WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Thursday, November 04, 2010

COURT REPORTERS TO STRIKE??

Court reporters of Miami-Dade Unite!!!
You have nothing to lose but the chains of your low per-page rates and your shameful treatment by the Florida Legislature!

Many of you saw the Miami Herald, (reprinted on this reporting blog) article this past Sunday in which long time court reporter Vanester Collier refused to transcribe the trial of a defendant who was indigent because the Florida Legislature changed the per page rate for indigent defendants from $5.50 per page to $3.95 per page. This provision was sneaked into the budget at the last minute and in Ms. Collier's case, it applies retroactively to the work she has already done.

Put another way, the Legislature changed the rules in the middle of the game and there's nothing Ms. Collier can do about it. Except STRIKE BACK.

In response to this outrageous treatment, which is nothing less than down right theft of services, Rumpole calls for the Court Reporters of Miami-Dade to go on strike. STRIKE STRIKE STRIKE. Lets get 60's and take it to the streets! Log on, tune in, and drop out for a day.

Which day?
Thanksgiving is Thursday November 25. We offer two suggestions: the first is Wednesday November 24, which would be a somewhat conciliatory move on the part of court reporters as the day before a holiday is usually light in terms of courtroom work. However, if they really want to make a statement, then they should go out on strike on MONDAY November 22, 2010.

If the State Legislature thinks they can treat people this way, let them see what it's like if these people just say no. If, like the plot of Atlas Shrugged, the court reporters, who are as important in the justice system as the clerk, judge, or lawyer, just go on strike rather than accept the shoddy treatment of their profession, they might get treated with a little more respect by the politicians in Tallahassee.

Rumpole says STRIKE. What say you Court Reporters of Miami-Dade?


34 comments:

CAPTAIN said...

The Captain Reports:

Electronic Reporting ......

It's what they call it when they replace court reporters with machines. Just ask the toll booth collectors who will all be out of jobs within the next three years as all toll roads go to speed pass lanes.

Court Reporters can go on strike, and the State Legislature and the AOC can strike right back.

Rick Scott's first promise when he was running for governor was that he would ask the State Legislature during their 2011 Spring session to pass a budget that rolled backed each and every department's budget to 2004 levels.

Tell the court reporters that before you rally them into striking.

Cap Out .....

Spiderman said...

The court reporters should have been replaced by recording devices years ago. Depositions are one thing, but stenographers in court proceedings.... antiquated.

Tomorrow I am having the pony express send over my pleadings and on Monday I have a "conference call" that I will be handling via telegraph.

Oh shit, I just got served by carrier pigeon and some prosecutor just sent me a smoke signal.

Anonymous said...

Since when did Rumpole become a Bolshevik?

Anonymous said...

Yes, a court reporter strike is a serious situation. We qualify as essential personnel. In California it was a one-way ticket to jail.

Rick Scott's promise to pass a budget for each department at 2004 levels, that would mean he would raise the current $3.95 per page rate for indigency appeals, as $3.95 is a 1984 page rate.

At $5.50 the agency takes 30%, that leaves me with what? $3.25. I pay my scopists $1.50 per page. And what am I left with? And this is not to mention the regular page rate of what? $3.25? I pay my scopist the same $1.50 to be able to perform accurate and speedy delivery. And the same agency takes 25% of my attendance fee. Most of the time I deliver my own transcripts as the agency can't seem to meet the deadlines or deliver the transcript to the proper parties or even file the original with the clerk's office to avoid the OSC.

Federal court reporters make $4.40 per page on everything without the firm.

Yes, digital is used in many counties and some even use court reporters to transcribe the tapes as we are familiar with the proceedings. Some of the digitial transcrips are so inaccurate it isn't even funny.

Working as a court reporter in state court essentially means working without legal support as we are rarely mentioned in the contract between the county and the agency. When an agency "goes out of business," they are allowed to close their doors owing as much as $25,000 to reporters and the agency is helped in some cases to hide their assets in the event of a lawsuit.

Yes, I know well that the AOC holds all the cards. We can only pray that they use live reporters on homicides and death penalty cases so that there is little chance of having to retry the case.

Again, I repeat, I love my job and the work that I do, but I will not put all my eggs in one basket either. I am looking around.

