Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, November 3, 2022


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Superior Court Executive Officers Spotlight ‘Crisis’ Posed by Lack of Court Reporters


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Executive officers of 54 of California’s 58 superior courts yesterday proclaimed in a joint statement that there is a “crisis” in the courts occasioned by a lack of court reporters, but fell short of taking a stance in favor of electronic recording of proceedings.

The executives—including Los Angeles Superior Court Executive Officer Sherri R. Carter—declared:

“Each day across California, tens of thousands of court hearings are held. Lawyers argue, witnesses testify, litigants tell their stories and judges make decisions. What many people do not appreciate is the crucial role played by a court reporter: creating and preserving a verbatim record of those exchanges. As a chronic shortage of court reporters reaches crisis levels, the statutory framework for court reporting must adjust to the new realities of the reporting profession.”

The statement mentions that Government Code §69959 and Code of Civil Procedure §367.75(d)(2)(A) “mandate court reporters to be present in the courtrooms—rather than taking advantage of emerging technologies that would allow the court to provide this service remotely to multiple courtrooms throughout the county, providing more services with existing resources while making the profession more attractive to young, potential court reporters.” However, no concrete proposal was put forth. The statement says:

“We stand with our court reporters in recognizing and appreciating their value and service to the California judicial branch but we must acknowledge that we are facing a California—and national—court reporter shortage.

This shortage will not be solved by increased funding. Without changes to the current statutory framework for court reporting, all courts will face the inevitable day, already seen by a few California courts, of not having enough court reporters to cover the mandated felony criminal and juvenile dependency and delinquency cases.

“Every litigant in California should have access to the record. Ideally, this would be provided by a court reporter but when none are available, other options need to be available to the courts. We are ready, able and willing to work with all stakeholders on finding ways to ensure that all litigants who need a record have access to one.”

A March 29, 2018 letter from the Judicial Council to the Legislature is cited reporting an anticipated shortfall of 2,750 by 2023.

Executive officers of the superior courts in Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado and Plumas counties did not sign the statement.


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