Recording Remote Depositions: What to Know as a Court Reporter
In April 2020, the world stood still, but the work of the courts had to continue. Enter in the remote deposition.
As depositions moved remote, many believed that recording is an equal substitute for videography. Yet, there is a difference between hitting the record button and having a videographer present.
If you are a court reporter, you may be wondering if the court will admit a deposition you recorded. The answer is, it depends.
Keep reading to learn more about the admissibility of recording remote depositions.
Court Reporter Transcripts Versus Video Recordings
A recorded deposition is not an equal or a replacement of a certified court reporter’s transcript.
Recently, in Alcorn v. City of Chicago (2020), Judge Harjani ruled that Plaintiff could not use recorded testimony in her case. Plaintiff thought that the symmetries of the certified transcript proved the veracity of the recording.
Yet, pairing a certified transcript with a zoom recording does not certify the recording.
Several factors affect admissibility. One issue is that no one annotates the video and states start and end times for the record.
But, the most critical issue that Judge Harjani underlined was that there was no videographer present.
Why Does a Video Recording Need to Be Certified?
Court reporters ensure the integrity of the transcribed testimony. Competing counsels would each present their versions of the deposition without a certified court reporter. As a result, it would be impossible for the judge or jury to find the truth.
Likewise, a videographer certifies the accuracy of a video recording. Without certification, Judge Harjani argues, each side could present their own contradictory recordings.
How Is a Recording Certified?
Videographers do much work to ensure that the recordings they take are admissible in court. There are over sixty standards that a videographer must meet for a recording to be permitted.
The videographer has to label each recording with the date, the run time, the existence of protected material, and much more. They also have to maintain a chronological log of recorded depositions and document the chain of custody.
These steps are there to ensure the deposition was recorded with fairness and transparency.
It’s easy to see why the court reporter in Acorn v. Chicago would not certify the recording without a videographer present.
Remote Depositions Are Here to Stay
Virtual depositions emerged out of necessity during the pandemic, but it appears they are here to stay. Zoom depositions have proved helpful when it is impossible to have all parties meet in the same country, let alone in the same room.
As a court reporter, you must remember that courts will not accept all recorded remote depositions.
The only way to ensure that your recording is admissible is to have a certified videographer present. Hiring professionals ensure that your recorded deposition goes effortlessly, even when it’s time for the dreaded breakout room.