Search 

Azcourts.gov

Arizona Judicial Branch



FAQ

Register       Login

ATTENTION: This site has been recently moved. If you had an account on our old forum site, you will have to register a new account here in order to be able to post replies.

 

NEW! The Court acted on many pending rule petitions at its August 29, 2017 Rules Agenda.  

Click on the Amendments from Recent Rules Agendas link below to go directly to the amendments and orders for each one.

Message from the Chief Justice

Current Arizona Rules 

Amendments from Recent Rule Agendas

Rule Amendments (2006 to present) 

Advisory Committee on Rules of Evidence


Pending Rules List

         Proposed Local Rules
                 Welcome!
This website allows you to electronically file and monitor court rule petitions and comments and to view existing rules of court, recent amendments of those rules, and pending rule petitions and comments. Any visitor to this site may view posts on this website, but to post a petition or comment you must register and log in. To view instructions on how to register and how to file a petition or comment, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. 
PrevPrev Go to previous topic
NextNext Go to next topic
Last Post 14 Jun 2016 01:10 PM by  Patricia Schuler
R-16-0003 Rule 30, Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona
 9 Replies
Sort:
Topic is locked
Author Messages
Patricia Schuler
New Member
Posts:12 New Member

--
05 Jan 2016 04:18 PM
    R-16-0003

    Petition to Amend Rule 30 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona

    Would clarify that the official record of a court proceeding is the record of a court reporter who is either employed or contracted by the court or the audio recording of the proceeding

    Petitioner:
    Honorable Janet E. Barton
    Presiding Judge
    Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County
    125 W. Washington
    Phoenix, AZ 85003
    (602) 506-5340

    Date of Filing: January 5, 2016

    Comments due on or before May 20, 2016.

    Dismissing this matter as of date of this order - 6/15/2016.
    Attachments
    James Cool
    New Member
    Posts:3 New Member

    --
    16 May 2016 09:47 AM
    James M. Cool
    Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi PC
    2390 E. Camelback Road Suite 400
    Phoenix, AZ 85016-3479
    jc@ashrlaw.com
    Ph: 602-249-8203


    My name is James Cool and I am an attorney in Phoenix. I submit this comment on behalf of my client, the Arizona Court Reporters Association (“ACRA”).MS Word and PDF copies of this comment are attached and include explanatory footnotes that do not translate when pasted into a web form and which are also properly formatted for readability and clarity.

    ACRA is a private professional association representing the court reporting profession in Arizona. For decades, ACRA has worked closely with the bench, bar, and public to improve and guarantee access to the highest quality court reporting services and ensure an accurate, credible and trustworthy record.

    In response to Judge Barton’s proposal to amend Supreme Court Rule 30, ACRA formed a committee to analyze potential benefits and consequences of the proposed changes. The committee closely reviewed Judge Barton’s proposal in addition to all relevant statutes and code provisions. For additional guidance and context, ACRA’s committee also looked to the policies and best practices adopted by other state courts regarding court reporter regulation and management. Last, but significant, the committee reviewed and carefully considered the findings published in 2005 by the Arizona Supreme Court’s Committee on Keeping the Record.

    For a variety of reasons discussed below, ACRA respectfully opposes the proposed amendment to Supreme Court Rule 30. In summary, the proposed amendment would contradict Arizona’s law and public policy by dividing the single profession of certified court reporting into two distinct classes (those employed by the court and those engaged by the parties) without any rational basis because all certified reporters (“CRs”) possess the same certification, base-level competence, and fitness of character, and all are quasi-judicial officers regulated by the Arizona Code of Judicial Administration. See ACJA 7-206, et seq. Equally concerning, the proposed amendment would restrict the absolute statutory right of litigants across Arizona to engage a certified court reporter to create a certified (read: official) record of court proceedings anytime the court is unable to provide a court-employed CR. It would unintentionally convert the electronic record into the “official record” in any instance where the court could not provide a CR, despite a party’s request. As a result, court administration would be tasked with providing a sufficient supply of readily available contracted CRs or risk violating A.R.S. § 38-424.

    Although ACRA acknowledges the proposed amendment is motivated by stated concerns regarding the integrity and security of court records when privately hired CRs report court proceedings, those concerns are better and more easily addressed by implementing requirements for the archival of CRs’ notes with the Clerk of Court or another designated record keeper.

