How a house fire burned up a man’s murder conviction

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyWSB Radio, Atlanta, Ga., reported on Oct. 4 that a man serving life for murder had his conviction tossed out by Georgia’s Supreme Court because recordings and notes from his trial were destroyed in a fire at the home of the court reporter.

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Esquire launches court reporter program to strengthen the industry

JCR logoIn a press release issued May 31, Esquire Deposition Solutions, Atlanta, Ga., announced a new court reporter program designed to strengthen the skills of both new and tenured court reporters to accelerate their career development and to improve their earnings potential.

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New professional spotlight: Shelley Duhon

By Danielle Griffin

Megan photoShelley Duhon, an official court reporter, was always interested in court reporting ever since she saw court reporters writing on their machines on TV and in movies such as Ghostbusters II. When she completed high school, she decided she wanted to pursue court reporting school. The only problem: There weren’t any schools available in her area. Without knowing a single working court reporter, she started and completed all of her schooling online! Shelley believes the discipline learned through playing flute and piano from when she was young all the way through high school was key to giving her the tools she needed to practice for many hours and to reach the goal of finishing court reporting school. She is so proud to be a newly working court reporter and loves being in this profession.

Where did you go to school?

I am so proud to say I graduated from College of Court Reporting online in 2015. I started and completed all of my schooling online! I started at the Court Reporting Institute of Dallas and finished at the College of Court Reporting.

Where are you from, and where do you work?

I am from Louisiana, but I have lived in Atlanta for the last seven years. I currently live in McDonough, Ga., and commute an hour each way to work.

I work at Macon-Bibb County Superior Court in Macon. I started working there in September of 2016. I am currently the only stenographer! I feel like this gives me an extra advantage to be able to produce rough drafts or daily copies. Because there is a shortage of court reporters in my area, I have also had the opportunity to travel to the local circuit courts with my judge and love getting the experience traveling.

What’s the coolest experience you have had working in the profession?

Currently, there are a lot of production companies that come out to Atlanta to shoot their films. While I was in school, I had the opportunity to work on the TV sets of:

  • A courtroom scene on the television series "Red Band Society" -- Shelley Duhon is the court reporter behind the bench.

    Shelley Duhon, to the left of the flag, in “Red Band Society

    Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime

  • Rectify on Sundance
  • Satisfaction on USA
  • Game of Silence on NBC
  • Red Band Society on ABC
  • The Jury on ABC
  • Tyler Perry’s The Haves and Have Nots on OWN Network

This all came about from a casting call that went out on the local news station. I sent in my information, and I got a call to work on the set of Drop Dead Diva! I was so excited to be there, and I ended up meeting and becoming acquaintances with the producers on the TV show. Since that time, they must have put me on their list because they have continuously called me ever since. It has been an experience I won’t ever soon forget.

What is something you wish you would have known before you started working as a new professional?

One thing I wish I knew is that it is okay to move my chair and sit closer to the jury during voir dire. Make sure you sit where you can hear. Get a digital recorder. It is nice to have a second or third backup just in case.

Never be afraid to interrupt and tell the judge to get a witness to speak up, especially when they are giving nods of the head.

Find out if there is a time limit on getting transcripts turned in, so you won’t have to rush last minute.

Get a mentor and work with them. Meet them for lunch on the weekends. Call and ask questions. There is never a stupid question.

Stay current with your national and state association policies. They are there to assist you.

What is your favorite part about working as a court reporter?

I feel most accomplished when I am writing clean. Some days, attorneys will request of me to get out a daily copy, and it makes me so thankful for the skill I have as a court reporter. This is truly why I went to school.

What are your next goals as a court reporter? What are you working towards next?

After I pass my last test of the RPR, I will be working on getting the CRR. I would like to provide realtime on a continuous basis in the future.

I am also trying to work on balance between my work and personal life. I knew coming into this industry that I wouldn’t have much of a life starting off, but now that I am settling in, I am trying to work on finding more balance. Meeting with other working reporters and mentors helps too. It is always so nice to be able to hear other perspectives.

