Julie Brandau: A Court Reporter Remembered

In previous blogs, CompuScripts Court Reporters has introduced you to members of our court reporting team and described the excellent work they do for our clients in the legal profession. Today, we’d like to introduce you to a court reporter we never had the chance to meet, and describe the excellent work that’s being done in her memory for dogs and disaster victims across the country. But before we meet her, what has brought this to the forefront is the introduction of H.R. 1566, the Local Courthouse Safety Act, by Rep. Ted Poe of Texas. We applaud legislation that assists in protecting those of us who serve in the courthouse.

Julie Brandau was a seasoned court reporter with a 25-year professional history when she was shot and killed, along with three others, in a downtown Atlanta courthouse by a suspect awaiting trial in 2005. She was a member of the Georgia Certified Court Reporters Association, and outside the courtroom, she was known as a loving mother, a fabulous cook, and a wonderful neighbor. She was also a dog lover and owner of a golden retriever named Heidi, who attended Brandau’s funeral. “He was her best friend,” said Evelyn Parker, a friend and fellow court reporter. When Brandau and Heidi’s bond became public, California court reporter Jan Lopez was moved to start the Julie Brandau Community Service Memorial Project, partnering with the Search Dog Foundation to raise funds in Brandau’s memory.

The SDF is a California-based non-profit organization that trains dogs rescued from shelters and breed-rescue groups to work with fire departments nationwide as they search for people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. Training is not cheap; as much as $10,000 may be spent on a dog before it is ready to work with a search-and-rescue handler in the field. But with contributions from court reporting firms and court reporters all over the country, eight dogs have been trained and placed in Brandau’s memory. In 2012, the National Court Reporters Association was honored by the SDF for the court reporting industry’s overwhelming support. Just this year, Justice, a stray retriever mix who was saved from a shelter and named in honor of Brandau, was nominated for an American Humane Association Hero Dog Award. Most notably, Justice worked with Tulsa firefighter Jeff Leon in the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes which struck Moore, Oklahoma, in 2013.

Ten years after Julie Brandau’s death, her memory lives in the dogs that are rehabilitated and the people they save. The SDF has stated a goal of 15 dogs rescued and trained in 2015. To join with court reporters and the legal community in the support of their efforts, go the the SDF’s donation page. There, you may donate at a level that’s comfortable for you, up to the full cost of training and beyond. You may make your gift in memory of Julie Brandau and in honor of co urt reporters everywhere who keep her memory alive.