Broward courts strike deal with court reporters and stenographers
With little time to spare, Broward courts have signed a contract with the stenographers and court reporters responsible for keeping an official record of felony trials, including first-degree murder and death penalty cases.
Dozens of court reporters, most of whom worked for one of two companies, were prepared to stop showing up after May 19 if the 17th Judicial Circuit didn’t come up with money for raises that were, by all accounts, long overdue.
Chief Administrative Judge Jack Tuter did not disclose the financial terms of the new contracts.
Under the old contracts, court reporters in Broward were paid $110 per session for two sessions a day, plus $5 per page for transcripts that they provide. In 2000, the per session rate was $100. Overtime was $32 an hour in 15-minute increments. Court reporters are responsible to cover their taxes and health insurance out of pocket.
Tuter confirmed Thursday that the new contracts were extended to Boss Reporting and to the courts’ digital recording staff, who do not appear in court in person but track hearings remotely. Capital cases are required by law to have in-person court stenographers.
Boss Reporting President Donna Kadosh did not return a call seeking comment.
Locked out of the new contracts are the court reporters who work for Bailey and Associates, which has done business with the 17th Circuit for more than two decades. Trish Bailey Entin, who was the official stenographer for last year’s Parkland mass shooting trial, had lobbied heavily to double the court reporter rates.
Both companies had submitted letters terminating their contracts, but only Boss was offered a new contract.
In letters to court administration last month, Bailey Entin said federal court reporters earn $800 a day in Broward and $1,000 a day in Miami-Dade. She did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.
“In addition to our digital court reporting staff, all criminal courtrooms will be covered,” Tuter said.
Rafael Olmeda can be reached at email@example.com or 954-356-4457. Follow him on Twitter @rolmeda.