SB 418

84(R) - 2015
Senate Criminal Justice
Senate Criminal Justice

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


John Whitmire

Bill Caption

Relating to requests by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for certain records held by court reporters.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

SB 418 would require court reporters to hand over backup audio media recording at the request of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct or they could formally issue a subpoena for the audio record. A failure to release an audio record could lead to a contempt of court proceedings.

Vote Recommendation Notes

Court reporters, regardless of whether they are contract workers or government employees, perform a public duty of the court. Therefore, if they record court proceedings in the course of doing their public duty those recordings are not their personal private property. If the commission requires those recordings, it is incumbent on the court reporter to provide a copy. If they do not wish to comply with this provision they may wish to consider not recording official business on their personal devices in the first place. 

The potential penalties for court reporters who refuse to comply with the request for a copy of the audio recording of a court proceeding may be somewhat out of sync with the philosophy that "the punishment should fit the crime" as it could lead to the revocation of an occupational license. 

Considering these factors, we are neutral on SB 418.