Indiana lawyer discusses the importance of the legal record in criminal and civil cases.
You've seen it on TV or heard it on the radio. Objection, your honor – I have to protect the record. The legal record is everything that has transpired in a legal case including pleadings, documents, depositions, court minutes and testimony. If the legal record is missing or incomplete the Indiana Court of Appeals or Indiana Supreme Court will not be able to review the case and make a decision regarding an error.
Throughout the State of Indiana the audio of court hearings and trial testimony is recorded. If we need a transcript of the proceeding we file a request with the court reporter and pay for a copy of the transcript. Sometimes the record is complete and other times the record is complete based on a number of factors that can impact the record.
Video Recordings of Court Hearing
Indiana has just established a yearlong pilot program where it is testing a video record in three courts throughout the state; one court in Allen, Tippecanoe and Marion counties. The proponents of video records say that they are more efficient and accurate than the most experienced court reporter.
As a trial lawyer, I believe a video record can truly demonstrate what transpired at the hearing or trial. When the Appellate Court or Supreme Court gets a bland paper record, it does not get the benefit of what actually transpired including the demeanor of the participants, body language, tone of voice, facial expressions and behavior. This additional input can work for or against the parties. For instance a bland paper record can read legally correct even though the attorney was acting unprofessional. It will be interesting to see if the appellate ruling will be any different based on this additional information.
Capturing information on video is here to stay in all walks of life and now it is moving its way into our courts. What do you think about capturing court proceedings on video?