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Last Post 09 Jun 2020 10:14 AM by  Yolanda Fox
R-20-0013 Petition to Amend Various Rules of Procedure Related to Creating the Verbatim Record of Judicial Proceedings
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Marylynn LeMoine
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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22 Apr 2020 04:39 PM
I am in strong opposition to this proposed rule change. It mirrors the language contained in HB2355, which was not passed earlier this year by the legislature. Certified court reporters have been an integral part of the judicial process for decades, and there is no reason to change that procedure now. Having a certified reporter in the courtroom as the guardian of the record has long been the golden standard to ensure that a verbatim transcript will be available should any party desire a transcript. In my capacity as an official court reporter who has worked for Maricopa County Superior Court for 20 years, I know firsthand that there are digital recording failures on a weekly basis and court reporters run to the rescue whenever it is noticed. It is catastrophic for all parties involved when it is only discovered weeks or months after the fact that the digital recording failed and there is no record. I find it disingenuous that this rule change is still being promulgated in spite of the results of the legislative initiative which failed.

Marylynn LeMoine, RPR, RMR, CRI
lemoine222@aol.com
Phoenix, Arizona
Sharon
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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23 Apr 2020 01:20 AM
• I am against any change to the current rules. The Keeping the Record Committee in 2005 did a thorough study with all stakeholders present regarding what court hearings needed a certified court reporter to preserve testimony and what the best practices were. Nothing has changed since 2005 that would warrant changing the policy determinations previously made by the Arizona Supreme Court. People’s lives and liberty are at stake, and relying on electronic recording to create the record would be a major injustice. Please vote against any changes to the current rules.

I have been a court reporter for 44 years and they have been trying to take away the verbatim record for a very long time. I have been involved with depositions, court proceedings and jury trials. I have also transcribed many, many digital recordings from the court(s) and find it very, very difficult even though I am used to the "voices" of all the parties that usually show up to the courtroom, having been the court reporter daily at this particular court for 35 years. They now only use digital recording for hearings, change of pleas, judgment & sentencing and more; and when someone slams a door or coughs or shuffles papers on the Bench/tables, the microphones pick it up. It doesn't matter how many microphones you turn off to try to hear it better, there is NO WAY to hear what was said and it could be a life-or-death situation for a defendant. There was even a situation where the "recording" was not turned on and they had NO record of the proceedings at all. Pretty scary!! A few years ago, I had to prepare a transcript from 1986 (a five-day jury trial) because the defendant was tried in absentia; and when he filed for medicare, he was apprehended and brought back to court to be sentenced; and yes, my old "paper notes" were still intact and readable and my new computer software (brand new in 1986) still worked in the new computer software with the help of our wonderful software vendors and the transcript was used to show what happened at the trial when he was not present. I don't think a recording could have lasted that long! Court reporters have been preserving the verbatim record for many, many years. They are very ethical and trustworthy individuals; and they can speak up and say, "I'm sorry. Can you repeat that" and make the record clear. It's impossible to transcribe when parties/attorneys are speaking over the top of one another! I've tried many, many times when transcribing a digital recording and am forced to put "inaudible" or "unintelligible" -- something I NEVER DO on my transcripts as a court reporter!! Please please vote against any changes to the current rules!
Sharon Bradley, CSR (CA), CR (NV), CSR (UT), CR (AZ), RMR, CRR
sharon@tri-statereporting.com
Lake Havasu City, AZ
Charlene Rossi
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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23 Apr 2020 09:48 AM
I am in opposition of this suggested rule change. I am not a Certified Court Reporter but a concerned Arizona tax paying citizen that is extremely concerned with the “person(s)” that are trying to change Arizona Supreme Court policy and take away our ability to have an accurate transcript, by a Certified Court Reporter, of ANY proceedings that we may find ourselves in.
Frankly, I cannot believe that this has come about yet again. I was in attendance of the hearing before the House Judiciary Committee during the 2020 legislative session when the proponents of HB 2235 tried to pull the wool over the public’s eyes and rush similar policy changes. I was totally amazed at the number of Arizona Certified Court Reporters that came from all over the state to voice their testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, and the number of other stakeholders who voiced their opposition and stated succinct and data-driven information to the legislators. The CCR’s spoke with honesty, intelligence, knowledge and experience regarding their education, skill, integrity, and obligations.
One CCR that spoke had hard numbers with data to back the amount of CCR’s in Arizona along with the accounting of the State’s proceedings that needed CCR’s and their needs were met. There is no shortage of CCR’s in Arizona like you are being led to believe.
Another CCR spoke and played an actual Electronic Recording of a proceeding where attorneys were yelling over each other, a person was coughing, and the litigant had a strong accent and was speaking so fast that it was unintelligible. I was so taken back in the inability to hear and understand what was being said on the recording that a transcriptionist would just transcribe it as “inaudible”. I believe the recording was in a felony criminal trial also where someone was facing a significant amount of jail. If a CCR was doing the transcript you can bet that they would have slowed the litigant down to understand him, they would have stopped the attorneys so an accurate transcription was made and they would have been able to ignore the cough and hear what was being said. The transcript would not have been left to “inaudible”.
I only hope that something like this doesn’t happen to either you, me, or our loved ones. It will if these policy changes are approved! I left the State Capitol that day in total disgust that the Administrative Office of the Courts were trying to push ER through. What an injustice and disservice. What a waste of time. Keep the policies as is.

