Without exception a court reporter is present for all of our felony pleas. Conversely, a court reporter is never present for our misdemeanor pleas. I want to change that. Frankly, I'd like every word that is openly uttered in this particular court to be recorded.
I'm familiar with the court reporter's obligations under TRAP 13.1 and Govt. Code 52.046. Before I force the issue with the court, however, I'm curious to know how common it is around the state to record misdemeanor pleas or proceedings other than trials or probation revocation hearings.
Both counties I've worked in have used court recording systems, rather than court reporters for their misdemeanor pleas. One judge had it going basically non-stop. The other judge only turns it on for trials and suppression hearings. There are some definite downsides to a recording system as opposed to a reporter, but your commissioners might like that option better, if it works for you.
Think of it as belt and suspenders. If your plea papers are screwed up, the record might help you defend the case. If your record is screwed up, the plea papers might help you defend the case. That said, I think in many counties misdemeanor pleas are off the record, and I know a number of counties do their felonies off the record.
Recording systems have just as many flaws as court reporters, but lack key benefits. If my backup was a recorder rather than a reporter, I would try harder to have really good, clear, plea papers.
Posts: 2129 | Location: McKinney, Texas, USA | Registered: February 15, 2001
We only have jury trials and suppression hearings on the record. Cost is the issue for my Constitutional County Court. Have used a recording system on a limited basis for contested revocation hearings.
everything is on the record in the hood county ccl. i can't imagine not having it that way. in the time i've been here, i have had the record pulled a handful of times from pleas and protective order hearings... it sure is handy when you need it.
Posts: 79 | Location: Hood County | Registered: December 18, 2008