When CNN Supreme Court reporter Pamela Brown incorrectly referenced the Third Circuit instead of the Third District in this report, we cringed a little bit. While there are other stories that are more impactful to the average American, to court reporters, the details matter whether you?re a reporter for a major news network or a member of a legal team.
Brown?s gaffe was in reference to Supreme Court pick Judge Thomas Hardiman who serves on the bench of the Third District, not the Third Circuit Court. In the scheme of what a court reporter should know about the system, it?s kind of basic. As courtroom experts, we know the circuit courts are numbered (Phoenix is in the Ninth Circuit) and used for appeals while district courts are part of the state or regional system and are named by state (Arizona District Court). Most people outside the legal field may not have noticed the error but as court reporters, we?re trained to hear the details.
Details Matter in the Courtroom
Whether we?re taking depositions or hearing cases in a courtroom, the details matter not only for the attorneys that hire us but for their clients. In the big picture, what court reporters capture has potential to reach the highest courts of the nation so it?s imperative that we?re recording exactly what?s being said without prejudice.
There are times that it is challenging to hear witnesses, understand an accent, or manage conversations between attorneys who don?t see eye to eye in the middle of a proceeding, but it?s up to us to capture what is being said and by whom.
Help Us Help You
As your trusted court reporter, we ask you to help us capture the details by speaking one at a time, coaching witnesses on the importance of speaking clearly and loud enough for us to hear, and providing witness names to us ahead of the deposition or hearing. Sounds simple but too often we hear from reporters that they have to stop a deposition to ask for clarification and repetition when it could have been avoided with the implementation of a few key items.
We appreciate your help and look forward to working with you in the future!