Judge Argues for Court Reporters Over Recording Devices
"The Judiciary Law could not be more clear," Hunt wrote. "The statute directs in unmistakable language that each official stenographer 'must take full stenographic notes of the testimony and of all other proceedings in each case tried or heard' and 'complete stenographic notes of each ruling or decision of the presiding judge,'" Hunt wrote. "The authority granted by the Legislature has long since expired, yet the electronic recording of proceedings in some courts of record continues unabated and beyond what the Legislature had authorized."
Hunt urged the state to "meet its obligation to accurately record Family Court proceedings by providing sufficient official court reporters or by obtaining legislative authority to record court proceedings electronically and by providing trained personnel to operate the electronic recording system.
"The children, parents, and others having their rights adjudicated by the Family Court are entitled to nothing less," he continued.
Assistant Corporation Counsel Faith Lovell prosecuted the case. Shannel was represented by Robert Georges of Manhattan.
David Bookstaver, spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, said "there is a practical realistic need for electronic recording in our courts and while we place great value on court reporters, in many areas of the state it is a dying art. Practically, this is of enormous benefit to the court system."
Bookstaver said that the Legislature has never barred electronic recording and, consequently, OCA, views the matter as an administrative prerogative.