Court Reporter Task Force Announced

July 11, 2017

Tennessee, like many states across the country, has been experiencing a continued shortage of court reporters to record trials in our criminal courts. In addition, specialized court reporter schools have all closed in Tennessee and yet there are good-paying jobs for qualified, trained reporters. New and innovative ways to address the shortage of reporters must be studied to fulfill the critical role these reporters play in our criminal justice system. Due process rights - including an official record in criminal trials - are insured by the Constitution and crucial to the right to a fair trial. Thus, the Tennessee Supreme Court recently created a task force of judges, clerks and court reporters, to assist the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in studying the issue and making recommendations regarding innovative ways - including new technologies - to address this shortage.

With grant funding obtained from the Office of Criminal Justice Programs, the AOC and the Court Reporter Task Force have begun work on the development of a pilot educational program with the goal of increasing the number of well-trained court reporters for our courts and our citizens.

Court Reporter Task Force members include:

Senior Judge William B. Acree, Jr., former circuit court judge (27th judicial district); Judge Lisa Nidiffer Rice, criminal court judge (1st judicial district); Judge L. Stacy Street, criminal court judge (1st judicial district); Judge Mark W. Ward, criminal court judge (30th judicial district); Pam Lewis, clerk (23rd judicial district); Sandy McLain, clerk (22nd judicial district); Denise Barnes, court reporter (10th judicial district); Edith Fletcher, court reporter (21st judicial district); Martha Jackson, court reporter (30th judicial district); Cheryl McMasters, court reporter (6th judicial district); and Anita Polk, court reporter (21st judicial district).

The AOC welcomes public comment which may be addressed to Connie Turner at connie.d.turner@tncourts.gov.