You don’t have to be a litigator to know what a court reporter does. If you’ve ever watched Law and Order, you’ve seen a courtroom stenographer transcribe spoken speech in real time. But the work of a legal transcriptionist is every bit as important. The transcriptionist transcribes recorded audio and video for criminal and civil cases. So as CompuScripts expands its legal transcription services, we explain how certified legal transcripts can help the trial lawyer.
Certified legal transcripts are useful to criminal defense attorneys, who often have audio or video recordings of clients. With that in mind, the American Bar Association recommends that “the charging document, a preliminary hearing or grand jury transcript, police reports [and] witness interviews that have been transcribed and reported” all belong in the criminal defense lawyer’s trial notebook. What sorts of recordings might exist? Defendants and witnesses often give recorded statements at law enforcement headquarters. Law enforcement officers make recordings at incident sites. Phone calls made from jail may clarify a defendant’s involvement in or attitude toward a crime. Therefore, the certified legal transcripts of these types of recordings are important tools during trial preparation.
Parties to a divorce often find themselves dealing with issues of alimony, child support, or visitation rights. Consequently, social media videos or voicemail provide important information to a family law attorney. In his Forbes article entitled “How Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce,” contributor Jeff Landers writes, “Online activity can provide clues to hidden assets or other dirty tricks.” For example, video can show the extravagant vacation of a partner claiming an inability to provide spousal support. A now-famous voicemail left for his daughter by actor Alec Baldwin was used in a custody battle with ex-wife Kim Basinger. As you can see from these examples, certified legal transcripts are useful tools for a family law attorney.
Whether you represent the plaintiff or the defendant, social media or smartphone video transcripts may assist you during trial preparation. In a viral video, a man was seen pushing over a boulder in a Utah state park. The same man had recently filed a personal injury lawsuit, citing “serious, permanent and debilitating injuries” from a car crash. However, physical activity captured in this video plus the participants’ comments led the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to call his claim one of “the ten most ridiculous lawsuits of 2014,” and the suit was dismissed. Conversely, smartphone video taken by a witness may assist the plaintiff, according to a FindLaw blog. New York City settled a wrongful death claim by the family of Eric Garner for $5.9 million after bystander video captured a police officer using a prohibited chokehold to subdue Mr. Garner. Clearly, certified legal transcripts can be very persuasive in court.
If you are a trial lawyer, let CompuScripts Court Reporters provide you with certified legal transcripts. Our legal transcriptionists are experienced with recordings from law enforcement investigation sites, witness interviews, suspect interviews, jail phone calls, forensic interviews in child abuse cases, hidden recording devices, and smartphones, and we deliver your transcripts based on your turnaround demands. So contact us today if you are in need of a certified legal transcript.