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So I've been hesitantly covering court work for my agency when they find themselves up a tree. I've been covering a trial downtown this past week. It's scheduled to go all month. It's a complex, multi-party case.
Here is a quote from the judge as he was scolding the parties that more needs to be done to stay on track and get the case done expeditiously.
"One thing I can do, since you've hired a court reporter, is I can overwork her. I can work her through lunch, and I can work her late, and we can get a third relief if we need to. But my court staff I need to release on time."
Seriously pisses me off that now that the "officials" have been laid off, this judge has taken it as a license to mistreat and overwork us. I understand they have time issues, etc. Maybe it's just his brazen attitude. Had he said that we all need to work a little harder, take less brakes, shorter lunches, stay a little longer, I wouldn't have been so offended.
All I can say is what a jerk!!
I knew there was a reason I don't take court work. It's stuff like that. Unbelievable!!
That is outrageous. But I guess we are used to all kinds of outlandish statements in this job.
That's inhumane. What a jerk.
All I can say is, "OMG."
"WTF" came to mind too. :0)
It would be in that case that I would never go back--and I would make the most out of it while I was there, meaning I would be taking a lunch and I would be leaving when staff leaves.
I think court staff needs to be released on time because the county (all across the country) does not want to pay ANY overtime without it being an absolute necessity - and the Judge doesn't want to answer to "The Payroll Police" for overtime. About five years ago when I had a temp job I had to call a Judge's office about why we haven't received an Order (a special Order). The J.A. said they no longer had legal clerks to do legal research. Those budget cuts have been serious. (Most courts have just-graduating attorneys working as court clerks, who get paid - no fancy wage, but get paid - and they have been cut back too). The Judge is salary, same pay every two weeks - no payroll police involved.
This is the type of situation where the corporate client paying for the court reporter should have spoke up and said, "Excuse me. We are only alotting seven hours a day for a court reporter. That is all the financial output we are authorizing. When the seven hours is up, we are taking her and leaving." LOL
I've heard the outside reporters are being barred from using the restrooms in the jury room, even though they let attys use the jury rooms. This is so unfair to those reporters to be treated this way.
Have you ever seen a better example of why unions are essential to the working man?
Unions have prevented abuses like the above example.
Thank God for unions to help the working man stand up to abuse without getting more abuse.
In this example of management abuse, maybe the freelance court reporters needed a uniting together to forever ban a worker from again working with this judge.
I say all the freelance agencies in the area where the above abusive judge is should be contacted and have a boycott of his courtroom.
I know one mediator in the Connecticut labor mediation system was giving the court reporters a hell of a time, and the freelance agency owners wrote letters and complained to his leaders to have him instructed to treat his reporters decently.
I myself reported to take a hearing at the state mediation center, and the room was arranged like a warehouse with tables thrown into the room in no order like a storage room.
I straightened out the tables and set the room up for making a verbatim record, and the case couldn't go forward and had to be continued, but this mediator told me that had the case gone forward the room would have had to be rearranged back the way it was so that counsel could hand each other papers across the table.
My hallmark as a reporter is that I rearrange every hearing room whenever I can to make the room as much like a courtroom as possible. Sometimes I can't do it, but most of the time I do rearrange the rooms with a head table for the arbitrator and separate tables for the counsel and a "well" with the court reporter sitting in the middle.
The area in the middle of a courtroom where the court reporter sits is called a "well."
I do the same thing, Bill. I started working on an arbitration a few months ago. They had me set up in a spot that I knew wouldn't work for me and would lead to stress for the entire case, straining to hear the witness and the arbitrators. I spoke up and had them rearrange the room. They didn't like it at first when I spoke up, but since then the room has been set up each time with my chair in the space that works for me, between the witness and the arbitrators. I always arrive at least an hour ahead of time when starting a new case that involves multiple parties for that very reason, making the room functional for me and for everyone.
Your arrival time one hour before the job is my exact policy also. It can take me a half hour to think about how to best rearrange a room and to rearrange it.
I hate it when people push all the tables together and sit around combined tables and expect you to work under those conditions. Sometimes we have to work under those conditions, but I try to avoid it whenever I can.
I once worked with a grouchy judge who came into a hearing room I had rearranged and said, "What's going on. This is rearranged."
I told him, "I'm hard of hearing," and he said he was too and I should get a hearing aid.
This judge was so hard of hearing I had to read back much, much testimony in cases with him before he got his hearing aid.
Best Regards, Bill
You know what, I read this to my husband and he said that maybe we're interpreting this the wrong way. He thought maybe the judge was saying that the court reporters could now be taken advantage of because they are not on staff any longer, not that he would even consider doing this. Just to make the point that now that things have changed, they aren't protected as they were before. Just a different way to look at the words.
We only got to read one statement and it could have been taken out of context. Just a thought. I don't know - wasn't there.