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reporter's audiotapes - Advisory Opinion 38

  • 01 Oct 2013 1:52 PM
    Message # 1402523
    I'm trying to find out what the norm is in our state when an attorney requests an audiotape we have made.  I carry the NCRA's Advisory Opinion 38 in my bag (I'm freelance), and in the few times someone has asked me for my tape I simply give them the Opinion and most have accepted it without question.  Unfortunately, one attorney has given me a particularly bad experience on this subject.  I inquired at the SCAO office but found them to be of little assistance.  Any insight is appreciated!  Thank you. 
  • 02 Oct 2013 1:52 PM
    Reply # 1403277 on 1402523

    Posted on behalf of Elsa Jorgensen, CSR-6600

    I do not release the audio without an order from a judge.  My understanding is that I should not release it, even with a subpoena or letter from an attorney.  The audio backup is the reporter’s work product.  Some reporters may release it, but that may set a precedent for us to be audio technicians as well as court reporters.  What if the recording isn’t a good quality?  What if it doesn’t pick up every single word in an answer or question due to its location?  What if the reporter forgets to start the audio backup and there is not audio for the entire proceeding? 

    The court reporter’s notes and subsequent transcript are the record, not the audio.  Even the steno notes would not be released to an attorney.  If there is a particular issue that needed to be recorded, the proceeding could have been video recorded.  In the past, I have offered to recheck an area, but I believe many reporters delete the audio as soon as the transcript is produced.

    As you are aware, NCRA has some COPE opinions on this matter.  I hope my answer and opinion has been useful.

  • 03 Oct 2013 4:44 AM
    Reply # 1403868 on 1402523
    I wouldn't release it without an order.  I'm thinking of my job yesterday.  We took three breaks.  During each break, the witness and his attorney left the room.  There was a lot of confidential conversations from the other side recorded during those breaks.
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