Anonymous said...

Tell the reporters that they are right. If they don't get paid, they don't work.

Let's go back to law school 101.

You do work for boss and the rate is x.

Later, boss wants to lower rate to Y.

Can you sue?

Yes.

If they wanted to pay Y, they should have said so before you did the work.

Go find one of Rick Scott's buddys to do the work at the lower rate.

Anonymous said...

Striking is a BAD idea. Captain's right about how the state would respond. It's already happened in County Court. It will happen in Circuit Court as well.

If the reporters upset the powers that be by striking (which is exactly what would happen), theyn they're toast. You think the public would have any sympathy for them when they're still making a lot more than the average person and "jeopardizing" peoples' liberty and/or the convictions of murderers, rapists, child molestors (which is how the state will portray this)?

While I think what the legislature did was wrong and support the reporters on this one, a strike would be a bad idea. They're better of going back to the legislature and seeing if they can (1) encourage them to make the law retroactive as you call it and (2) ask for a more reasonable wage.

BTDT

real fake former judge said...

STRIKE STRIKE STRIKE.

CAPTAIN U R A DOFUS.

STRIKE STRIKE STRIKE

CAPTAIN said...

2:28 Hey Hey Hey, DOFUS ??? Did you mean DOOFUS.

It's Butthead to you sir.

Cap Out

RFB said...

Sparky Anderson has died. If you were a fan of the Big Red Machine or the Detroit Tigers, then he led your teams to world championships.

Rest in peace Sparky. The count will always be 3-1 with a runner on second and you flashing the swing away sign.

real fake former judge said...

IT TAKES A DOFUS TO KNOW A DOOFUS....hahhahahahahahaha.

you walked right into that one captain crunch.

Appellate Attorney said...

The transcript which the court reporter is refusing to do was due long before the rate change. If she had completed her work in a timely manner she would have been paid at the old rate. There is a serious problem with court reporters in Dade county and they don't deserve the lower rate since they cannot manage to get the transcripts done on time. This particular reporter needs to be thrown in jail until the transcript is completed.

Anonymous said...

Can we make digital recording and email to India for typing? I bet you could have two typists do and compare the transcripts to find mistakes. I bet it would be more accurate and a quicker turnaround time. I like the court reporters, but if the goal is to save money why not?

Anonymous said...

As one of my best court reporter friends used to say, "Anybody can make the money we make if you work every night, every weekend and every holiday."

Think about it. We must complete the work whether we get paid nothing, a smaller percentage or full pay. Of course, full pay is always nicer and it makes us strive for that 100% transcript.

What is the incentive for a person transcribing a digital tape? They never see the client face to face, little research is involved so the names of speakers or names of clients or locations is not a priority. You get what you pay for, right?

Anonymous said...

HR
a funny but true diversion
DS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqtZm_aeubI

Anonymous said...

Most reporters don't support a strike because we do appreciate our jobs in these difficult times. However, there's a solution to the page per rate problem. Since the agency takes 20% to 30%, get rid of the agencies. The owners of those agencies are lining their pockets and pimping these reporters until they can't work, then it's on to another warm body with a pulse. NO STRIKE. that's a very idea, rump, unless you're going to pay my son's exclusive private school and his tennis coach' s fees. JK.

Anonymous said...

On an unrelated note, has anyone heard about the setup that's being played out with Flora Seff & the open child support hearing office position? As Rump likes to say, 3 to 1 odds that she gets the position.

Kissimmee Kid said...

Here in Kissimmee, we have had electronic court reporting for years. It works great!

The best thing about electronic court reporting is that it misses many conversations. When a court reporter reports a trial, he interrupts and forces people to speak so their testimony can be transcribed. Some courthouses have "white noise" generators which, when activated, drown out bench conferences.

Why is this good? In criminal cases, if there is no record, RETRIAL!

Anonymous said...

It would appear that the entitlement generation has infected the entire electorate of this country and no more so than Florida. The need for instant gratification overwhelms every aspect of our lives.

We suffer from short term memory deficit and selective recollection. We fail or are incapable of educating ourselves on the simplest of issues. We never think of the greater good and concern ourselves only with what is in it for us personally.

What has caused this change in the American psyche. It is not that this selfishness has not existed in one form or another during our history, but it has never been so pervasive.

