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Anybody know what's going on in the Los Angeles Superior Courts? I saw that with the budget cuts they will no longer offer court reporters for civil actions. Parties will have to provide their own reporters. I'm so worried for the officials! Does anyone know how the reporters are dealing with it?
There have been a lot of layoffs of officials here in Northern California also.
Oh, wow. They have done that in some smaller counties up north. But LA County? That's a lot of reporters. Next will be the bigger counties up here.
They are closing 56 courtrooms. That is a whole lot of reporters. I wonder how that is going to work, though? That seems so unfair that the parties have to provide the reporter. Obviously only the side with money, if one exists, will be able to do so. Sounds like an unfair advantage to me. I just don't understand this crap. They are saying civil actions are going to slow to a crawl because of the cuts. Something must be done. I love California, and I love Los Angeles, but we have to get our crap together!
A little more insight. There is an article in the "Los Angeles Times" this morning. If you do not receive the paper, you can google the article.
Here is the link.
Hi, Shanna. I know it'll be a big change for you-all, especially since you've been used to official reporters for so long there. If your Superior Court is equal to our Circuit Court ... where civil cases such as med mal, personal injury, etc., are heard ... here in Virginia for as long as I can remember, the parties have had to hire their own reporter from the freelance community. It's usually, 99.9% of the time, the defendant who "orders" the reporter. They pay our attendance. But whoever is first to order the transcript pays the original, the other side, the copy fee. And yes, sometimes civil cases go forward with no reporter at all. It's rare, but it does happen.
Hiring non-state employee per diem court reporters could have disastrous effects on getting out transcripts for appeal.
It was essential for court employed court reporters to have access to the case exhibits and to have access to the court file for spellings and for reference.
For a non-state employed per diem reporter to come into a courthouse and expect cooperation from stranger clerk's office personnel in having access to court exhibits and court files and for those per diem reporters to be provided office space to peruse the exhibits and files would be a very if'y thing and probably involve great, great difficulty.
Also I see great difficulty in getting to use courthouse photocopy machines to photocopy exhibits. Some court reporters could end up paying the public charge for people who request copies of court documents. In Connecticut I believe it's a dollar a page if the public wants copies of court documents.
I just don't see the cooperation and help coming from court staffs dealing with court reporter strangers who are not fellow state employees. The whole idea of non-state employee court reporters seems wide open to disastrous effects in getting out appeal transcripts and other transcripts.
State employed court reporters went to great lengths to have good relationships with the clerk's office staff so that the reporters had pretty much total cooperation from the clerk's office. I don't think non-state employed court reporters are going to walk into courthouses and find cooperative clerk's office staffs there to help and assist them. The clerical workers in the clerk's offices and their supervisors won't be there to help stranger court reporters.
Another crazy thing about this situation is, I heard a panel at the DRA Convention of a CSR Board member stating any reporters hired to do this civil work in court by Code has to charge the mandated folio rate for transcript, which is pitiful compensation, especially for reporters who don't have the benefits that employee-court reporters would have.
Of course, reporters are charging more as we speak, but the CSR Board says if you are called out on it, if an attorney discovers that in the Code you can only charge this folio rate, then the CSR will not back you up.
Just another one of many things that are screwed up in California. This lists goes on and on. Very dysfunctional state.
Then everybody should JUST SAY NO. What a nerve to try to enforce on freelancers the low "official" rates. Unbelievable. That is just awful. SAY NO!!!!!
Hi Martha and everybody involved in this thread:
The following quote is re-printed from "CCRA Ten Tips: The Freelancer's Guide to Court Work," located under Tip No. 7:
"If you are hired privately by the attorneys, you are not governed by the fees that the officials are required to charge. If you are hired by the court, you are governed by the fee structure of that court."
You can find the above-referenced tips on the CCRA's website. This is what CCRA is positing. However, I don't know if their statement is true or untrue.
It's a confusing mess.
It's terrible. And now, when the economy is finally getting better, to start doing this? What a mess. It already takes years to get to trial. Now how long will it take?
Echo Bill's and Marge's comments.
Hiring court reporters for civil trials occurs in very few areas in the country, VA and FL, perhaps a few others.
Courts should be ashamed of themselves. Official court reporting is very different and more demanding (respectfully written to all freelancers) than deposition reporting. Requires a different skill set and also lots of patience and tongue-holding when working with judges, court personnel, and administrators. Court work is more difficult because many courtrooms are uncontrolled "zoos," (due to inexperienced judges or judges who choose to allow the zoo-like atmosphere to perpetuate) and require a well-experienced, certified reporter to know how to report proceedings.
In the past two years, many states have seen Officials lose their jobs; namely, NY and CA, along with many others. Official reporters are re-entering the freelance field in droves. Yet, schools keep churning out graduated-but-non-certified students, filled with wide-eyed expectations of making lots of money, when the reality is that many freelancers are struggling to find work, as a result of agencies not having raised page rates in decades, more of the reporter's efforts being paid to agency family members and "salespeople," and now the plethora of Official-returning-to-freelance Reporters.
Some state courts no longer hire per-diem reporters, or they pay them a very low per-diem fee. This is unacceptable. Official court work is very difficult. Freelance Reporters should just refuse to go into court.
As Marge says: JUST SAY NO.
When courtrooms "go down," are forced to close, because the court cannot locate an experienced, Certified Court Reporter, thus realizing the benefits to employing certified Official Court Reporters, then, the courts will hire.
Word should spread that, because court work is very difficult, as anyone who's worked in court realizes, reporters deserve an excellent salary and paid benefits.
The last time masses of people lost their jobs was The Great Depression.
Can you say those words now?
Do you dare to say those words now?