Flap over fired court reporter prompts New York Times to ask, 'Are Court Stenographers Necessary?'
The recent revelation that a court reporter in New York typed gibberish and impacted the transcripts of 30 court cases prompted a flood of reports, as well as a debate in The New York Times about the use of court reporters.
The New York Post quoted the reporter, Daniel Kochanski, as well as his father and ex-wife in a story that was published last Friday. The men cited alcohol abuse as a cause of the behavior.
“The pressure of that job pushed him over the edge, leading him to lose everything,” the ex-wife told the Post.
The missing records impacted six trials and at least two dozen other proceedings of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Debate ensues In The New York Times’ first report on Kochanski, a supervising attorney handling an appeal related to the Kochanski situation said, “Why are we in this 18th-century system where someone is taking it down in their own indecipherable notes?”
A spokesman for the Office of Court Administration said in the Times, “This is a complete anomaly. The court reporters perform an incredibly difficult task every day and do it in an extraordinary way.”
Are court reporters necessary? The Times later published a Room for Debate post on its website in which legal professionals took sides on the issue of court reporting vs. digital recorders, headlined “Are Court Stenographers Necessary?”
Commenters Nancy Varallo of the National Court Reporters Association, federal judge Richard Kopf, Minneapolis district court judge Peter Cahill, digital recording system salesman Brian Green and Stuart Auslander of the New York School of Court Reporting sounded off from their various perspectives.
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