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. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM. Winner of the prestigious Cushing Left Anterior Descending Artery Award.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A RUMPOLE RANT

Before we rant, new security changes at the main jail. You get screened when you walk in. There are lockers in the lobby.  Once again we note that TGK is the only jail that screens you twice. 

COURT REPORTERS - A RANT
Court reporters work very hard. They do an excellent job and like many others in the criminal justice system, they are under-paid. So ok- we are on your side. 
BUT
What is the deal with the sanctity and inviolability of the all important "notice of deposition"? 
Try getting a court reporter to show up without a notice of deposition. 
You can get a brain surgeon to the operating room easier. You can get the President of the United States to your home easier. You can get front row seats for Hamilton on Broadway easier. 

We do not normally deal with such pedestrian matters. We have "people" who handle the paper work. But it came to pass the other day that we needed a court reporter for a deposition on a last minute basis and we called several - many of whom we have known for decades. 
"Can you appear XXXX at 3PM to take a deposition?"
"Can you send us a notice of deposition?"
"No. I'm out. Staff members at the office are sick and others are on vacation. Here's the case number. Here's the defendant's name. Here's the witnesses name. For chrissakes here's our credit card. Just show up and take a twenty minute depo..."
"But you don't have a notice of deposition?"
'NO NO WE DO NOT HAVE A NOTICE OF DEPOSITION. THE FAA GROUNDED THE 737 FLEET WITH LESS PAPERWORK. CAN YOU JUST SEND SOMEONE WITH A MACHINE TO RECORD AND TRANSCRIBE THE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS?"
"Well, without a notice of deposition..."

"…Mr. President there is a meteor heading to earth which will destroy all life. But we have calculated that if we can get three court reporters to show up at NASA in Florida, we can deflect the asteroid and save life on earth."

"Well, get it done. Save the planet."

"Umm, the problem is they all are requiring a notice of deposition before they appear and there isn't sufficient time..."

You can get the US Attorneys Office to offer Pre-trial diversion easier than getting a court reporter to show up without a notice of depo.  It's easier to get a judge to pick up their bar tab. Or get a sticker for lot 26. Or for the Dolphins to find a decent starting QB. Or to get a table at Joes on Saturday night. 

Why does it have to be this difficult? 

Thanks, now we feel better.



12 comments:

Anonymous said...

YES! Finally some sanity. I have a small firm- 35 lawyers. Mostly civil. A little criminal- a bunch of ex-asas and PDs do our grunt work. I use one firm that bills me 20k+ a month. In December of 2018 we had an emergency at the end of the year. Needed to get a court reporter to court. The idiot who answered the phone asked for a notice AND a form to be filled out with our credit card to guarantee payment. This case had about 1.2 million in fees on the line and I needed a reporter in 30 min or less. I told this moron to make an executive decision- send a reporter NOW or lose my business. "I'm sorry sir. I have rules I need to follow."
And I have discretion on who gets my business. SO...I won't name the firm, but you know who you are. How's business looking for 2019 knowing you're starting off down a quarter million for the year? Idiots.

Anonymous said...

Its the tyranny of bureaucracy. I had a reporter not show up. A reporter I know had a depo cancel. I was sitting right next to her in the state attorneys office.
"Handle my depo" I asked her.
She wanted a NEW notice of depo emailed to her as well as my cc.
Can you believe that?

Anonymous said...

Well, from the court reporter's point of view, and I am not one, and the last time I checked, the 13th Amendment bans involuntary servitude. It is bad enough being a slave but even worse being a slave to a lawyer. Court reporters are constantly being ripped off and taken for granted. How often have they heard the lament "I will pay you when my client gives me money." Translation: you will never get paid. Getting a notice of deposition is an IOU, proof that you, the lawyer, ordered the deposition and are liable for its costs. As far as needing a reporter in an unexpected emergency, that is not their problem. I am a civil lawyer. The best way to get a court reporter's attention at a hearing when yours doesn't show up is to approach them in the hall way and offer cash. Never fails. And start developing a cash and carry relationship with free lance reporters. It works wonders when an "emergency" arises/

Anonymous said...

You guys are not using the right firm. Digitext man, those guys come through for me every time on a phone call within minutes. They always have a reporter around, I have used them for years, and when in a bind, which happens a lot, they believe in fix your problem and figure the rest out later. How it should be. Truly great partners in getting the job done.

Anonymous said...

I learned today that Judge De La O is back at REG. How come i'm scooping you on this news Rumpole? Whats the backstory? Couldn't cut it in civil?

Anonymous said...

5:39 probably has a small pencil.

Rumpole said...

7 AM. Court reporters have a big problem getting stiffed. They have a right to every dollar they earn and bill. As I wrote in my rant, I have given my cc to court reporters. "Bill what you want, just show up" - I say. And invariably they respond "but can I get a notice of depo?" It's maddening.

Kissimmee Kid said...

Up here in Florida, the failure of an attorney to pay a person she engaged is unethical. A lawyer who fails to pay a court reporter is subject to discipline.

And, don't start on with "they can't do that." Paying process servers, court reporters, and others hired to aid in the practice of law is related to the practice. They can, and they do. Perhaps, the Bar ought to crack down on dirtbag lawyers in Dade.

Anonymous said...

Actually, de la O has done a GREAT job in civil; everyone I know loves him.

BTDT

Rumpole said...

Well down here in Miam-ah which last I checked is also a part of Florida, we do pay our court reporters. The issue of attorneys not paying court reporters is endemic to the profession as I see it. It's not limited to Miam-ah.

Kissimmee Kid said...

A witness is scheduled to appear, voluntarily before a tribunal. The night before he shows, a lawyer on side of the issue adverse to the witness, someone who is going to ask the witness questions, contacts the witness and says, “Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she'll remain faithful when you're in prison. She's about to learn a lot.”

Is this witness tampering? Does it matter that the witness was supposed to appear without a subpoena?

Anonymous said...

A witness is scheduled to appear, voluntarily before a tribunal. The night before he shows, a lawyer contacts the witness and says, "if you testify for my side and I decide you have given me "substantial assistance", I will pay you a handsome sum of money and/or ask the judge to reduce your sentence. If you don't, I will try my best to put you in prison for a very long time".

Is this witness tampering? Does it matter that the witness was supposed to appear without a subpoena?