California Official Court Reporters Association

Whether you are a court reporter interested in COCRA membership, news, student recruitment, or you're interested in learning more about exciting career opportunities, we hope you find the resources you're looking for. Happy navigating!

COCRA’s 2016 Spring Seminar

Posted on March 14, 2016 by admin

Click here to register now!

Earn .6 CEUs as you spend the day brushing up your CAT software skills with Case CATalyst Trainer Sharon Vartanian
and Eclipse Trainer Teresa Maciel.

Click here to download PDF brochure

Posted in 2016 Spring Seminar | Comments Off

Official Reporters Sought for Orange County Superior Court

Posted on April 9, 2016 by admin

The Superior Court of California, County of Orange is now accepting applications for:

OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER
ANNUAL SALARY*
$78,696 – $83,083
**UPDATED TO REFLECT NEW SALARY
**(New Salary Beginning July 2016: $81,845 – 86,414)

Benefit Highlights:
Choice of four medical plans
Vacation and sick leave packages
13 paid holidays per year
Defined-benefit retirement/pension plan
Tuition reimbursement
Optional deferred compensation program (457 plan)

*Additional Premium Pay (2.75% Realtime certification; 5.5% Realtime qualification) may be available when designated requirements are met.

*Hourly Rate Minimum $43.24 to Maximum Hourly Rate $45.65
**New July 2016 Hourly Rate Minimum $44.97 to Maximum Hourly Rate $47.48

This recruitment will be open on a continuous basis until sufficient qualified candidates are received to meet business needs.

Click here for more info and application.

Posted in Campaign for Officials, Employment Opportunities | Comments Off

ER Bill Fails to Leave Committee

Posted on March 29, 2016 by admin

COCRA Legislative Advocate Shane Gusman Shares the Good News on Wagner’s Failure to Get ER Bill Through Committee

Today the Assembly Judiciary Committee held a hearing on AB 1834 (Wagner) which would authorize trial courts to utilize electronic recording in family law matters. The three main proponents were the California Conference of State Bar Associations, the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, and someone who referred to themselves as an electronic recording reporter (or something along those lines).

The author and his witnesses did not contend that ER is somehow better than having a live reporter. In fact, Assembly Member Wagner called having a reporter in the courtroom “the gold standard” for keeping an official record.

Instead, they argued that limited court resources have led to a diminishing number of official reporters available for family law proceedings despite the importance of having a record of those proceedings. They also argued that the technology has improved and that we shouldn’t let saving a few union jobs get in the way of the interests of family law litigants.

We had our usual coalition of union and reporter representatives opposing the bill on a variety of grounds including reliability, accuracy, cost, ADA access, etc. We also took the opportunity to agree that court reporters are the gold standard.

Picking up on that theme, the chair of the committee, Assembly Member Stone, asked the author if he would agree to amend his bill to instead mandate that an official court reporter be available for all family law matters in all 58 counties. The chair hinted that if Mr. Wagner chose to take his bill to a vote without that amendment, that it would fail to get sufficient votes to stay alive.

After much back and forth, the author chose not to take the chair’s suggested amendment and also chose to hold the bill in committee without a vote. This is a big victory for reporters as the momentum to do something in family law has been building for some time.

Chairman Stone was instrumental in defeating this bill and vowed to continue the fight to get reporters back into family courts. He promised to work with the Budget Committee and the Speaker of the Assembly in an effort to achieve this goal.

Shane Gusman
COCRA Legislative Advocate
Broad & Gusman

Posted in Campaign for Officials, Court Budgets, Court Reporter News, Electronic Recording, Legislation | Comments Off

Official Reporter Positions Open for San Mateo Superior Court

Posted on March 16, 2016 by admin

COURT REPORTER
Superior Court of California
County of San Mateo
Job Title: Court Reporter (Open)
Continuous Recruitment
Salary: $39.30 – $48.98 Hourly
$3,144.00 – $3,918.40 Biweekly
$6,812.00 – $8,489.87 Monthly
$81,744.00 – $101,878.40 Annually

Click here for more info.

Note: This recruitment schedule was amended on February 23, 2016, to update the salary range and extend the Final Filing Date. This recruitment has been changed to “Continuous.”

The Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo, is seeking qualified Court Reporters.

Continue reading →

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Bill Introduced to Allow ER in Family Law

Posted on February 22, 2016 by admin

Assembly Member Donald Wagner (R Irvine) has taken the lead to introduce a bill that would allow the replacing of official reporters with ER in Family Law.

You may read the language of the entire bill by clicking the link below.

Please support our efforts to defeat this bill by renewing your COCRA Membership today or by making a donation to our legislative fund..

An act to amend Section 69957 of the Government Code, relating to courts.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1834, as introduced, Wagner. Electronic court reporting.

Existing law authorizes a superior court to appoint official reporters and official reporters pro tempore as are deemed necessary for the performance of the duties of the court and its members. Existing law also authorizes a court to use electronic recording equipment to record an action or proceeding in a limited civil case, or a misdemeanor or infraction case, if an official reporter or an official reporter pro tempore is unavailable.

This bill would additionally allow a court to use electronic recording equipment in a family law case if an official reporter or an official reporter pro tempore is unavailable.

Read the entire bill by clicking here.

Posted in Campaign for Officials, Court Budgets, Electronic Recording | Comments Off

COCRA Files Opposition to ER in Family Law

Posted on February 4, 2016 by admin

The following letter voicing COCRA’s opposition to ER in Family Law has been filed with the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System.

This letter affirms COCRA’s belief that ER has no place in Family Law proceedings and that its implementation in those courts may have severe negative economic effects on litigants in Family Law matters.

February 2, 2016

Honorable Carol A. Corrigan
Commission on the Future of California’s Court System
455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

Dear Justice Corrigan:

The members of California Official Court Reporters’ Association, (COCRA), are in opposition to Concept 5’s proposal to allow for expanded use of electronic recording in our court system. We strongly urge the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System to remove that particular recommendation from their report.

We have attached COCRA’s most recent Preserving Access to Justice Task Force Report. As you can see from the report there are numerous cases cited of digital recording malfunctions across the nation.

In addition to malfunctions and incomplete transcripts, electronic recording is not a cost savings. The technology is expensive to purchase, to maintain and to operate. The transcripts that are produced often have “inaudible” portions throughout. The cost of the transcripts created from electronic recordings are more expensive that the ones produced by the official reporters. The transcriptionist needs to listen to the tape numerous times to decipher what is being said, thus taking more time to create a transcript and driving up the cost.

With an official reporter, if the reporter doesn’t hear what is said, the reporter can ask the speaker to repeat.

Having electronic recording in Family Law denies equal access to the litigants. Appealing a decision with an electronic recording that has been transcribed makes for an incomplete record. Every time an “inaudible” appears in the transcript some of the meaning of the testimony is lost.

Please review the attached PAJTF report. We believe you will agree that having a court reporter in court is the most efficient and cost-effective way to maintain the record.

Sincerely,

Anne M. Hall
President, California Official Court Reporters’ Association

CC:
Honorable Jerry Brown, Governor
Honorable Kevin DeLeon, President Pro Tem of the Senate
Honorable Toni Atkins, Speaker
Honorable Anthony Rendon, Speaker-elect
Honorable Hannah Beth Jackson, Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee
Honorable Mark Stone, Chair, Assembly Judiciary Committee
Honorable Mark Leno, Chair, Senate Budget
Honorable Shirley Weber, Chair, Assembly Budget
Honorable Loni Hancock, Senate Budget Sub #5
Honorable Reggie Jones Sawyer, Assembly Budget Sub #5

Posted in Campaign for Officials, Court Budgets, Court Reporter News, Electronic Recording, Judicial Council, Legislation | Comments Off

ER In Family Law: Alliance of California Judges Opposes

Posted on January 27, 2016 by admin

The following letter was sent out by the Alliance of California Judges voicing opposition to some of the concepts, such as ER in Family Law, put out by the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System.

 

Futures Commission Cloudy: Try Again Later

“Dear California Media (FYI, the following has been sent to our Alliance members),

In advance of a public comment session to be held next month, the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System just released its first batch of ideas. These proposed areas of study, a year and a half in the making, are grouped into 15 “concepts.” You can read them at this link.

