With the New Jersey judiciary moving towards new technology this year, courts in the state have gone digital and now have fewer stenographers. This move is expected to reduce costs, allow courts to keep pace with the changes in technology, and also help maintain an accurate record of proceedings. Digital voice recorders also make it easy to indicate important points with index cues and to file recordings for easy retrieval.
Though some oppose the move saying that the ‘human aspects’ are absent, court officials support the digital recording system. The transcripts of these recordings may fail to capture some words and phrases, but these are usually not relevant to the proceedings, say proponents. Even if there are such missing components, court rules allow for the revision and correction of the transcripts. Recording systems also have backup systems against failure, and avoid the mistakes that court reporters may make. Having digital recording equipment to replace court reporters in courtrooms is cost-effective considering the budget cuts in judiciaries nationwide in recent years.
Another state which has gone ahead with adopting new technology in courts is Kentucky. The state has completely abandoned stenography and introduced video recording systems in all its courts. Moreover, Kentucky initially started out with the digital recording system because it wanted to maintain ownership of the court record.
In 2009, Utah outsourced all its transcription to private transcribers. A Web-based system was created where reporters could access all the audio and video files of the court proceedings online. This change, the result of budget reductions, saved Utah more than $1.3 million, eliminated up to 50 full-time positions and reduced the time from transcript request to delivery from an average of 138 days to 12 days for cases not on appeal.
Professional legal transcription companies can handle court recording with ease, and provide transcripts ensuring high accuracy levels within prompt turnaround time. Considering the budget crunch and layoffs, outsourcing court transcription proceedings seems to be the right solution.