First I blame the deterioration of the public school system. We fail to educate our children in a
way that permits them to perform the simplest of critical thinking. They don't know some of the most basic elements of our constitution and the duties of citizenship.

Second because of this lack of intellectual abilities the electorate becomes susceptible to the influence of those who pray on the fears of others and ultimately the "victims" allow themselves
to be pigeon holed as conservative or liberal and accept any position on any issue that fits their
label. It is all about belonging. We have created generations of followers.

Those who play upon this weakness care little about those who support or follow them, but only
for the power they gain and the personal benefits obtained by them.

In this election it would seem that the recovery has just not happened fast enough. I want a job
and I want it now. I don't care that economic recovery is generally slow or that the recovery from the "Great Depression of the 1930's took almost 10 years and was mostly generated by WW II.

The public also seems to have forgotten how we got here. It does not want to recollect that when George the Failure took office we were in a budget surplus, paying down our national debt, on the verge of having the money to reconstruct our infrastructure, expand health care and assure social security for the next 40 years.

I understand that the war in Afghanistan was one of necessity, but Iraq was an unnecessary, ill
advised war of choice that has bankrupted us. Put hat together with the "Bush Tax Cuts" (who
cuts taxes during a time of war where more money is needed not less?) and you end up with the
perfet storm of higher deficits and growing national debt resulting in cuts in entitlements like education, social security and other social programs.

If the Republicans, who have wanted to accomplish the dismantling of the "New Deal" since its inception could not have scripted this better. In fact it leads one to suspect that this was the real intent all along.

Intellectualism has become a curse. The electorate wants candidates who are like them or are at least portrayed that way. That is how Idiot George got to the Presidency despite being a failure at everything he ever did.

Now this state is to be lead by the demogogary of a thief and scammer who made hundreds of
million of dollars stealing form the very program he wants he claims to revile. "I got mine,
although it is really yours and now I don't want it to be yours anymore." Rick Scott has shown, if
you say the right thing to push the buttons of the public, you can buy redemption, gain greater
profits for your friends, increase the suffering of the masses.

Pam Bondi has shown just lay low and let the idiots follow the party label and you can win an
office you are wholly unprepared for with duties you are incapable of fulfilling.

Time to pack up and tell the last of the idiot followers to turn off the lights (if they can find the
switch). God (whoever he may be to you) help us all.

Anonymous said...

So with the advances in technology, we're getting rid of toll collectors and possibly court reporters.And my Home Depot and Winn Dixie are all using electronic check-outs, getting rid of jobs. Looks like it's gonna be harder for Mr. Scott to get us back to work. Sounds like job destruction, not jobs creation to me.

Anonymous said...

Oh there ya' go 6:19. Little miss compassion and understanding, Flora Seff, herself, as a child support master. Can you say "Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not work to collect $200."

This would be heaven for Flora. She would actually be able to be as mean as she wants and get to put people in jail. Who would complain? Who would know? Who would care?

I think she would beleive this is beneath her. She would not last long.

Anonymous said...

Having worked with court reporters like Brynn and Vanester before, they are very hard working individuals who don't deserve the treatment the Legislature gives.

That Scott plans to hack and slash is not helping the situation, it will lead to the burning of Rome.

Anonymous said...

Kissimee kid, if there is an inadequate record the record gets reconstructed. You have obviously never worked on an appeal!

Anonymous said...

http://mh.vrvm.com/mh/pm_22010/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=hj4uTVbA

To Kill a Mockingbird Inappropriate for School

Beowulf said...

If the court reporters are government employees, they can lose their pensions by striking.

Anonymous said...

You might not believe this but Captain is none other than our own scum of the earth, world reknown extortionist of judges and all around ex-con Bob Levy.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable....some people are so clueless as to what our job entails. The reason Vanessa is always late with appeals is because she's ALWAYS in court, doing more trials, and there are only so many hours left in a day to eat, transcribe, shower, sleep, and start all over again the next day.
Also, none of us are talking about striking because that would NOT be a good idea at all. All that will do is upset our judges here in the 11th Circuit, for whom we have a great deal of respect, and who have absolutely no control over what the legislature/JAC has done. The legislature/JAC will then use the strike as ammunition to replace us with digital recording, which is fine just for recording and playback, but I hear the outsourced transcription is horrendous. Machinery still cannot replace every function of a human court reporter (as opposed to the inhumane ones...LOL!)
And whoever is bashing Bob Levy, apparently, you are at the top of the Clueless List.

