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Court Reporting and Working with the Hearing Impaired

 Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

In a newsfeed found on the National Court Reporters Association, they report the state of Rhode Island passing legislation for televisions to be incorporated in the courtroom for people who are hard of hearing or hearing impaired. While this bill is still waiting on the long process getting passed, the NCRA is supporting it 100%. To have a fair trial, these individuals are expected to be included and given every opportunity necessary. In this blog, we highlight a few other points to make for court reporters and working with the hearing impaired.

The NCRA also suggests doing the following:

  • Take a course on Deaf Awareness
  • Learn the State and Federal Laws for those with hearing loss using a trial or deposition.
  • Learn CART and captioning and know how these programs differ from court reporting.
  • Find out how to work with consumers who need hearing assistance.

These are all excellent points the NCRA makes and we highly recommend doing the same. If you want to be a successful reporter or stenographer you need to understand how to accommodate in these types of situations.

In the state of Florida some laws protecting those with disabilities. Review the following: Any person, firm or corporation “who denies or interferes with admittance to, or enjoyment of, public accommodation, or otherwise interferes with the rights of an individual with a disability” commits a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $500 or imprisonment up to 60 days. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 413.08(4).

In the event, there’s a person who is in court with a hearing impairment; the court must provide televisions. If an individual needs sign language, the court must give a person sign language translator present. As reporters, your job is to provide 98% accuracy when recording conversations among trial participants in the courtroom. If for any reason there’s difficulty in understanding the person, it’s important to request they repeat the statements.

It’s imperative to ensure the details are recorded at the time of a hearing or deposition. Although these can be difficult situations at times, stenographers have a responsibility to be true members of the court.

If there has been discrimination detected the Americans Disability Act, as well as the state, will execute the law as it pertains to the remedy. Individuals must file a discrimination complaint with the Florida Human Relations Commission. They may file a civil action in court for compensatory and punitive damages (up to $100,000) and injunctive relief (an order to stop or to take affirmative steps), if not satisfied by the Commission. Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 760.06 & 760.11.

Because everyone deserves a fair trial, these are great accommodations that everyone in the courthouse must rely upon.

For more information on stenographers for your trial, contact us directly.

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