Texas courts face shortage of stenographers

The Texas state courts face delayed hearings and trials resulting from a dwindling supply of court reporters.  The Texas Office of Court Administration reports a decline of 20 percent in the number of available stenographers since 2005.

While some courts across the country have moved to audiotape as a less expensive option, live court reporters typically produce transcripts that are far more accurate. The story quotes stenographer Chavela Crain, who noted

“We deal with dialects, accents, coughing, sneezing, sirens going by, somebody says they were offered 15,000 for something, and I can say ‘Wait, was that 15,000 or 50,000?'” Crain explained. “On an audio (recording) you’re not going to be able to tell that, and if somebody’s not in the room there is nobody to clarify that.”

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