Annie Oakley

Anonymous said...

Anybody who defends Bob Levy is the one who is clueless. He is unscrupulous, unethical, devoid of any redeeming value. He has no shame or concern for anyone except himself. The sad part is that he has obtained a reputation built on the backs of other people's labor that enables him to extort money from judges at election time.

Go back to pounding the keys and leave your two cents out of things of which you know little. You're services are indispensible, but stick to what you know.

Anonymous said...

A Final Note on Court Reporters:

In Orlando Saturday at the CRR exam, who do I see? JJ who used to own the court reporting firm called XXX. OMG!

I'm still $25,000 short (five homicide trials) and she's probably still using excuses for why it's not her fault and why she's so innocent for not paying her court reporters, like she was before she closed her doors.

Some of the excuses she used were her mother dying in '06, or her brother dying, or she has IRS problems or JAC problems, or the JAC sent the vouchers to the wrong agency, when each agency has a vendor and bank account number.

One of my favorites was when she would give her reporters a check without an invoice so the reporter could double check whether we were paid properly. If you've got nothing to hide, why not do it properly?

But the best one was when I filed suit against JJ and she filed against me what's called a "slap suit." I subsequently learned this is designed to prohibit the plaintiff from going forward and obtaining legitimate recovery.

One of my personal favorites was when some reporter was late with a transcript with Judge Ward and Judge Ward called her office again and again and JJ asked me to just "slip it on the judge's bench at lunchtime." And, of course, Judge Ward didn't know where it came from, just that it was there.

She also would call us on Sunday to have a transcript on Monday morning because she neglected to notify us before.

Am I missing something? Is there still a right and wrong in the world? And don't forget she was excorted out of the building by court security.

No one, not judges, AOC, nor civil lawyer has been able to get her to pay me and she does admit she owes it to me.

I did the work, turned it in timely to the PDs and the vouchers went into JJ's account and she kept the money. I have the PD invoices and the JAC vouchers to prove it.

You know, reporters think they can get away with things that are not right, like double billing with an original and copy when an appeal has been ordered.

JJ even said she would continue to do this until someone told her she couldn't anymore. Apparently someone told her. All of this is considered grand theft in California by the way.

To me, I strive to perform my job as it is performed at a higher level -- federal court. You don't see court reporters there saying there isn't enough hours in the day. No, you get two, three or four scopists to help with the work to meet your deadlines.

I don't understand the logic to think a court reporter can sit in court all day, every day, do all their own scoping/editing and the consumer of our services is the one who will have to wait for delivery.

I have friends who think this way and think there isn't any difference between the way they do business and another reporter who will take the time to train and work with a scopist who will provide timely delivery.

My friends say we all deliver the same product. Yes, but timely is always better, don't you think?

ICANREADBACK said...

In response to Anonymous, Congrats on taking the CRR. Do you think you passed or did JJ's presence contort your psyche. Oh wait a minute, that only happened to you while working in Federal Court, before they politely asked you to exit the premises and not to return. Tell me, was this possibly a repeat of the "Pilots flying while drunk" trial, where you told the presiding judge, "Oh, by the way, there might be some parts missing because I couldn't hear very well?" We know you "strive to perform" your job at a higher lever, so I suppose that's why those sidebars in the Victor Caraballo case had to be requested from you via Supreme Court as you had neglected to add them to a death penalty transcript. For those who want to confirm this fact, please check CJIS. Peruse the court docket under the D defendant, Victor Caraballo, Item Nos. 811 thru 828, regarding of the record by a professional reporter.

Anonymous said...

To ICANRADBACK:

It's alive, it's alive, it's alive and it breathes. I'm still in the building and this alleged human being or person apparently is not. What does that tell you?

The Victor Caraballo sidebars were omitted originally for the timely delivery of transcript before the Spencer hearing and had to be added on appeal.

But then you know all about timely delivery as the pilot trial was what? Two or three weeks late and you still charged an expedited rate, right?

