Keeping accurate records

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
The idea of a reporter is someone who runs around town in an effort to find news, but there are all types of reporters.
In the Franklin County Courthouse, the most important reporter is the Circuit Court reporter.
The court reporter is responsible for recording and archiving the official record of court proceedings. De McGuire has been the court reporter in Franklin County for the past three years.
"It is my responsibility to make sure every word said in court goes on the record," McGuire said.
McGuire has been a court reporter since 1991 after completing courses to learn shorthand and abbreviations to aid with rapid note taking during court proceedings.
"They [the classes] teach you how to read and write the English language in a new way," McGuire said.
Once the reporter learns to read and write with abbreviations, the top priority is accuracy with speed.
A certified court reporter must be able to type 225 words per minute in a question and answer sequence, 200 words a minute in a jury charge and 180 words a minute in literary content.
"The average speaker says 180 to 200 words per minute," McGuire said.
In addition to preserving the official record, the court reporter has the task of preparing transcripts of court cases and certifying them for appeal.
"Right now I am working on a transcript for a capital murder case, and I have been working on this case for two and a half months…I have over 2,000 pages at this point," McGuire said.
The transcripts come from notes taken on the machine, but Franklin County court has a tape recorder and computer back up in case there is a need for a backup.
"While we do have backups with the tape recorder and the computer, the official record is a little strip of paper print out of what I typed in," McGuire said.
Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey said that McGuire ranked third in the state last year for transcripts for appeals in Montgomery.
Prior to coming to Franklin County, McGuire spent some time teaching court reporting classes in Nashville and Huntsville.
McGuire said that two of his friends were court reporters and they deeply influenced his career path.

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