Charlene Rossi
Citizen
208-221-3774
charlene1457@hotmail.com
Robin Bobbie
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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23 Apr 2020 02:13 PM

I am in OPPOSITION of the proposed rule change.

The reliance of a backup recording system to be the primary form of keeping a record would be a tragic mistake on the part of any court system, but especially a busy one like Maricopa County Superior Court. This change would affect ALL parties to a criminal or civil action. There are failures of the current electronic system on a daily basis, and that is a fact. The people who work in a courtroom on a daily basis would attest to that, whether a clerk, a lawyer, or even a judge.
Missing one minute, or even ten seconds, of a criminal or civil trial, because of the inevitable electronic failure(s), would create an incomplete, inaccurate record, would result in retrials and cost the taxpayers of this County thousands upon thousands of dollars.
We have the gold standard in place with nationally certified and ethically obligated court-certified Court Reporters, who are committed in their profession, who take continuing education yearly, are always advancing their technology, providing realtime transcripts to the judges on the bench, as well as making an accurate record of all proceedings. Why would anyone risk that?

Please vote against any change in the current rule.

Thank you.

Robin G. Bobbie, RMR, CRR, FCRR
Phoenix, Arizona
rgbobbie@gmail.com
Anne
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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23 Apr 2020 04:00 PM
To Whom It May Concern:

I am in opposition of the suggested rule changes. Certified Court Reporters have ethical responsibilities in taking down testimony and in the production of the transcripts. To rely on electronic recording leaves too many opportunities for error.

Further, the Keeping the Record Committee in 2005 did a thorough study with all stakeholders present regarding what court hearings needed a certified court reporter to preserve testimony and what the best practices were. Nothing has changed since 2005 that would warrant changing the policy determinations previously made by the Arizona Supreme Court.

People’s lives and liberty are at stake, and relying on electronic recording to create the record would be a major injustice. Please vote against any changes to the current rules.

Anne Liu
623-225-8332
Litchfield Park, AZ
Angela F. Miller
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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23 Apr 2020 05:11 PM
I am in OPPOSITION to Rule R-20-0013 and STRONGLY urge you to vote against it.

This legislative session the legislature heard and understood that HB2235 was not ready for primetime in its original form. HOWEVER, even though HB2235 failed in the House, it seems the Administrative Office of the Courts wants to circumvent both the will of the legislature and the attitude and viewpoints of the public by putting forth Rule R-20-0013 that directly mimics and contains the same language as HB2235 in its original form.

