California Official Court Reporters Association

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COCRA’s Registry of Officials

Posted on October 7, 2011 by admin

As many of you know, there has been a trend in various superior courts throughout the state to remove official court reporters from civil courts.

Aside from the negative effects to the public and the judicial system, this has resulted in the layoff of many officials.

The California Official Court Reporters Assn. would like to help. COCRA is in the process of developing a separate page on our website which will contain a registry of those officials who have been recently laid off. This registry will contain the names and contact info for those officials. It is our intent to begin advertising that page in various legal outlets to promote the experience and expertise that these officials bring to counsels seeking a reporter for a civil proceeding.

If you would like to add your name to our registry, please contact us by clicking here. We will send you a brief form to fill out that will give us information that we need to post to the registry.  It is COCRA’s hope to focus as much attention as we can to all of you who have been or may get laid off.

Please be sure to visit our site often for updates, or to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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A Reference Guide No Court Reporter Should Go Without

Posted on September 11, 2011 by admin

If you’ve been to a COCRA seminar then it’s more than likely you’ve attended a session led by grammarian extraordinaire Margie Wakeman Wells. Her sessions on punctuation for court reporter professionals are incredibly popular and receive some of the best, if not the best, seminar ratings from COCRA attendees.

Margie has created a website for those court reporters who, “care about grammar and punctuation, because you want to learn more, because you love a lively debate about where to put that comma or what that number form should be!”

COCRA highly encourages officials to check out Margie’s reference guide Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation. The book is a blessing for officials who struggle on a daily basis to correctly punctuate “attorney speak.”

The description of the book below is taken from Margie’s own website.

Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation is the story of punctuation. Read in its entirety along with the exercises that parallel it in the Workbook, this is an advanced course in punctuation for the court reporter, the court reporting instructor, the court reporting student, or anyone who wants to truly understand punctuation.

It is the definitive text on the rules for punctuation; a discussion/explanation of the rules; and the thing that sets it apart from other texts on punctuation is that it includes those special things we need to know about applying the rules to the court reporting transcript.

For those interested in purchasing a copy of this great book, please click here.

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COCRA Is Under New Management

Posted on September 1, 2011 by admin

The California Official Court Reporters Association (COCRA) recently went through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to identify a new association management company. After extensive review of the submissions and interviews of the top candidates, COCRA has awarded the contract to Smith Moore & Associates.

Smith Moore & Associates

Smith Moore & Associates is a full-service association management firm located in downtown Sacramento, California, within walking distance of the State Capitol. Since its inception in 2006, Smith Moore & Associates has grown from one client to 15 clients; and from two staff members to 15 employees. The vision of Smith Moore & Associates is simple: to be the premier association management company on the West Coast.

To achieve this vision, Smith Moore & Associates and its principal are dedicated to a singular focus of association management. Smith Moore & Associates focuses on the administration and strategic management of its clients, while working jointly with each client’s legislative advocates and associated counsel.

Smith Moore & Associates provides high-quality management services that are tailored to the specific needs of its clients. This approach ensures that the volunteer leadership can focus on the vision of the organization, while being confident the day-to-day operations are implemented effectively and efficiently.

Melissa Dixon
Account Manager

Melissa Dixon, CAE,is the Director of Operations and an Account Manager at Smith Moore & Associates. Melissa has fourteen years of experience in administrative and management services to trade associations. Melissa also manages California Association of Business Brokers (CABB), the California Association of Code Enforcement Officers (CACEO), the California Official Court Reporters Association (COCRA), the California Society for Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO), the Fire Districts Association of California Employment Benefits Authority (FDAC EBA), the Mosquito Research Foundation (MRF), the Sacramento Valley Association of Building Officials (SVABO), and Springbrook National User Group (SNUG).

Melissa specializes in database management, budget development, meeting/event planning, human resources, and writing and editing publications. She works closely with the boards and committees of her clients in the development of governance documents, bylaws, policies, procedures, and credentialing and accreditation programs.

Melissa graduated from California State University, Sacramento, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English and earned from Walden University her MBA with a concentration in non-profit administration. Melissa received the prestigious Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in 2010.

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COCRA’s Letter of Opposition to AB 110

Posted on September 1, 2011 by admin

The following letter was sent to the office of Governor Brown, stating COCRA’s opposition to AB 110, a bill which affects the filing of felony pleas and sentencings.

Please refer to our earlier writings about this matter posted here and here.

July 26,2011
Honorable Jerry Brown
Governor
State Capitol, First Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 110 (Blumenfeld)-Request for Veto

Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing on behalf of the California Official Court Reporters Association (COCRA) and the Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21, IFPTE, AFL-CIO (PTE), to request that you veto AB 110 (Blumenthal) when it reaches your desk.

