Massachusetts to replace court reporters

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe Boston Herald reported on June 23 that full-time court reporters in Massachusetts will be replaced by an electronic recording system and per diem workers next year, according to a memorandum recently circulated to judges and clerks. In addition, WCVB Channel 5 aired a story on June 23 announcing that Massachusetts will eliminate official court reporter positions as of June 30, 2018.

Boston court reporting company celebrates 50th anniversary

JCR logoSwampscottWickedLocal.com posted an article March 27 about Doris O. Wong Associates, a court reporting firm located in Boston, Mass., celebrating its 50th anniversary. The firm is owned by retired NCRA member Doris Wong, FAPR, RMR, CPE.

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Court reporters face loss of jobs

jcr-publications_high-resThe Daily News of Newburyport, Mass., posted an article on Feb. 10 that features interviews with court reporters in Massachusetts who are facing the potential of being replaced by digital recording systems in courthouses throughout the state.

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Former NCRA member passes

jcr-publications_high-resRetired court reporter and former NCRA member Eugenie Harris Fitzhugh, RPR, Plymouth, Mass., passed away Dec. 29, according to an obituary posted by iBershires.com. A past president of the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association, Fitzhugh was 91 years old.

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New court recording system debated

The Worcester Telegram posted an article on March 27 that quotes Kathy Silva, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Andover, Mass., and president of the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association, about court reporters having the wherewithal to avoid including privileged conversations, let courtroom participants know if they are speaking too softly, and clarify the spelling of names. “We certainly are the gold standard for recording proceedings,” said Silva. The state is currently debating replacing live court reporters with electronic recording of proceedings.

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Debate grows over court recording system

The Cape Cod Times reported on March 25 that the Massachusetts Trial Court’s move to implement a digital recording system has court reporters fearing for their jobs and has angered attorneys across the state who are concerned about the integrity of the record. Jill Kourafas, RPR, a freelance reporter from Quincy, Mass., and a member of the board of the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association, said her office employs several Trial Court-approved transcribers who struggle to make out the audio from digitally recorded proceedings. “In every transcript there are inaudibles,” Kourafas said. “For the most part, they are very poor and spotty … it’s very rare that we get a great recording.”

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Hampden County, Mass., Bar Association says elimination of court reporters ‘risks the fair administration of justice’

MassLive.com reported on Feb. 11 that the Hampden County Bar Association is opposing a proposal to replace the state’s 40 court reporters with a new digital recording system, according to a statement issued by the organization. The statement reads in part, “A court reporter’s sole responsibility in the courtroom is to prepare a reliable and accurate record of the proceedings.” The full statement in support of court reporters is available in the article.

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Objections raised as courtrooms go digital

According to an article posted by The Boston Globe on Jan. 2, the installation of a new digital recording system that eliminates the need for a court reporter by Superior Courts across Massachusetts is being met by strong objections from many in the legal arena. The article notes that the change has stirred deep anxiety among some lawyers, judges, and other officers of the courts, who worry that transcripts will be riddled with errors and inaudible passages if they are not taken by an attentive court reporter witnessing the trial.

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