When the sleepy city of Modesto, California found themselves in the news for two high profile cases – Chandra Levy and Lacey Peterson – in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, they could have hardly anticipated the media explosion. Reporters quite literally parked themselves in the streets awaiting sightings of family and friends, most of whom did not want to be interviewed. High profile cases like these, and more recently the Bill Cosby case in Pennsylvania, come along once or twice in a court reporter’s career. How you handle yourself can make or break your career.
Often the quietest person during a trial, as a Minneapolis court reporter in a high profile case, you may find your name in the news. The jury may request testimony to be read back to them and you’re just the person to do it. Not only will it make you the center of attention in the courtroom, you may be famous outside as well. While the public may be fascinated by what you have to say, we know you’re performing your job as you would for any case, high profile or otherwise. Stay calm and do what you do best.
If media is allowed in the courtroom as happens from time to time, there’s a chance photos of you will be seen. You’re working so it’s not as though they will catch you doing something you shouldn’t be doing. Regardless, it’s important to dress professionally, no matter how long the days are and how tired you are, and maintain your composure even in the midst of a media frenzy. You may be able to request special entrance to the courtroom if the media circus is out of control. Stay focused and calm just as you do in the courtroom.
While we can recommend you stay safe and calm, there’s a chance, especially in high profile cases, that you may be approached by media. As a court reporter, it is your job to be neutral, non-judgmental, and professional. As you know, but the media reporters may not, you’re there to record proceedings, not act as attorney, judge, or jury. A simple, “No comment,” should suffice.
Being part of a high profile case can be stressful but also exciting. Maintain professionalism and stay focused on the task at hand. It’s just another case.
For those of us who may only appear in court as a member of a jury, know your role is as important to the case as anyone else involved. If you’re an attorney in need of a court reporter for an upcoming case, give us a call today!