    At the outset, allow me to provide some brief historical and statutory context for this discussion. Unlike Florida, Arizona is among a number of states that officially regulates court reporters. In 1999, the Arizona Legislature passed laws creating the Board of Certified Reporters (“CR Board”), whose stated purpose is to regulate and oversee those who record Arizona court proceedings using voice writing or stenographic means. See A.R.S. § 32-4001 et seq. As one component of its mission, the CR Board sets requirements for certification governing a CR’s professional competency, ethics / fitness of character, and their continuing education. See A.R.S. § 32-4005. These requirements are codified in great detail at Section 7-206 of the Arizona Code of Judicial Administration, which provisions are enforced by the CR Board. The legislature also enacted A.R.S. § 32-4004, which provides that only a certified reporter may lawfully report Arizona court proceedings or depositions. The statute further prohibits any uncertified person from holding themselves out as a court reporter, regardless of their stenographic prowess.

    The current version of Supreme Court Rule 30 was written by members of the Arizona Supreme Court’s Committee on Keeping the Record (“KTR”), which provided a draft of the rule along with its final report in December 2005. Following a multi-year examination of the topic, the KTR Committee confirmed that Arizona law grants litigants an absolute right to engage a CR to record court proceedings: “This state or any agency of this state, including the judiciary, and each political subdivision of this state, including any courts of law, may for any purpose use tape recorders or other recording devices in lieu of reporters or stenographers. This section does not apply if the matter to be recorded arises out of court proceedings and either party requests that a court reporter or stenographer be used.” A.R.S. § 38-424 (emphasis supplied). Indeed, the statutory right of litigants to insist upon a certified court reporter in lieu of electronic recording has been affirmed in an en banc decision of the Arizona Supreme Court. See Matter of Maricopa County Juvenile Action No. JV-109482, 156 Ariz. 439, 752 P.2d 1025 (1988) (en banc). In that case, our Supreme Court Justices all agreed that “tape recorders or other recording devices in lieu of reporters may not be used for court proceedings where either party requests that a court reporter be used.” 156 Ariz. at 440.

    Particularly relevant to the current discussion, the KTR Committee also examined issues arising from the storage and maintenance of a CR’s notes. At that time, the Committee observed that most CRs were utilizing laptop computers and advanced technology to create electronic notes of the proceedings in real time. Based on these observations, the KTR Committee drafted rules governing the format and production of CR transcripts and requiring uncertified transcriptionists to have a formal contractual relationship with the State in order to lawfully certify transcripts of court proceedings. In contrast to uncertified “transcribers,” the KTR Committee clarified that certified reporters need no formal contractual relationship with the State in order to certify transcripts: “Arizona certified reporters by virtue of their State certification are not subject to inclusion on a vendor list and may transcribe [court proceedings] at any time.” (Emphasis supplied).

    Last, but significant, the KTR Committee also considered when electronic recording and not a certified reporter would constitute the Court’s “official record” when drafting the current version of Rule 30: “The rule also preserves the statutory requirement that judges honor a party’s request for a reporter for any type of hearing…Additionally, the rule specifies that when both a reporter and a recording system are in use, the reporter’s notes are deemed the ‘official’ record.” The Supreme Court’s committee did not reach these conclusions lightly; in fact, they were the product of significant debate and a thorough analysis, but were ultimately adopted in service of sound public policy and the requirements of Arizona law: “The Committee struggled with striking a balance between local practices that appear to work well and the need to preserve the statutory right of practitioners to choose the manner in which the verbatim record of a proceeding would be made.” (Emphasis supplied).

    Turning specifically to the proposed amendment, there is an apparent disconnect between the change proposed and the rationale offered to support it. Simply put, if the chief concern is that using CRs hired by the parties to report court proceedings will deny courts control over the CR’s notes (i.e. the record), a variety of minor reforms could achieve the same result without undermining the role of CRs as the “gold standard” for keeping the record. The proposed new language would unintentionally convert the electronic record into the “official record” in any instance where the court could not provide a CR, despite a party’s request. As a result, court administration would be tasked with providing a sufficient supply of readily available contracted CRs or risk violating A.R.S. § 38-424. Put somewhat differently, the proposed change would cause more problems for the courts than it would solve.

    So, what would be a better solution?