For the last 20 years I have been a guardian of the record as a certified court reporter, and I – along with all certified reporters – take that responsibility seriously and to heart every single day of our life. We are independent third parties whose obligation and duty is to create and maintain the verbatim record. We take every word that is spoken down verbatim. We stop speakers when they are talking too fast or over each other; you will never see an “inaudible” or “indiscernible” in a court reporter’s transcript of a proceeding. This is because we know and understand that someone’s life and liberty may depend on that transcript. We are certified, educated, highly qualified, and spend hours sometimes researching one word to make sure we get it right and in the right context.

I have been hired by private attorneys over the last few years to transcribe the FTR digital recordings for matters on appeal when they want a certified reporter to transcribe and create the transcript, not a transcriptionist. I have all too often had to call the attorney and tell them that the recording was not shut off during the breaks and their full attorney-client privileged conversation was recorded and now part of the “official” record. I recently had one where the court staff was told by the attorney it was still running and they refused to shut it off and even said, “Yeah, sometimes the attorneys get mad, but I still leave it on.” This is on the record. I have also had to call the attorney and let them know that the recording starts in the middle of a witness, that I am not sure if it is direct examination, cross, or even who is on the stand testifying. I cannot imagine if that were the case in a death penalty case or grand jury matter, which is what they are currently proposing in Rule R-20-0013.

Specifically to Grand Jury proceedings where all matters are confidential, including the grand juror names and witness names, certified reporters are independent and are entrusted and governed by law on how to handle these type of situations, disciplinary proceedings can be taken against our licenses and we are required to obtain continuing education hours in our given field. We are present, we can list who is asking questions, we do not ever put in “Unidentified Speaker”; during juror deliberations when we leave the room, everyone knows what is being said is not being recorded so that deliberations are safe and will never be revealed. None of this is true with digital recordings. Transcriptionists are not governed by a certification body who can hold them accountable, they do not undergo strict background and fingerprint clearance. When these recordings are sent out to be transcribed, there is no control over who is seeing the information, if they are a relative to the party or juror, or if they have a vested interest in the outcome of the case or can “leak” confidential information. There is no safeguard.

There is currently not a court reporter shortage in Arizona as has been suggested. The Request a Reporter program through ACRA has been successfully utilized and has been able to fulfill and cover hearings across the state, including the outlying counties. The reciprocity law is in effect and we have numerous students enrolled in both brick-and-mortar schools and online schools for court reporting.

Please vote against any changes to the current rules.

Angela F. Miller, RPR, CR(AZ50127)
Miller Certified Reporting, LLC
Litchfield Park, AZ
623-975-7472
Angela@MillerCertifiedReporting.com
john5
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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23 Apr 2020 07:57 PM
I OPPOSE R-20-0013.

Please vote against any changes to the current rules.

I do not want to rely on a computer/program to hold my future and possible life. I refuse to rely on a hard drive that is made in China to hold the record that has the capability of changing my life forever. I work in the IT industry. Hard drives and hardware in general just do not last. They do not tell you when they stop. If a court reporter dies in a courtroom, we all know it's very obvious. (WHEN) a computer dies in a courtroom, one may not notice until it is too late. The cost of these electronic courtrooms could easily employee someone for many many years. A computer will constantly require capital to stay cutting edge. This is not a one time cost, it continues every few years. What about the security aspect of this equipment?

The currently mandated proceedings are just too important to risk to the inherent inefficiencies of ER because property, freedom, and life all depend on a clear and accurate record.

A court reporter is an integral part of the legal field. There are currently mandated hearings where someone’s life and liberty are at stake. I do not work in the legal field, I never have, but I understand that when I see a court reporter sitting there working and writing on their machine, that they are there to preserve the what was said. I know if people are yelling or talking over one another that the court reporter will ask them to talk one at a time. I know that if someone has a heavy accent and the rest of us cannot understand them but just catch bits and pieces, that that court reporter will be hanging on every word and asking them to repeat it. A machine cannot do that. A machine cannot say: “Hey someone has a cold in here and is coughing so I cannot hear what everyone else is saying.” No one will know that until months and sometimes years down the road when relying on that transcript is the only way anyone will know what happened in the courtroom that day. If you watch any crime drama TV show you will see there is always a court reporter, and sometimes they even say: “Will the court reporter read that back?” And they do. No machine can do that.

