Updated as of 11/12/2019 - 10:00 am
More updates to follow.

Clarifications


The following information will provide clarifications on educational material that is provided by MECRA, SCAO, and other educational programs.  If you have any additional questions, feel free to submit questions to mecracorrespondence@gmail.com.

 

 

  • BOLD
    It is not acceptable to bold text in the contents of a transcript.

  • DASH
    The proper use of the dash ( - ) is formatted as follows: Example:     space -- space

  • GESTURES
    It is not acceptable to notate gestures during proceedings

  • GUTTURAL UTTERANCE
    Do not use a guttural utterance in a transcript unless it is used as a response.

    We have instructed to omit ah, uh, uh-huh and um (to mention a few).  We have instructed to include the guttural utterance if it is a one-word response.   See example below:

  • Q Were you driving the car on March 1st?

  • A      Uh-huh.

  • PARENTHETICAL

    All parentheticals begin at 15 spaces (or 3 tabs) and carry-over 15 spaces (or 3 tabs) in the contents of a transcript.

  • UNDERLINING
    It is not acceptable to underline the contents of a transcript except those items located on the Table of Contents.  (See manual samples)

  • PERIOD AND COLON
    You MUST have two spaces after a period in a sentence and after a colon in colloquy.

  • FORMAT 
    Refer to the George Thomas transcript sample and Section 5 of the manual.  

  • CAPITALIZATION
    Capitalize professional titles of persons when these persons are being addressed by title without their surnames.  Do not abbreviate these titles.
     
    Examples:

    Can you say, Doctor, that this is the only cause?

    Now, Sergeant, what precinct are you connect with?

    My objection, your Honor, is to his repeating that question. (or Your Honor)

    Tell us, Professor, if this formula is correct.

    NOTE:

    Sometimes a speaker uses the word officer because of uncertainty about the exact rank or because it is easier to use.  Technically, an officer should not be capitalized.

    Words like sir, madam, and miss are not professional titles and should not be capitalized.  Other common nouns of address that are substituted for names or titles should not be capitalized either.

    In the courtroom counselor and counsel take on the quality of a professional title, although they are not conferred in the same way that doctor is.  Capitalize counselor and counsel only when it is a noun of direct address within the transcript.

    Based on this rule, the words' plaintiff and a defendant should not be capitalized.  These are not professional titles and, even in the courtroom, I do not believe they would be conferred in the same way as counsel or counselor.

 

 

 

Answers to frequently

asked questions:

 

The following information will provide answers to day-to-day operations that are not provided in workshop or SCAO material.  If you have any additional questions, feel free to submit questions to mecracorrespondence@gmail.com.

 

  • ALL RIGHT 
    It is only acceptable to type the word "all right" in two words in the contents of a transcript.

    The form alright is a one-word spelling of the phrase all right.  Alright is commonly used in written dialogue and informal writing, but all right is the only acceptable form in edited writing. Basically, it is not all right to use alright in standard English.

  • COURT 
    Capitalization of the word "court" as follows:

    (The word Court refers to the presiding Judge of a proceeding.)

    Example:   If it will 
    pleasure the Court, I will have the exhibits placed in a binder.

    (The word court refers to the building or location.)

    You may drop the papers at the court during regular business hours.

  • YOUR HONOR
    It is acceptable to type "Your Honor" in the body of a transcript as follows: 

    Your Honor
    your Honor

  • Jr.
    The format for "Jr." in the body of a transcript as follows: 

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Miscellaneous Abbreviations:  Abbreviations such as Inc., Jr., etc. must be followed by a comma (and usually preceded by a comma).” 

  • SPELL / GRAMMAR CHECK AT TEST SITE
    We are not aware if spell check or grammar check is active at the test site.  You will be using Microsoft Word at LCC.  We would suggest that you use spell check and grammar check cautiously.

  • LOGGING STRATEGY WHEN TAKING THE EXAM
    Be sure to include all details on the title page of your log sheet including phone numbers.  If time allows, be sure to set up your key before you begin to log.  It is extremely important to record the time/meter for each event accurately.  Do not go back and insert the times/meters. 

  • STRATEGY WHEN TYPING YOUR TRANSCRIPT

    • Type body of transcript first.​  (Be sure to change the first two lines to match the case/log sheet information.  Use George Thomas to assist you in format.  Format as you go.  Write down the page numbers of all parenthetical, swearing in witnesses, etc. to assist you for your table of contents.)

    • Listen to audio and proof body of the transcript. (Make corrections.  Verify areas that have given you trouble.)

    • Type the title page.  Verify the spelling of all parties.   Compare to the proper case type sample in Section 5.  You may use the George Thomas transcript for comparison.  Remember that district court matters use (City, State) on the title page.

    • Type the certificate page.  (Be sure to enter case information, enter the final page numbers and your information.)

    • Type the table of content page last. (Use you notes that indicate page numbers.)

    • If you have time, review format on all pages before printing.  

    • Be sure to look at your printed copy for any format issues.

  • Auto fail if improper format and body of the transcript are not complete.
     

Commas

so - then - yet - hence - well - thus - now

​According to Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters​: 

  • the words ​​hence, thus, so, yet ​​are not followed by a comma when used at the beginning of a sentence.  

  • If the words ​​now and then ​​are used at the beginning of the sentence, a comma is used only if the words are being used conversationally to mean ​​well or so.  

  • If the meaning is intended to express time or sequence, no comma is used.