(more…)

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Register for CCRR Exam at COCRA’s Fall Seminar

Posted on August 18, 2011 by admin

October 1, 2011 – 12:00 p.m. – COCRA Fall Seminar – San Francisco
San Francisco State University
Union Square Downtown Campus
The Westfield San Francisco Centre
835 Market Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

The California Certificate in Realtime Reporting (CCRR) is a skills test designed to measure the basic realtime writing competency of court reporters. The test is comprised of five minutes of dictation at 180 words per minute at 96% accuracy. Candidates must use their own CAT dictionary. Candidates must perform their own translating functions. Candidates are required to convert their final skills test file to ASCII or PDF format and copy it onto a 3.5″ disk or CD without assistance, and surrender the disk or CD to a CCRR Proctor. Candidates must label their ASCII or PDF disk or CD with their registration number, with a label provided upon check-in; name or any other personal identification is not permitted.

Click here to register.

Click here for more information.

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Passage of Bill Affects Filing of Plea Transcripts

Posted on July 20, 2011 by admin

In May we reported to you that the language in SB428 to change 1203.01 PC, regarding delivery of plea and sentencing transcripts, had been removed and the issue was pretty much dead – at least during this legislative session. Our reporter unions and associations had expressed their opposition which resulted in the 1203.01 amendments being removed from the Court Omnibus bill.

But in a bold and unorthodox move last week, AB110 (Blumenfield), a bill previously relating to the Revenue & Taxation Code, was completely gutted and amended. The “new” AB110 was drafted to contain provisions related to court budgetary items and included the 1203.01 PC amendments. The vote on this bill was expedited as part of the budget trailer package, and it was passed in both houses on Thursday, only days after it was introduced. This bill is now enrolled and awaiting the Governor’s signature before it becomes law.

The new statutory language deletes the requirement to send copies of all felony plea and sentencing transcripts to the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation upon commitment. Instead, only transcripts in cases where the sentence is “death or an indeterminate term with or without the possibility of parole” would be automatically provided. The amended statute includes language that provides for additional transcripts to be provided upon written request.

Although this appears to be a blow to reporter compensation, the amendment does not necessarily change the standing order in individual jurisdictions, but affects only the copies previously sent to state prison.  It is possible this amendment may precipitate changes in your individual court policy.  However, please follow the directions and orders of your court jurisdiction with regard to plea transcription.

You can read the statutory language with amendments below:
(more…)

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Passage of Bill Affects Filing of Plea Transcripts

Posted on July 20, 2011 by admin

In May we reported to you that the language in SB428 to change 1203.01 PC, regarding delivery of plea and sentencing transcripts, had been removed and the issue was pretty much dead – at least during this legislative session. Our reporter unions and associations had expressed their opposition which resulted in the 1203.01 amendments being removed from the Court Omnibus bill.

But in a bold and unorthodox move last week, AB110 (Blumenfield), a bill previously relating to the Revenue & Taxation Code, was completely gutted and amended. The “new” AB110 was drafted to contain provisions related to court budgetary items and included the 1203.01 PC amendments. The vote on this bill was expedited as part of the budget trailer package, and it was passed in both houses on Thursday, only days after it was introduced. This bill is now enrolled and awaiting the Governor’s signature before it becomes law.

The new statutory language deletes the requirement to send copies of all felony plea and sentencing transcripts to the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation upon commitment. Instead, only transcripts in cases where the sentence is “death or an indeterminate term with or without the possibility of parole” would be automatically provided. The amended statute includes language that provides for additional transcripts to be provided upon written request.

Although this appears to be a blow to reporter compensation, the amendment does not necessarily change the standing order in individual jurisdictions, but affects only the copies previously sent to state prison.  It is possible this amendment may precipitate changes in your individual court policy.  However, please follow the directions and orders of your court jurisdiction with regard to plea transcription.

You can read the statutory language with amendments below:
(more…)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Passage of Bill Affects Filing of Plea Transcripts

Posted on July 20, 2011 by admin

In May we reported to you that the language in SB428 to change 1203.01 PC, regarding delivery of plea and sentencing transcripts, had been removed and the issue was pretty much dead – at least during this legislative session. Our reporter unions and associations had expressed their opposition which resulted in the 1203.01 amendments being removed from the Court Omnibus bill.

But in a bold and unorthodox move last week, AB110 (Blumenfield), a bill previously relating to the Revenue & Taxation Code, was completely gutted and amended. The “new” AB110 was drafted to contain provisions related to court budgetary items and included the 1203.01 PC amendments. The vote on this bill was expedited as part of the budget trailer package, and it was passed in both houses on Thursday, only days after it was introduced. This bill is now enrolled and awaiting the Governor’s signature before it becomes law.