This proposal suggests that the amendments are being made to SUPPLEMENT the record. However, the actual reality is that this proposed rule change will remove court reporters from ANY and ALL hearings and utilizing digital recording as the official record regardless if a court reporter is present. It would also allow court administration the discretion of whether or not to place a court reporter in a specific trial or courtroom even if it is requested by one or more parties to the case with advanced notice. That is unacceptable.

The general public, including myself, believe that if they are ever unfortunate enough to have to become involved in the court system, either as a party or a witness, that their rights, liberties, and life would be of the utmost value, placed in the hands of highly-skilled and educated professionals, and protected against any corruption. I feel that these proposed changes undermine and demean that belief.

Again, please vote against any changes to the current rules.

Robert S. Miller
Citizen, Arizona Native
623-547-4747
Phoneguy623@msn.com
Cindy McDevitt
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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24 Apr 2020 12:44 PM
I oppose the suggested rule changes. The proposed changes will be detrimental to many aspects of our court system. Certified Court Reporters are highly trained individuals who are tasked with upholding not only the ethical responsibilities of taking a verbatim record but in producing a written transcript of those proceedings. Electronic recording is a poor substitute for a Certified Court Reporter and leaves too many opportunities for error. Please vote against any changes to the current rules.

Cindy McDevitt
Tucson, AZ
cmcdevitt1234@gmail.com
Michele Kaley
New Member
Posts:2 New Member

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24 Apr 2020 03:19 PM
I am writing in opposition of this amendment. When it comes to the importance of the record, court reporters have an ethical responsibility to ensure not only the accuracy of the record, but also to maintain the professional respect and privacy of those involved. Only a court reporter, in the presence of any involved parties, can stop the proceedings due to any concerns with the record. Any inaudible mumbles, difficult accents, two or more people speaking can result in vital parts of the record that are forever lost. Additionally, the amount of judicial officers who request and rely on our real-time transcription is growing. That real-time is helpful when there is an objection or if the judicial officer is hard of hearing. It can also be saved by the judges to use for future rulings.

I urge you to please consider denying this request. To grant it could result in catastrophic losses to an individual's life, liberty, and financial demise.

Thank you.

Michele Kaley, CCR 50512
Official Court Reporter
geminichele@gmail.com
Kate Roundy
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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24 Apr 2020 09:27 PM

The SKREM Task Force last year was a rushed process and the resulting Final Report, where these suggested rule changes came from, are not in the public interest. The legislative language from the Final Report that was sent to the Legislature this year was dropped. The bill died because of many issues and recognition that this would be a huge disservice to the litigants and to our legal system as a whole.

I am against any change to the current rules. The Keeping the Record Committee in 2005 did a thorough study with all stakeholders present regarding what court hearings needed a certified court reporter to preserve testimony and what the best practices were. Nothing has changed since 2005 that would warrant changing the policy determinations previously made by the Arizona Supreme Court. People’s lives and liberty are at stake, and relying on electronic recording to create the record would be a major injustice.

I urge you to not allow any changes to the current rules as they stand. The legislature recognized the danger to the public. Please do the same and vote against any change to our current rules.


Kate Roundy, AZ Certified Court Reporter
Arizona Court Reporters Association Past President
SKREM Task Force Member
17208 North 17th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85022
602-820-5983
k.roundy@cox.net
Teri Veres
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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26 Apr 2020 03:10 PM
I am strongly OPPOSED to this pending amendment. We as highly skilled court reporters have to constantly battle to keep our jobs and the major value we bring to the courtroom proceedings. Live court reporters care about the record, ER does not!!! I have worked in court settings where they
got rid of reporters and tried to rely on recorded proceedings and transcripts transcribed by non-certified, non-trained transcriptionists and the record has been usuable and so many instances of ER failure to mention.

This amendment failed once already this year. Let us do our jobs and stop trying to disrupt the justice system. Peoples' lives are affected by the written record and it needs to be accurate! If you could take the time to understand how hard and challenging our job is, you may understand how we are an integral part of the justice system.


