delay your case, the simplest solution is to use the software in addition to hiring a certified court reporter. Your case will have all the benefits of a live reporter, plus the reporter is responsible for detecting and correcting any malfunction with the recording software. To find out how the reporting team at Casamo & Associates can benefit your case, schedule a service or contact us to learn more.