The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

October 29, 2012

Different technologies preserve court records


 Technology has been changing the way we work and play for generations.

Area judges are grappling with the best ways to apply technology to capturing the official court record.

Two Ashtabula County Common Pleas judges use stenographic court reporters while a third has gone to a digital sound system that records the proceedings from eight different microphones.

Common Pleas Judge Gary Yost chose to go the digital recording route in 2007 when his long-time court reporter retired.

“I have been very satisfied with it,” Yost said of the system. He said the technology was originally for audio recording only but a video component can now be added if needed.

He said he made the decision because of the county’s financial situation at the time and believes it is a cheaper way to handle the court record.

Yost said he has not had any severe problems with equipment malfunctions but has heard of issues in other courts. He said in a worst case scenario there is a “procedure under the rules” that stipulates what happens if a piece of the record is lost.

“We have eight tracks that record at the same time,” Yost said. He said you can even isolate one particular microphone.

Yost said the only issue was a user error that caused a short delay. “I’m not saying it never happens,” he said.

Yost said one advantage is the availability of an audio compact disc that can be produced quickly and provided to anyone who needs it.

 All audio digital recordings are downloaded to a computer in the judge’s chambers and to a separate server.

If a transcript is needed for appeal, or other purpose, a transcript must be made from the audio recording.

Yost said 306 of the 371 trial courts in the state of Ohio are using some method of digital recording.

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