The new statutory language deletes the requirement to send copies of all felony plea and sentencing transcripts to the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation upon commitment. Instead, only transcripts in cases where the sentence is “death or an indeterminate term with or without the possibility of parole” would be automatically provided. The amended statute includes language that provides for additional transcripts to be provided upon written request.

Although this appears to be a blow to reporter compensation, the amendment does not necessarily change the standing order in individual jurisdictions, but affects only the copies previously sent to state prison.  It is possible this amendment may precipitate changes in your individual court policy.  However, please follow the directions and orders of your court jurisdiction with regard to plea transcription.

You can read the statutory language with amendments below:
(more…)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Passage of Bill Affects Filing of Plea Transcripts

Posted on July 20, 2011 by admin

In May we reported to you that the language in SB428 to change 1203.01 PC, regarding delivery of plea and sentencing transcripts, had been removed and the issue was pretty much dead – at least during this legislative session. Our reporter unions and associations had expressed their opposition which resulted in the 1203.01 amendments being removed from the Court Omnibus bill.

But in a bold and unorthodox move last week, AB110 (Blumenfield), a bill previously relating to the Revenue & Taxation Code, was completely gutted and amended. The “new” AB110 was drafted to contain provisions related to court budgetary items and included the 1203.01 PC amendments. The vote on this bill was expedited as part of the budget trailer package, and it was passed in both houses on Thursday, only days after it was introduced. This bill is now enrolled and awaiting the Governor’s signature before it becomes law.

The new statutory language deletes the requirement to send copies of all felony plea and sentencing transcripts to the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation upon commitment. Instead, only transcripts in cases where the sentence is “death or an indeterminate term with or without the possibility of parole” would be automatically provided. The amended statute includes language that provides for additional transcripts to be provided upon written request.

Although this appears to be a blow to reporter compensation, the amendment does not necessarily change the standing order in individual jurisdictions, but affects only the copies previously sent to state prison.  It is possible this amendment may precipitate changes in your individual court policy.  However, please follow the directions and orders of your court jurisdiction with regard to plea transcription.

You can read the statutory language with amendments below:
(more…)

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New Bill Seeks to Limit Felony Plea and Sentencing Transcripts to be Filed

Posted on May 11, 2011 by admin

A 30-year-old statute relating to transcripts of pleas and sentencings involving state prison commitments has recently come into question by the Judicial Council after a complaint was made that the courts were not complying with the statute which requires the transmission of such transcripts to the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR). The statute, 1203.01 of the Penal Code, requires the clerk of the court to send the reporter’s transcript of a defendant’s guilty plea and all proceedings occurring at sentencing to the CDCR within 60 days after commitment is made.

In January, the Judicial Council ordered trial courts to comply, which was met with resounding protests by administrators with already stretched budgets faced with a variety of local policies relating to the transcription and transmission of these proceedings, or the outright suspension thereof. Negotiations began with CDCR to dissuade the prison system from requiring official transcripts and crafting statutory language that would delete their mandate.

Thereafter, the Judicial Council introduced new statutory language, which it inserted into the Public Safety Omnibus bill, SB428 (Strickland), changing the requirement to provide state prison plea and sentencing transcripts only in commitments of death, life, or life without possibility of parole cases, and honoring as-needed requests for specific cases.  (Click here for the proposed language, at PDF page 34.) Their assertion, further, is that the statutory changes would not affect practices in individual trial courts and that this is a budget neutral issue.

COCRA reps, along with other stakeholder representatives, have been monitoring these efforts by the Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts and have consulted with them on this subject, along with our lobbyists, Broad & Gusman, and other union representatives from SEIU, AFSCME, and IFPTE.

The reporter’s transcript in state prison commitments:

  • Guarantees the People’s future prosecution of re-offenders, providing proof of constitutional validity of a defendant’s prior conviction and commitment under the statutes related to enhanced sentences for prior convictions and specifically under the Three Strikes Law.
  • Guarantees a defendant’s right that an accurate and verbatim record exists of his criminal commitment, which frequently extends beyond the notes retention requirements, for future verification, examination, and review.
  • Preserves transparency into our court system through an accurate and detailed record occurring at the time of settlement, including the basis for plea bargains, stipulated sentences, and agreements related to sentencing agreements.
  • Provides necessary information to the state prison system with regard to factors relating to details of the offense, propensity for violence, prisoner classification, and victim contact orders and visitation.
  • Guarantees to the victims of crimes that their impact statements made under the Victims’ Bill of Rights will be heard, transmitted, honored, and memorialized for future parole hearings.

The first hearing on SB428 scheduled for Monday, May 9, was canceled at the request of the author; however, it is currently pending in the State Legislature.
Be assured your COCRA representatives continue to meet with Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts representatives to represent and protect the interests of official reporters. We will keep you informed of its development.

In the meantime, let us know what the “policy” is in your court and how your local jurisdiction handles these matters. Please post your comments below.

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