We have a bad feeling about this. Many of these concepts—hatched in closed-door meetings with AOC support staff—look like the same tired old proposals that the AOC has been advancing for more than 15 years. The proposals include a “consolidated system” for juvenile courts; “systems to be implemented statewide,” including a “uniform statewide system of child custody mediation”; and a “transferable case management methodology to support all courts throughout the state.

Apparently the Commission sees the big problems confronting the branch as stemming from a lack of uniformity. The bulk of their proposed solutions involve an increase in central control—and in the power of the AOC. The Commission seems to have overlooked the spectacular failure of CCMS or the withering criticisms of our central bureaucracy by the Strategic Evaluation Committee in 2012 and the State Auditor just last year. If recent history teaches us anything, it’s that the AOC has the Midas touch in reverse when it comes to local court administration.[Emphasis added.]

Concept 4 involves “trial court employment and labor relations.” The authors point to the “great variation in trial court terms and conditions of employment” and urge the Commission to rethink “existing labor practices” in order to flatten out “court-to-court variations in employment terms and conditions.”  The Commission will explore “the costs and benefits of different models of bargaining”—specifically including statewide bargaining.

When we recently suggested that the Commission was contemplating an expansion of the AOC’s role in local labor relations, including hiring and firing, our branch leaders went ballistic and quickly denied it. But the fact remains that the AOC can’t engage in statewide bargaining unless it has statewide authority over labor issues. It can’t bargain unless it has control.

Concept 5—a call for “a cost-effective official record in all case types”—also gives us grave concern. We sense it is a drive for more electronic recording in our courtrooms, fewer court reporters, and an attempt to deny reporters compensation for the transcripts they produce. This is dangerous. We firmly believe that a certified shorthand reporter provides the most accurate record for the parties and the strongest bulwark against bogus complaints of judicial misconduct. Anyone who has listened to an electronic recording of a court proceeding knows that it is no substitute for a reporter’s transcript. Moreover, further steps to reduce compensation to reporters will leave California struggling to find certified reporters, already a huge problem in states like Illinois and Pennsylvania, leaving courts with no option but to compromise due process by using unreliable and undecipherable electronic recordings.

There’s more. One statement in support of Concept 6, “Technology-Enhanced Court Proceedings and Online Transactions,” gives us chills: “Courts are unable to share information across jurisdictions and some are even unable to share information within the same jurisdiction, due to incompatible case management systems. . . .”  [Emphasis added.]

In these words, the ghost of CCMS stirs. We are deeply concerned that the Commission will propose a statewide case management system along the lines of the one that cost us half a billion dollars and brought us to the brink of financial ruin. We are dismayed that the Commission contemplates an even greater role for our central administrators in technology management when past experience tells us they should be looking to vacate the field entirely.

The issues the Commission left unaddressed are just as disturbing as the proposals buried in these “concepts.” Nothing suggests that the Commission has considered an audit of the billions in court construction funds, scaling back the AOC’s staffing levels, moving toward a fee-for-service model for the AOC, or democratizing the Judicial Council. To the contrary, this set of “concepts” reads like an AOC wish list. The vast majority would entail an expansion of the AOC’s already excessive reach into local trial court affairs.

In his recent budget proposal, the Governor specifically mentioned that he was hopeful that the Futures Commission would come up with ideas that would “effectively and efficiently enhance access to justice.” With every proposal that expands the reach of the AOC, hope fades. We will do our best to prevent this Commission from “transforming” the judiciary into an inefficient statewide court system with centralized control and reduced flexibility and efficiency. Our trial courts and the public they serve deserve better.”

Directors, Alliance of California Judges
Alliance of California Judges
1817 Capitol Ave., Sacramento, CA 95811

Posted in AOC, Campaign for Officials, Court Budgets, Electronic Recording, Judicial Council, Legislation | Comments Off

San Diego Court Reporters Assn to Offer Software Training Program

Posted on January 13, 2016 by admin

The San Diego Court Reporters Association is hosting a software training program Saturday, March 19th, 2016 in San Diego.