    First, and most important, there is no practical or legal reason our Courts cannot impose the same record-keeping and archival requirements on all CRs reporting courtroom proceedings—regardless of who employs them. All CRs are overseen by the same regulatory authority, are subject to the same requirements of skill, fitness, and conduct, and are governed by the Court’s code of judicial administration. Whether by a court’s order or an amendment to the ACJA, CRs engaged by the parties to report courtroom events could easily be required to archive their electronic notes and transcript file in the same manner as CRs employed or contracted by the court. So, a simple modification to the rules pertaining to record-keeping and storage is all that is needed. Moreover, this simple solution would alleviate the problem identified without resulting in unnecessary complications or statutory conflict.

    This simple amendment to the archival and storage requirements for CR notes is a superior solution because the alternative currently proposed would undermine the expressed intentions of the blue-ribbon committee that drafted Supreme Court Rule 30. The pending proposal contends that a 2006 comment to Rule 30 “implies that a court reporter hired by a party would be an unofficial record.” Not so. The 2006 comment cited by the proposal is a commentary on subsection (a) of Rule 30, which defines and sets minimum standards for certified transcripts of court proceedings, specifically that the transcript must be certified by an “authorized transcriber” (i.e. a CR or a transcriptionist contracted or employed by an Arizona court). The comment merely clarifies the requirement that an “authorized transcriber” prepare “official” transcripts, but does not prohibit the parties from engaging a “transcriber” (i.e. an uncertified typist) to prepare unofficial transcripts for unofficial use. The 2006 comment does not apply to CRs for at least three reasons.

    First, CRs are by definition not “transcribers.” CRs are heavily regulated and must meet ethical and competency standards. Transcribers are unregulated and need not meet any objective standard of professional competency. Second, according to the KTR Committee, the Rule was specifically drafted to ensure that a CR’s notes are the “official record,” even when the proceedings are simultaneously recorded by electronic means. Third, the 2006 comment explicitly refers only to section (a) of Rule 30, but Judge Barton’s proposal cites the comment as support for modifications to the different provisions of subsection (b)(4). Thus, it is apparent that neither the drafters of Rule 30, nor its subsequent commentators, intended for a CR’s record of court proceedings to be “unofficial.” So, no amendment to Rule 30 should result in a CR’s record being deemed “unofficial,” even if the CR was engaged by the parties and not the Court itself.

    For at least these reasons, the proposed amendment to Rule 30(b)(4) should be rejected. In the event the Judiciary believes any rule change is necessary, ACRA submits the Courts need only amend the record-keeping and archival requirements binding on courthouse CRs to also apply to CRs engaged by the parties. This would solve for the theoretical problem identified by Judge Barton’s proposal without also undermining the laws and regulatory scheme established to oversee the profession of court reporting.

    ACRA, its legal counsel, and leadership are eager to assist the Judiciary in crafting any necessary reforms related to keeping the record. If ACRA, its members, or attorney can be of help to the Courts in this process, please contact James Cool (ACRA Legal Counsel) at jc@ashrlaw.com and (602) 248-8203 or Mike Bouley (ACRA President) at istenoit@yahoo.com and (520) 664-6360.


    Attachments
    Joel Robbins
    New Member
    Posts:2 New Member

    --
    16 May 2016 09:27 PM
    Joel Robbins
    301 E. Bethany Home Rd., Ste. B100
    Phoenix, AZ 85012-1259
    Ph: 602-285-0100
    joel@robbinsandcurtin.com



    A court record can make the difference between justice being delayed pending an appeal or denied because of a missing record. Unless the audio is collected and checked by a human in real time, there is the chance that a court record can be lost. A live court reporter is there to monitor the record to assure that errors are recorded for later review by the appellate courts. These errors must be recorded to deliver justice. The courts should always be subject to review which should be assured through the use of live court reporters.
    Marla Arnold
    New Member
    Posts:1 New Member

    --
    18 May 2016 03:44 PM

    Marla F. Arnold, CR, RPR
    Certified Official Reporter - Registered Professional Reporter
    Technical Lead - Court Reporting Department
    Superior Court of Arizona - Maricopa County
    175 W. Madison St., Suite 12300 S
    Phoenix, AZ 85003
    Ph: 602-506-3696

    As Maricopa County Officials – those employed by the Court – we believe that should a party wish to have a court reporter present at any court proceeding, and only in the unexpected or unforeseen circumstance the Court’s manpower cannot accommodate it, a party should be able to obtain the services of any certified court reporter here in the State of Arizona to be the official record for any court proceeding and all certified court reporters must comply with record-keeping and archival requirements.