I am planning on attending the NCRA Convention & Expo this year in Las Vegas and can’t wait to meet more reporters. I am so proud to be a working court reporter and a new professional!

Danielle Griffin, RPR, is a freelancer in Phoenix, Ariz., and a member of the New Professionals Committee. She can be reached at danielle.griffin@gmail.com.

 

Longtime court reporter considered icon to retire after 53 years

JCR logoThe DecaturDaily.com posted an article on May 11 about the retirement of court reporter Morris Anderson after 53 years on the job.

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Justices debate meaning of “access” in court records fight

JCR logoAccording to an article posted May 1 by the Daily Report, Atlanta, Ga., attorneys for the producers of the Undisclosed podcast were in the Georgia Supreme Court trying to persuade the justices that a Rome judge should have let them copy a court reporter’s backup tapes from a 2001 murder trial. Undisclosed is a popular podcast series focused on old criminal cases.

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Chief judge says funding plan still not in place

An article posted on March 2 by the Daily Report Online reports concerns by Chief Judge Gail Tusan of the Fulton County, Ga., Superior Court that a funding agreement is still not in place to support a pretrial services program and still meet mandated expenses, such as paying for court reporters’ transcripts.

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NCRA members help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

JanaADA251

Jana Colter holds the Captioning Matters banner

On June 13, NCRA members Jana B. Colter, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP, Louisville, Ky., and Kerry Anderson, RPR, Atlanta, Ga., participated in the ADA25 Georgia Legacy Parade celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Colter, a captioner who also serves as co-chair of NCRA’s Broadcast and CART Captioning Committee, and Anderson, a CART provider and captioner who also serves as an NCRA Director, marched in the parade and carried a banner that read “Captioning Matters.” Both say that participating in the event not only celebrated 25 years of the ADA but also placed a greater awareness on the achievements the Act has provided for those living with disabilities.

JanaADA2The march ended with a celebratory presentation in a nearby park.

Colter said she became involved in the event as a result of her captioning for Brenda Brueggemann, a faculty member at the University of Louisville. Brueggemann currently serves as program chair for the 2015 Society for Disability Studies annual conference and is the group’s incoming president. She is also scheduled to lead the session, Composing Sound—A Workshop on Creative and Critical Thinking, during the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo being held in New York City, July 31-Aug. 2.

Lawyer loses bid for free transcript copy, promises appeal

Jackie Patterson, a criminal defense lawyer in Georgia, lost his motion for a free copy of a digital transcript when Clayton County State Court Judge Morris Braswell denied his request. Braswell also denied Patterson’s request to use his own court reporter during the proceedings.

The debate centers on how new rules for the Judicial Council of Georgia will be interpreted and whether “a digital copy of the transcript at no charge” is issued before or after legal fees are paid, as well as who is responsible for those fees.

Patterson plans to file an emergency appeal without a transcript of the hearing.

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Lawyer says court reporter must give free e-transcript

Jackie Patterson, a defense attorney in Georgia, has made a motion to require the court reporter to provide a free digital copy of a criminal trial transcript. Patterson cited new rules of the Judicial Council of Georgia that affect transcripts ordered after Jan. 1, 2015. Patterson claims that the cost of transcripts “can effectively deny defendants the right to appeal.” Clayton County State Court Judge Morris Braswell will rule on the motion on April 22.

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Court reporter costs at issue in Georgia appeal of civil case

The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that a petitioner must be granted access to a hearing transcript even though she didn’t pay part of the court reporter costs, according to a March 21 article on ALM.com. The article explained that in a civil case, court reporting services are not always required, and the costs are often borne by the parties to the civil case. A party to a civil dispute does not have to help pay for the reporting services; however, that party may be left at a disadvantage without a transcript if the case is appealed.

The appeals court panel indicated that, in this case, the appellant had not met all of the technical requirements to indicate that she had waived her right to receive a copy of the transcript and, therefore, the appeals court reversed the lower court’s decision and granted the appellant access to a transcript.

The appeal results from a Cobb County custody dispute, Beringer v. Emory, No. A13A2077.

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