Flaws in Digital Recording

flaws in digital recording in courtroomsIn many states across the country, the state governments are spending millions of dollars to install digital recording technology in courtrooms. This switch to digital technology is an attempt to save money “in the long run,” but doesn’t come without problems. If digital recordings are made of a trial and someone needs that file transcribed, the recording is sent to a transcriber for that work.  The transcriber listens to the recording and either writes it on a stenograph machine or types it out in a Word program.  This is how the written record is created from the digital recording.  Again, however, a plethora of problems can occur within this process.

First of all, the transcriber may not be able to distinguish between the many people who are talking and, therefore, either can’t identify the speaker or guesses at who it is.  Also, they may have trouble hearing conversations if the microphones have picked up a lot of background noise like a siren passing by or even someone coughing in the courtroom.  If a person mumbles or speaks too softly, the recording equipment may not pick it up, or, as happens a lot, two people are talking at the same time.  Worst of all, the equipment can accidently shut off during the trial, which would leave gaps of varying length in testimony and other important discussions of the case.  If any of these problems occur, oftentimes the court personnel in charge of monitoring the equipment will not realize it until it’s too late.

Court reporters are always a better and more reliable option for creating legal transcripts. Court reporters understand the importance of a verbatim transcript. When someone’s life or livelihood are on the line, a flawless transcript is absolutely necessary. Not only are court reporters capable of taking accurate, verbatim notes during a legal proceeding, but they can also stop a proceeding if attorneys talk over each other or if a witness speaks unclearly. They can stop the proceeding and ask for immediate clarification or rectification of the problem.  Additionally, court reporters can read back the last statement or question when a witness or judge asks. Digital recording technology cannot currently do any of these things.

Rough drafts or expedited finals of all or any portion of the trial can also be provided by a court reporter and are not available with a digital recording.  You can request today’s testimony as a rough and have it available for reference for tomorrow’s witnesses.

Relying on the reliable is your best bet.  There’s enough uncertainty within a trial setting.  Don’t let a verbatim record be something you have to worry about.

Looking for a Denver court reporter to cover your trial work?

If you need a Denver court reporter, contact us today! (303) 988-8470. We are committed to providing verbatim court reporting transcripts in a timely manner.