PLEASE DO NOT PASS THIS PROPOSED PETITION...

Thank you,
Teri Veres, RMR,
Maricopa County
Superior Court Official
teri.veres6@gmail.com
Jessica W
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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26 Apr 2020 04:44 PM
Please vote against any changes to the current rules. I am in STRONG opposition to R-20-0013.

I am in opposition of the suggested rule changes. Certified Court Reporters have ethical responsibilities in taking down testimony and in the production of the transcripts. These areas are instances where people's lives and liberty are at stake.
I know I would want a certified court reporter to transcribe and record my case, if I had one, rather than an electronic recording. I would never feel comfortable with electronic recording as the primary/official record if I were involved in any type of case. To rely on electronic recording leaves too many opportunities for error. Please vote against any changes to the current rules.

Please vote AGAINST R-20-0013.

Jessica Wasdyke, RPR, CR
Arizona Citizen
jlaurenwb@gmail.com
480-261-4974
Debra Carney
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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26 Apr 2020 06:09 PM
I am in opposition of the suggested rule changes. Certified Court Reporters have ethical responsibilities in taking down testimony and in the production of the transcripts. These areas are instances where people's lives and liberty are at stake. To rely on electronic recording leaves too many opportunities for error.

Please vote against any changes to the current rules.

Debra Carney, RPR, CCR
Courtreportertn@yahoo.com
Phoenix, AZ
Diane D
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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27 Apr 2020 09:43 AM
I am in strong opposition to this proposed rule change. It mirrors the language contained in HB2355, which was voted down earlier this year by the legislature. Certified court reporters have been an integral part of the judicial process for decades, and there is no reason to change that procedure now. Having a certified reporter in the courtroom as the guardian of the record has long been the golden standard to ensure that a verbatim transcript will be available should any party desire a transcript. I know firsthand that there are digital recording failures on a weekly basis and court reporters run to the rescue whenever it is noticed. It is catastrophic for all parties involved when it is only discovered weeks or months after the fact that the digital recording failed and there is no record.

Last March 7, 2019, I was called to cover RCC court, with over 80 proceedings scheduled, as the FTR was not working. When I arrived, Judge Seyer was informed that the FTR was now operational and I was no longer needed but that he was very grateful I was able to be there so quickly. I told him that, since I was here and there was an area for me to set up, I would stay in case I was needed as this has happened previously in other courtrooms and I may need to be called back. Within a few minutes the bailiff returned to tell Judge Seyer that, indeed, FTR was not working. Judge Seyer thanked me profusely as I was ready to capture the record. We continued with the day’s proceedings, and again, Judge Seyer noted to the courtroom attendees that a court reporter was present and we were able to move forward without any delays. That was one incident, but it happens on a regular basis. The recording system fails or the person tasked with turning it on forgets to do so. The latter scenario happens frequently as staff in the courtroom are extremely busy. Our job is to capture the verbatim record, and that's what we do.


The elimination of even the bare‐bones list of protected proceedings that require a certified reporter that have been repeatedly upheld as too important to risk to the inherent inefficiencies of digital recording is incredibly dangerous. We threaten the life and liberty of defendants and justice and closure for crime victims if we risk allowing an inaccurate record. I find it disingenuous that this rule change is still being promulgated in spite of the results of the legislative initiative which failed.

Diane Donoho, RPR, CSR
Phoenix, Arizona
diane.donoho@gmail.com
ReinhardtL
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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27 Apr 2020 10:33 AM
Lori Reinhardt
fraleyl1@yahoo.com
480-216-1508


I strongly oppose the Petition to Amend Various Rules of Procedure Related to Creating the Verbatim Record. Certified Court Reporters have ethical responsibilities in taking down testimony and in the production of the transcripts. These areas are instances where people's lives and liberty are at stake. To rely on electronic recording leaves too many opportunities for error. Electronic recording systems are particularly prone to complete failures, risking the loss of any record at all. It is also prone to garbled or unintelligible words or sentences. A live court reporter - on the other hand - can stop the proceeding and ask for the person to repeat what was said, and/or ask the judge to direct those speaking to do so more loudly, more clearly, or in some other way more intelligibly, and certainly one-at-a-time, instead of speaking over one another. Technology can fail and sometimes does. The service that a court reporter provides is vital in the courtroom – where full and accurate record-keeping is critical. Please vote against any changes to the current rules.
Diego
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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27 Apr 2020 12:15 PM
I write this message to oppose the proposed rule change.

