Tips About Participating In an Electronically Recorded Courtroom
Proceedings in many of Maine’s courtrooms are recorded using a digital or analog recording system, which may be on at all times. This technology creates a verbatim record without the use of a court reporter. The following practice tips are intended to help you make a clear recording of your proceeding, which is vital to the parties and judges if there are subsequent proceedings.
- Upon speaking for the first time, identify yourself for the record. Spell your name and state whom you represent. This is important even if the other people in the courtroom know who you are. The person transcribing the record may not be familiar with particular attorneys or parties.
- Give the clerk the correct spellings of unusual or technical names and vocabulary or words used by you or your witnesses that are frequently misunderstood, when known.
- Speak clearly and audibly.
- Only one person should speak at a time.
- Avoid making noises when people are talking--coin jingling and paper riffling can be picked up and will cover up voices. Be sure that your cell phone or PDA is off in the courtroom.
- Avoid talking when there is noise---wait until the courtroom is quiet to begin speaking.
- The recording system can only pick up verbally spoken words. Avoid “uh huh” and gestures. Be sure that verbal responses are elicited from all witnesses.
- When reading from a document, read slowly and clearly.
- Avoid making any statements you do not want recorded. Use the mute button (if available) during client consultation; be sure the microphone is turned back on before speaking for the record.
- Remain within arm's reach of a microphone at all times when speaking.
- Avoid tapping on or striking the table or microphone.
- To request a play-back of particular testimony or argument, the clerk will need to find the requested testimony without a printed record. If you know the approximate time when the pertinent statements were recorded, please tell the clerk.
- When at sidebar, speak one at a time directly into the sidebar microphone. When a sidebar conference is to be on the record, attorneys should not whisper. The microphones in use, although quite sensitive, have an initial threshold for sound, just as the human ear does.
If you are interested in obtaining transcript or copy of the recording, contact the The Office of Transcript Operations and Projects at 78 Exchange Street, Suite 200, Bangor, ME 04401; or by phone (207) 991-6322.