Examples:

1.   Now, how many shots did you hear? 

2.  Then, you really do not have four bank accounts in your name?

3.  Now you live in Los Angeles, but last year you were living in Waterbury.

4.  Then the car jumped the curb and I ducked.

Please

Use a comma to set off please when it is the last word of the sentence but not the last word of a dependent clause or phrase. The comma will be placed before the clause or phrase.  If please occurs in the middle of a sentence as an interrupting word, set it off with commas:

EXAMPLES:         May we have a recess at this time, please?

                              May we have a recess at this time, if you please?

                              Show us, please, where the boy was standing.

                              Please show us on the map where the boy was standing.

Short question - asking for verification

Use a comma before the word or phrase in a short question which asks for verification of the statement (see the Manual for Court Reporters and Recorders, Section 8 page 5); i.e.:

      

            That’s right, isn’t it?

Improper comma placement - Example

 Improper comma placement:

            INCORRECT:  Do you swear, or affirm, the testimony you are about to give is the truth?

            CORRECT:  Do you swear or affirm the testimony you are about to give is the truth?

Comma to set off long introductory prepositional phrase

           Use a comma to set off a long introductory prepositional phrase (four words or more); i.e.:

            INCORRECT:  According to the teacher he left early.

            CORRECT:  According to the teacher, he left early.

Series of two 

Do not put a comma before the conjunction in a series of two; i.e.:

            INCORRECT:  They should submit an acceptance of appointment, and a bond of $100.

            CORRECT:  They should submit an acceptance of appointment and a bond of $100.

Conjunctions - Items in a series

If conjunctions separate all the items of the series from each other, do not use any commas; i.e.:

            Your client has lied and deceived and cheated.

            He is loving and caring and forgiving.

            You have not proved motive or opportunity or intent.

Conjunctions joining two independent clauses

Use a comma before the conjunction joining two independent clauses; i.e.:

            INCORRECT:   I will preserve the findings for that date and we will adopt them as the findings of the Court.

            CORRECT:  I will preserve the findings for that date, and we will adopt them as the findings of the Court.

Semicolon

Statement followed by a question

If a statement is followed by a question that asks for verification of the statement, use a semi-colon before the question (see the Manual for Court Reporters and Recorders, Section 8, page 4.),i.e.:

            You saw the man enter the door; isn’t that right?

            He went to the market, did his shopping, and immediately left for home; correct?

            He is in the courtroom today; is that correct?

Capitalization Samples

People's Exhibit/Defendant's Exhibit

           THE COURT: People’s Exhibit 1 is received.

            (At 10:12 a.m., PX#1 is received)

File Number or Case File

              THE COURT: Ronald Whetstone, Case File 84-0978-FH.

Probate Matters

Terms:

Petitioner - The individual that is requesting the hearing in a probate matter.

Respondent - The individual that is responding to the petition or objecting.

 

Guardian ad litem (GAL) or Lawyer-guardian ad litem (L-GAL) - The individual appointed by the court to advocate for an adult or minor child.

  • Examples:

    • A guardian ad litem does not need to be an attorney.​

    • She is Anna's guardian ad litem for the trial.

Alleged Incapacitated Individual - Individual in need of a guardian or conservator.  Alleged is used on an initial hearing on appointment.

 

Incapacitated Individual - The individual that has already been deemed in need of a guardian or conservator.

 

Guardian - The individual appointed by the Court to care for a person's day-to-day and medical needs.
 

Conservator - The individual appointed by the court to care for the finances.

 

Partial Guardian of Estate and Person - This is a limited guardianship for an individual with intellectual disability.  The person retains certain rights for themselves based on a psychological evaluation.   This type of guardian has the authority of the individual's finances, medical and day-to-day care.  This other term used is developmentally disabled in lieu of intellectually disabled.

 

Plenary Guardian of Estate and Person - This is a full guardianship for an individual with intellectual disability.  This determination is based on a psychological evaluation.   This type of guardian has the authority of the individual's finances, medical and day-to-day care.  This other term used is developmentally disabled in lieu of intellectually disabled.
 

Minor Child - A child under the age of 18 years old that is in need of a guardian or conservator.

Generic names of diseases

The generic names of diseases are not capitalized; i.e.:

            He has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

            She has cancer.

Common phrases

THE COURT:   Do you solemnly swear or affirm that the answers you are about to give in this matter are true?

Volumes 
 

Each day is a new volume.  If you go to the samples in the manual, you will see the sample indicating a volume number on the title page.

 

Exhibits

Is there a difference between identified and marked exhibits?  If so, could you explain the difference?   

 

Marked:  This typically is done prior to going on the record but is not limited to take place during the hearing.  An exhibit requires an identification code in order to be placed on the record and/or in a file.  An attorney will request for the exhibit to be marked.  The clerk or court recorder/operator will tag the exhibit and log the exhibit as well on a separate log.  If it is marked during the hearing...then you will have to mark the exhibit log and indicate the time, meter, description and exhibit code on the recorder/operator log.  For example   PX#1 Report by Atty Smith.  

                     

Identification:  An attorney or party will present the exhibit to the witness.  For example, an attorney may ask the witness to identify a person in a picture.  Once that happens, the Court will note on the record that PX#1 Picture - Identified. A parenthetical is not required for identification.

                     

Admitted/Received:  These two words are interchangeable.  The Court may say admitted on one exhibit and received on the other.    You will want to use the terminology on the Table of Content to be consistent. For example, if the Court only uses "admitted" during the proceeding...only type "admitted" on the Table of Content.  If the Court is using both words, then type "admitted/received" on your Table of Content.