    Jovanna Roman, Marla Arnold, Terry Masciola and Vanessa Gartner,
    Official Court Reporters, RPRs & Technical Leads, Maricopa County Superior Court
    James Cool
    New Member
    Posts:3 New Member

    --
    19 May 2016 06:10 PM

    James M. Cool
    Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi PC
    2390 E. Camelback Rd Ste 400
    Phoenix, AZ 85016-3479
    Ph: 602-248-8203
    jc@ashrlaw.com



    As legal counsel to the Arizona Court Reporters Association, a number of legal industry professionals have contacted me in support of ACRA's position opposing the amendment. Each person and firm listed below has indicated they wish to join in ACRA's comment and opposition to the proposed amendment:

    Robert R. Beltz
    Neil Alden
    Veronica Manolio
    Merrick B. Firestone
    John C. Shorb
    Christine Burns

    Manolio & Firestone
    BurnsBarton
    Honor Law Group, PLLC
    James Cool
    New Member
    Posts:3 New Member

    --
    20 May 2016 05:12 PM
    James Cool
    Honor Law Group, PLLC
    Cool@aztrialattorneys.com
    (520) 909-8753

    My name is James Cool. I am legal counsel for ACRA. Due to technical difficulties, many individuals have contacted me and advised they are unable to post their comments to this page because their account registration has not been approved, despite waiting several hours. As a work-around, I post their comments or names in opposition to the proposed amendment below:

    "The Arizona Association of Justice/ AzTLA, agrees with the position paper submitted by
    ACRA, and opposes the proposed amendment to Rule 30."

    -Ty Taber, AzTLA President.

    "The Arizona Association of Defense (“AADC”) opposes the proposed change to Rule 30 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona.

    The AADC is a non-profit, statewide organization composed of attorneys and law firms that practice primarily in the area of civil defense litigation. The AADC believes that litigants and the courts will be better served when they can ensure that a certified court reporter will be available to produce a written transcript of a proceeding that can serve as the official record. That certainty protects the integrity of the record, which can, at times, be compromised when only an audio recording is available. Litigants and the court also face the prospect (and expense) of two transcripts being prepared: the first deemed “unofficial” despite a certified court reporter having prepared it contemporaneous with proceeding and a second deemed “official” prepared at a later time. This concern is particularly acute when litigants effectively require real-time transcripts for use in expedited proceedings. In such circumstances, litigants might, by necessity, rely upon transcriptions that are deemed unofficial. Likewise, the court might face the dilemma considering arguments that rely upon these unofficial transcripts.

    The AADC also has considered the objections articulated by James M. Cool on behalf of the Arizona Court Reporters Association and join in Mr. Cool’s comments.”

    -Alison Christian, AADC Board of Directors

    "Dear Judge Barton and Interested Parties:

    On behalf of the National Court Reporters Association and the 16,000 stenographic court reporters and captioners who comprise our membership, I am writing today to echo the submission by the Arizona Court Reporters Association opposing the proposed petition to amend Rule 30 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona. While NCRA certainly respects the intentions behind this proposal, we believe that it is unnecessary and has the potential to harm the overall integrity and security of the official court record.

    In Arizona, all court reporters must be certified. It does not matter whether they work as an official court reporter in the courts or a private sector freelance court reporter taking depositions or other legal proceedings. Certified court reporters must pass a skills exam proving that they can write legal proceedings at speeds up to 225 words per minute at 95 percent accuracy. Additionally, they must pass a written state examination on technology, court reporting practices, professional ethical obligations, state laws, and procedures. It is stressed in court reporter education and in certification examinations that the role of the court reporter is sacrosanct and protecting legal proceedings is absolutely critical.

