South Carolina courts face stenographer shortage

For the second time in two days, a story on the severe shortage of court reporters in a state court system — this time in South Carolina. In influx of retirements, brought on by changes to the state retirement program, has led to a significant shortage of stenographers in courts across the state. The court system has launched an audio reporting program to compensate for the shortage, but as I discussed yesterday, audio recording is inferior in many ways to a live stenographer.

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.”