Court Reporters: General Order No. 16

16.01 Court Reporting Services


16.01 Court Reporting Services

A. Employees

1. The number of Court Reporting Services (CRS) employees designated to serve the 17th Judicial Circuit Court shall be determined by the Executive Committee of Chief Judges for Court Reporting Services in the State of Illinois with the aid of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.

2. All CRS employees are under the authority of the Chief Judge and the CRS Supervisor designated by the Chief Judge, and serve at the pleasure of the Chief Judge.

3. The Chief Judge or the CRS Supervisor designated by the Chief Judge shall appoint employees to position vacancies and assign all such employees their duties and assignments consistent with the Illinois Certified Shorthand Reporters Act of 1984 (225 ILCS 415), the Court Reporters Act (705 ILCS 70), Supreme Court Rule 46, the Administrative Regulations for CRS in the Illinois Courts, and general administrative powers.

B. Official Court Record

1. Except as set forth in Sections 2 and 3 below, the official court record will be taken by CRS employees, either through an Official Court Reporter (OCR) or through Digital Control Room (DCR) staff. CRS employees shall, in normal course of their duties and assignments, make a record of all court proceedings and preserve such records so that a transcript may reasonably be produced for any court proceeding.

2. With advance written approval from the judge presiding in a case, parties may employ a private court reporter to take the official court record, subject to the following conditions:

a. The private court reporter shall be obligated to take the official court record for the entirety of the subject proceeding for purposes of appeal transcripts;

b. When parties engage the services of more than one private court reporters, the Judge shall determine which private court reporter is taking the official court record;

c. On a daily basis, before commencing with the subject proceeding, the party who engaged the private court reporter shall inform the clerk of the reporter's name, address, court reporting firm and State of Illinois license number;

d. The court reporter station in the courtroom shall be used by the private court reporter;

e. Any disagreement among the parties concerning qualifications of or which private court reporter shall be used for taking the official record shall be presented to the Court for ruling as in all other motions; and

f. Such other terms and conditions as the Court deems appropriate.

3. In any proceeding where digital recording is provided by CRS, the parties may employ a private court reporter for daily transcripts for any portion of the proceedings separate from the official record, upon approval of the Court, and under the following conditions:

a. Unless as otherwise ordered as set forth in above Section B(2):

1) The product of the private court reporter is not the official record;

2) The product of the private court reporter cannot be used in any court submission or appeal;

3) The product of the private court reporter is purely for the use of the party hiring the reporter;

b.The judge may order that the product of the private court reporter be shared with the other parties to the proceedings; and

c. Such other terms and conditions as the Court deems appropriate.

C. Digital Recording

1. Digital recording systems have been approved for use by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts and installed in this Circuit. Pursuant to Section (A)(3) above, CRS employees shall be assigned as DCR staff and trained to operate the digital recording systems.

2. The production of the physical medium storing the digital recording of any court proceedings shall be monitored by trained DCR staff who shall certify that each retained digital recording was fully and accurately recorded at the time and place indicated. Said certification shall be affixed to and accompany the digital recording medium, and the medium shall be securely preserved in an unaltered and unalterable condition.

3. Digital recordings of testimony are created for only one purpose. That purpose is to preserve the words spoken in formal courtroom proceedings, hearings and trials in a particular case, so that a written transcript of the official court record may be subsequently produced. The digital recordings are owned by the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit, and may only be used pursuant to this Order.

4. Any spoken words in the courtroom that are not a part of a proceeding, hearing or trial of a specific case are not intended recordings; other than by authorized operators of the digital recording system to orient themselves on recording content, they may not be listened to or used in any way.

5. Playback of any portion of the digital recording of a proceeding, hearing or trial of a specific case is authorized in only four situations:

a. During the proceeding, hearing or trial at the direction of the Judge, if such playback in the courtroom is available;

b. By a CRS employee for the purpose of creating a transcript as the official record;

c. By a judge in relation to a case assigned to that judge for the court’s purposes or as directed by the Chief Judge;

d. Pursuant to the procedure outlined in (E)(2) below.

6. In all other instances, the contents of the digital recording medium shall be disseminated by written transcript only, which transcript and not the medium, shall be the official court record. Only the Chief Judge may authorize exceptions to these rules upon good cause shown.

D. Transcripts Requests and Costs

1. A request for a transcript, from either an OCR or the DCR staff, is obtained by completing a Transcript Request Form available from the Trial Court Administration Office, the Circuit Clerk Offices, and the Circuit Court Website – http://17thcircuit.illinoiscourts.gov.

2. First transcripts offered shall be charged at the original page rate. A second copy or a copy ordered by a different party shall be charged at the copy page rate or original page rate as provided by the Administrative Regulations. Copies of transcripts shall be ordered directly from the OCR or DCR staff of record. Other than meeting the obligations of providing required documents to the defense in a criminal case, the Court discourages sharing of copies (i.e., the CRS employees work product) between parties.

3. CRS employees may charge a premium for expedited production of transcripts as permitted by the Uniform Schedule of Charges for Official Transcripts. Expedited rates may be charged to county offices. Expedited rates shall not apply to any transcripts paid for by the State of Illinois. Calendar days, excluding holidays, will be used to determine expedited timeframe periods.   Expedited rates will only apply if the expedited due date is seven days or less from the transcript request date, and the transcript is delivered within the expedited time period.

E. Transcript Certification and Accuracy

1. Transcripts shall be prepared and certified in accordance with applicable statutory authority, rules and administrative regulations.

2. If the accuracy of a certified transcript generated from the digital recording system is questioned, then the following procedure shall be used:

a. Every challenged portion of the transcript shall be identified in writing and provided to the CRS Supervisor. A copy of the challenged portion of the transcript shall be given to the certifying CRS employee to make the necessary corrections.

b. If the certifying CRS employee and the person challenging the transcript's accuracy cannot agree upon the challenged portions, those portions shall be identified in writing and provided to the CRS Supervisor.

c. The CRS Supervisor shall cause identified portions to be reviewed against the archived digital recording for accuracy and designate necessary corrections to be made by the certifying CRS employee.

d. If the certifying CRS employee, in good faith, is unable to certify the corrections designated, the dispute will be placed before the judge that heard the transcribed proceeding with notice to all necessary parties.

e. The certifying CRS employee shall personally appear and present the questioned transcript. The CRS Supervisor shall present the disputed corrections, along with a digital recording of the proceedings. The judge shall review the material presented, make any necessary changes to the subject transcript and issue a court order certifying the transcript as accurate.

3. Transcripts generated from stenographic notes are not subject to subparagraph (E)(2) above. 

Amended 12/28/2021

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