    Because of this, overtly differentiating between freelance and official court reporters in a court setting is an unnecessary regulation. If anything, the court will see an increase in reliance on digital audio recording instead using a live court reporter. If the audio becomes the official court record, parties will lose the incentive to bring in their own court reporter, despite the obvious accuracy and timeliness reasons that they may have for doing so. Oftentimes, litigants shy away from digital audio recording because the quality is subpar and it is expensive and time-consuming to create a written transcript from the recordings. In fact, there are dozens of instances around the country where digital audio recordings have been misplaced or lost, have not recorded the proceeding at all, or have had corrupted data. Moving Arizona away from the national standard of having the court reporter’s transcript being the official court record regardless of whether they are employed by the state or not has the potential to seriously impact the quality and integrity of the official court record.

    A stronger solution, as proposed by the Arizona Court Reporters Association, would be to implement regulations regarding the archiving and control of the record when the court reporter who is used is not employed by the court. Simple rules that would place the Clerk of Court or another designated court employee in charge of the retention of records solve any concerns that the court would have while not creating an arbitrary distinction between those certified court reporters who are full-time employees of the court and those who are not.

    Once again, NCRA certainly understands the court’s concerns regarding the control of records by individuals who are not full-time court employees. However, as stated above, the proposed amendment to Rule 30 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona will only serve to cause confusion over the official court record and cause litigants to rely on digital audio recording even if they would rather use a certified court reporter. If you have any questions on NCRA’s submission or would like additional input from NCRA on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at president@ncra.org, or contact NCRA’s Director of Government Relations Adam Finkel at 703-584-9059."

    -Stephen A. Zinone, RPR
    2015-2016 President
    National Court Reporters Association

    Lending their names in opposition to the proposed amendment:

    Kelli Dunlap
    Paul McGoldrick
    Troy Langan
    Linda Koschney
    New Member
    Posts:43 New Member

    --
    31 May 2016 02:34 PM

    Arizona-certified court reporters either employed or contracted by the Court operate under policies and procedures set forth by the Court Reporting Department. Assisting the Court in maintaining control over the official record is "job one" for the CR department. The policies and procedures in place allow for timely archival of reporter notes and prompt retrieval and delivery of ordered transcripts.

    Non-contracted court reporters summoned by attorneys outside of the CR department to make an official record are not subject to these policies and procedures. Although all Arizona-certified court reporters by statute must have an appropriate archival procedure in place for any legal proceedings they take, these procedures in no way enable the Court timely access to these notes for transcript production.

    The Court looks to the court reporting department for production of transcripts. Without oversight of court reporter staffing in the courtroom, the CR department is unable to support the Court in maintaining the official record.

    The proposed amendment to Rule 30 is the most effective way to regulate court reporter staffing requirements in the courtroom which, in turn, supports the Court's desire to maintain control over the official record.

    Brigid M. Donovan, RPR
    Official Court Reporter
    Maricopa County Superior Court
    175 West Madison 12th Floor
    Phoenix, AZ 85003
    AZ CR No. 50902
    602.506.0257
    donovanb@superiorcourt.maricopa.gov
    Linda Koschney
    New Member
    Posts:43 New Member

    --
    31 May 2016 02:40 PM
    J. Tyrrell Taber
    Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi PC
    2390 E. Camelback Rd Ste 400
    Phoenix, AZ 85016-3479
    Ph: 602-248-8840
    jtt@ashrlaw.com

    The Arizona Association for Justice / AzTLA agrees with the position submitted by ACRA and opposes the proposed amendment to Rule 30)b)(4). I would be happy to discuss our concerns if you wish to call me 602 776-3169. J. Tyrrell Taber President of AZ AJ/AzTLA.
    Linda Koschney
    New Member
    Posts:43 New Member

    --
    31 May 2016 02:47 PM

    Richard W. Plattner
    316 E. Flower St.
    P.O. Box 36570
    Phoenix, AZ 85067-6570
    602-266-2002
    rplattner@plattner-verderame.com

    I agree with the proposal sumitted by ACRA. Requiring live court reporters who take testimony in court to submit to the rules and procedures of the court satisfies the court's concern to have access to and control of the official record, and is a better solution than preventing a quality human made transcript from being the official record even in the face of a missing or incomplete electronic record.
    Patricia Schuler
    New Member
    Posts:12 New Member

    --
    14 Jun 2016 01:10 PM
    Honorable Janet E. Barton
    Presiding Judge
    Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County
    125 W. Washington
    Phoenix, AZ 85003
    (602) 506-5340

    Motion to Withdraw Rule Petition R-16-0003
    Attachments
    Topic is locked