In 2001 in federal court I made $125,000 as compared to the two other swings who made maybe $60-70,000. But I was more qualified so I received the trials, quoting the existing management. The other swings had childcare problems and couldn't seem to get to work on time.

The court administrator hated white people and especially blonds. What does that tell you?
And he's no longer there, also.

But history is written by the victors, isn't it, and it's not always accurate. It's called gossip for a reason.

Then there was the time when I had to cover JJ on closing arguments at 6:00 because the particular defense attorney talked too fast. Or, how about the time I had to cover a Ana Cardona hearing in court and then a depo set at the same time because apparently they talked too fast, also.

Shall we talk about all the "lost" transcripts? Or shall we talk about the crackhead who worked there, also?

It seems like I struck a nerve. Maybe I'm right about all the little stories?

Go back to where you were hiding and I'll make sure that the next time I take the CRR it will be in California where agencies pay their reporters.

What you did was despicable. Reporters lost their houses, had to refinance and it has taken years to come out of the financial hole of bounced checks.

For what? So you could have your house, your car, your bank account? I still have a bounced check for $600. Do you want to make that good? I didn't think so.

On second thought, maybe I'll just move back to California permanently. Apparently I'm militant for wanting to get paid for my work and for speaking the truth.

And don't bother to write back and I won't be checking this website. I have better ways to spend my time, like taking care of my wheelchair bound mother for the past eight years 27/7.

out for good

ICANREADBACK said...

In response to anonymous a/k/a BD:

First: Won't start nothin', won't be nothin'.

Now, let me get this straight, you earned $125K in one year at the federal level, yet you left because of alleged discrimination at where, the Federal Courthouse of all places. WOW!

AND BY THE WAY, THE PILOTS' TRIAL WAS ORDERED TO BE TRANSCRIBED WITHIN 30 DAYS BY THE SUPREME COURT WHICH WAS ACCOMPLISHED. CHECK THE RECORD. BUT THEN AGAIN, THAT WOULD NOT APPLY TO YOU, BECAUSE IF IT'S NOT RECORDED ON YOUR AUDIOSYNC WITH YOU WIRING A COURTROOM FOR SOUND, IT WON'T END UP ON PAPER.

I mean, aren't you the reporter who when requested to read back to the jury during a murder case, asked to place your laptop in the jury room so the jury could listen to the testimony. (Yeah, that's operating at a higher level.) But then again, a court reporter with the certification you somehow obtained would not have forgotten to replace the sidebars back into an expedited transcript.

One final point IF there were a crackhead working there, explain the difference between a crackhead and one such as yourself -- how many psychotropic meds are you ingesting on a regimented basis?
Oh wait, that would explain Harvey (you know, the invisible rabbit) relieving JJ in a trial. LOL!

This would be a good time for you to get a full grasp of the old adage "That doggie poo you've been spreading to any captive audience you could find is so old it don't even stink no mo!"

Anonymous said...

In response to "Spiderman" posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010 11:43:00 AM: No contributor to the system is antiquated, and we must support each other no matter how much one member is unappreciated by another member.
In addition, Spiderman, how would you feel if some insensitive, uncaring _fill in the blank_ wrote that court clerks should be replaced by computers or private attorneys must stop "trial dodging" or moving to withdraw from their client's case on Trial Day because their client allegedly hasn't paid in full the ridiculously expensive retainer.
All members of the justice system team: ASAs, PDs(ONLY advocates for indigent clients), private attorneys, judges, bailiffs, and clerks, as well as court reporters make immeasurable and invaluable contributions to the system; and if one member is absent, then due process, guaranteed by the Constitution, will cease or be terribly delayed.

As a dedicated court reporter, I believe the appellate process is as much a part of due process as the pretrial and trial stages; therefore, no matter the page rate, I'll produce my transcripts when required.
Finally, court reporters must not delay a defendant's due process rights over $1.55 reduction of the page rate. Instead, court reporters need join the Florida Court Reporter's Association or at least support the FCRA's legislative committee in their efforts to lobby the FL legislature to reinstate the prior page rates! Thank you.

Rietz Worldwide said...

Court Reporters strike but not always , They want to get better response.
nice post for getting more information this post is enough.
thanks

Carol said...

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