I am one of the elected State Representatives for LD27, I am a member of the House Judiciary Committee and I am a practicing attorney. I have tried over 100 jury trials in my career. I have tried criminal matters and civil matters, I have tried cases in both state and federal courts.

Court reporters are a fundamental part of our legal system and this rule change would undermine the integrity of our legal system. I have lost count of how many times a court reporter made a point to correct the clarity of the record of a proceeding I was taking part in. Machines simply can not do that same thing.

Earlier this year I voted against the legislation that mirrored this proposed rule change because electronic recordings simply do not provide the same level of protections to my clients as a court reporter transcript does.

Further, as I understand it, this rule change is being made to accommodate smaller jurisdictions that either can not or will not do what is needed to attract enough court reporters to conduct on the record proceedings. However, I also understand that court reporters from around the state commonly travel to the smaller jurisdictions to help out with the work load so the work is done. I do not support a change that is based on economics and which will also weaken the integrity of our legal system. The dollar cost savings is not worth the potential damage to liberty and justice in our courts.

Diego Rodriguez,
Attorney
Arizona State Representative LD27
Arizona State Capitol Complex
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 926-3285
Terry Masciola
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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27 Apr 2020 12:47 PM
I strongly oppose this rule change for all the reasons previously stated by the court reporters.
I have served the court as a court reporter for 30 years and I see FTR fail weekly, sometimes more often than weekly, for a variety of reasons.
Please vote against any rule change.

Terry Masciola
Phoenix, AZ
602-577-8454
terry.masciola@yahoo.com
Kristen
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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27 Apr 2020 01:26 PM
I am in OPPOSITION to this proposed rule change. It is virtually identical to the recently submitted HB2355 bill, which was not passed earlier this year by the legislature. To rely solely on an electronic recording as a first choice for the preservation of judicial proceedings does not protect the liberty of Arizona citizens. A certified reporter who is present in the proceedings is the only accurate record keeper as we are able to stop a witness or attorney or judge for clarification to make a clear, accurate record. I witness firsthand the daily failures of the electronic recording system resulting in delays in hearings, including felony jury trials.
While I do agree, ERS is an appropriate backup to have in some of our courts, it is just that, a backup. It was never meant, nor should be relied on as the first choice. Doing so would result in mistrials and overturned cases. Please don't put Arizona in the spotlight for trying to cut costs at the expense of their citizens.

Please vote against any changes to the current rule.

Respectfully,

Kristen L. Brown, RPR
Official Court Reporter
Phoenix, AZ
602-372-3957
Kristen.Brown@jbazmc.maricopa.gov
Jerry Coash, Jr
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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27 Apr 2020 01:27 PM
The SKREM Task Force last year was a rushed process and the resulting Final Report, where these suggested rule changes came from, are not in the public interest. The legislative language from the Final Report that was sent to the Legislature this year was dropped. The bill died because of many issues and recognition that this would be a huge disservice to the litigants and to our legal system as a whole. Please vote against any change to the current rules.

Jerry Coash, Jr.
Phoenix, AZ
JC@coashandcoash.com
Cathy Miccolis
New Member
Posts:1 New Member

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27 Apr 2020 01:29 PM
Cathy A. Miccolis
brs@bamfordreporting.com

The SKREM Task Force last year was a rushed process and the resulting Final Report, where these suggested rule changes came from, are not in the public interest. The legislative language from the Final Report that was sent to the Legislature this year was dropped. The bill died because of many issues and recognition that this would be a huge disservice to the litigants and to our legal system as a whole. Please vote against any change to the current rules.
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