Honoring court reporters


Last week was proclaimed Ohio Court Reporting and Captioning Week, and Delaware County’s only court reporter said she enjoys her work for the county.

Earlier this month, Gov. Mike DeWine designated Feb. 4-11 as Ohio Court Reporting and Captioning Week and recognized that “stenographic court reporters have played a permanent and invaluable role without our judicial system across the country.”

Delaware County only has one official court reporter, Rebecca Lefever, who works in Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David M. Gormley’s courtroom. Other judges in the county reported they have other methods of recording hearings but do occasionally bring in a court reporter for certain cases.

Gormley reported that Lefever is a full-time member of his staff and has been a court reporter with the court for more than a decade. He said Lefever provides several crucial services in her role.

“Becky’s job is to use her training and experience as a court reporter to make a complete and accurate record of everything said by the lawyers, by the parties, by any witnesses, and by me in my courtroom during trials and other hearings,” Gormley said. “She uses a shorthand language and a stenographic machine to capture hundreds of spoken words per minute. She can then translate her shorthand notes into a typewritten and searchable document known as a transcript that becomes the official record of any courtroom proceedings. Her transcripts are used by the court of appeals and by other higher courts when those courts consider any later challenges to the outcomes of trials or other hearings in my courtroom.”

Gormley added that Lefever is the official custodian of any exhibits presented to the court such as documents or evidence.

“Those items may be shown to and examined by jurors or by me during some trials, and we then keep them here in a locked room for some period of time after trials and other hearings in case higher courts need to see them,” Gormley said. “Becky is also a notary, which means that she can administer the oath that witnesses take in which they promise to testify truthfully in the courtroom.”

Gormley said he was pleased to see Lefever and other court reporters be honored by the governor’s proclamation.

“I’m happy to see Becky and other court reporters recognized this week for the important work that they perform in my courtroom and others around Ohio,” Gormley said. “I and others rely on the accuracy of her courtroom notes, and her experience in working with lawyers, jurors, witnesses, law enforcement officers, and the many other persons who appear in the courtroom is invaluable to me. She also brings to my office a good sense of humor, which any of us involved in the courtroom world need from time to time.”

Lefever said Friday she is glad to be a part of the local court system.

“I feel very fortunate that Judge Gormley sees the value and benefit of having a full-time court reporter,” Lefever said. “I greatly enjoy being in the courtroom and able to work with a staff of highly qualified and dedicated people. I find the law fascinating and enjoy being able to be a part of it every day.”

Lefever added she thought it was “wonderful” that court reporters were recognized for the “valuable benefit” they bring to the justice system.

“Many people do not realize what a court reporter is, what all we do, or the training we go through,” Lefever said. “Hopefully, this will help put a spotlight on the profession and get more people interested in this amazing field.”

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