SANTA CRUZ -- A half-dozen lawyers arrived in Judge Timothy Volkmann's courtroom Tuesday to argue a hotly contested question about the right for UC Santa Cruz to request increased city water service for expanded campus housing.That commissioner got his pink slip last month, but I assumed that today was his last day. Apparently he was dismissed last Friday.
But one vital person wasn't there -- the court reporter, whose recording of the proceedings would be critical to any potential future appeal. The absence caused a week's delay in the matter -- a nanosecond in the world of criminal justice -- but it pointed out a larger problem the court system is facing as it adjusts to a wave of layoffs.
Six reporters were among 20 court employees, including a commissioner, who lost their jobs Friday as part of cuts to shore up an anticipated $2.3 million shortfall. ...
"In the beginning phase, there will be a transition period where we are getting used to not having the luxury of having a recorder in every courtroom for every case," Newman said. "There will be some impact at first, but it will smooth out over time."
Of course it is completely ridiculous to cancel a court hearing because of the lack of a court reporter. The courts are all equipped with microphones and recording equipment. All they have to do is to push a button and get an audio recording. My guess is that the court reporters union would object, but the union should not have the final say.