Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just got last year's transcript

I just got a court transcript that I ordered last year! It was so long ago that I had forgotten about it. I had paid hundreds of dollars for it in advance -- last year.

The system is ridiculous. The courts depend on everyone having timely and accurate access to court transcripts. Everyone needs to know exactly what was argued and decided. There is no excuse for a system that is so slow and expensive.

I don't know whether transcripts are this slow for everyone, or just me. It is hard to believe that everyone is waiting eight months for a transcript. It is also hard to believe that the judge or some other court official specifically impeded me getting transcripts. Either way, it is an outrage.

The problem has such an easy solution. The court already makes audio recordings of court proceedings. There are services that will transcribe recordings. The ones in India are dirt cheap, and give results overnight. The court could have a text transcript on its web site the next day, and it would be cheaper and easier for everyone. Except the court reporter, who might be out of a job.

Any court reporter who takes eight months to produce a transcript ought to be fired anyway. And that is not even the slowest I've encountered. I tried to get a transcript for a 2004 hearing, and I was never able to get it. The court reporter took my money and did about 10% of it, and never did the rest.

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