Below is information about the program as well as links for registration.

Saturday, March 19, 2016
Westin Hotel
400 West Broadway
San Diego, California

9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (.6 CEUs)

$175 NonMember Registration Fee
*$150 SDSCRA Member Registration Fee

Check-in and breakfast beginning at 8:00 a.m.

San Diego Court Reporters Association welcomes all officials, CART, and freelance reporters to a major league triple-header! Trainers from the three major CAT vendors will be here ready to train you on your software. Our theme is “Where Great Minds Unite.” The newest features in technology, the brightest court reporters from all fields, and the most cutting-edge software companies’ trainers will unite here.

Bring your laptops and writers for a 6-HOUR (.6 CEU) mind-blowing day where you can learn, network with reporters, and pick up great tips and information from the software trainers themselves.

Register early. There will be a maximum number of 30 spaces available for each class so the trainers can devote better quality time for all of you. There is no better deal than this for an all-day event.

Raffle prizes! Free parking at the Westin Hotel! Click here for room rate code info. Make sure you pick up your raffle tickets and parking sticker validation when you check in.

We hope you have a great learning experience with us in San Diego!

Posted in Campaign for Officials, Court Reporter News, Seminars and Training | Comments Off

Governor’s 2016 Budget Mentions Electronic Recording In Family Law

Posted on January 7, 2016 by admin

A suggested proposal from a commission to replace court reporters with electronic recording raises concerns about Governor’s proposed budget.

Governor Brown released his proposed budget for 2016 today and what will be of most concern to court reporters is that Governor Brown is proposing an “innovation” of using digital recording machines in place of court reporters in Family Law courts.

We are still in the early stages of the budgetary process, but rest assured your COCRA team will be monitoring the budget process as it progresses.

The following is an early analysis from Michele Castro, Director of Government Relations at SEIU California. SEIU represents the majority of court employees in California including official court reporters.

Earlier today the Governor released his proposed 2016 budget. It’s not as good as previous years in terms of reinvesting in the courts and it does have a few issues that could be particularly concerning to SEIU members.

In his last two budgets, Governor included a 5% increase each year for the courts. This year, he took a different direction. This year, the Governor cites the need to improve the trial courts by doing business differently. He makes reference to the Commission on the Future of the California Court System to recommend efficiencies and innovations.

From early information coming out of the Commission, we know that some of these proposals will not be good for workers, such as moving HR functions from courts and to the AOC and changing court employee status. The upshot is that any of these proposals would have to go through the legislative process where SEIU members have a strong chance of beating back bad ideas coming out the AOC.

Additionally, the Governor proposes to reform the current trial court budget reserve policy, which was recently instituted because courts were hoarding money while laying-off workers. Depending how this reform would occur it could be good for us or it could be bad. We’ll need to watch the details of the proposal closely.

The Governor proposes to increase funding to the trial courts by $95.8 million as follows:

  • $20 million to the courts for discretionary spending.
  • $15.6 million for the employer share of employee pensions and health benefit increases. The Governor also stated that he is committed to continue to cover the costs of employee pensions and health benefits in the future.
  • $8.8 million to cover the loss of funds due to lower fee and fine revenues. Several fees and fines that are currently funding the courts are set to expire; however, the Governor is committed to extending those revenue measures.
  • $21.4 million to cover increased Prop 47 workload demands in the trial courts.
  • $7 million for language access for non-english speakers.
  • $30 million in one-time funds in competitive grants to courts that implement innovations.

The Governor lists possible innovations such as implementing the use of kiosks rather than clerks in traffic proceedings and using electronic recording devices in family law proceedings rather than court reporters.

The Governor does not necessarily say this is what courts should do, only lists them as ideas that very likely came from the AOC.

Posted in Campaign for Officials, Court Budgets, Electronic Recording, Legislation | Comments Off

COCRA’s Newsletter Winter Issue 2015

Posted on December 20, 2015 by admin

COCRA has uploaded its newsletter, “The Official Record”, Winter Issue edition for 2015.

Click here to view our newsletter online or to download in PDF format.

In this issue you’ll find:

Posted in COCRA's The Official Record, Newsletter | Comments Off

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