Friday, May 20, 2011

New Courtroom Design

I've only been with the State three years, but in that time I've seen three new courtrooms built.  What amazes me is that of the three of them, only one really took the time to include the court reporter's input (the Business Court - could be because I'm so darn pushy?  Maybe it's that my family at the Business Court understand I'm working hard, too.  I don't know, but I have a nice desk in the well, enough power, a comfy ergonomic chair, and the ability to MOVE my desk if I need to).

The other two were simply forgetful, at best. 

No clock.  No provision for a court reporter's desk - anywhere, and certainly not built in, like the bench (and clerk and witness stand).  The power at the front of the bench is right in front of the clerk's desk, on the opposite side of the room from the witness stand and jury box.  When I called to ask for an extension cord (because mine was only six feet long), they wanted me to sit over there.  To which I said, NO, I have to see the witness, and need to be as close as possible.  Really, telling me how to do my job?  Oy.   (Don't worry, I didn't say it to his face, but if they had just ASKED before finalizing the plans, all they would have had to do is move the power 15 feet the other way - of course, we still had to find a table for the reporter, and a chair... anyway).

The next courthouse is BEAUTIFUL.  All greenbuild stuff.  Working on LEED certification.  I was there on opening day.  You know how things are, punch list still being done, keycards being reset, codes being programmed, etc.  The main courtroom had no clock.  Had a lot of wasted space.  And, again, no provision for a court reporter's desk.

Seems to me that sometimes people don't realize the reality of court and that just because there are no court reporters on TV (or hidden somewhere far away, AS IF!) doesn't mean we don't exist.  I'm proud of my state for building all these fabulous new facilities, I just wish the pencil pushers understood what I and my colleagues do all day, because I can tell you, desks, chairs, and clocks are all necessities in my world.

Seems to me this is a call to arms, my friends, to stand up for our ability to be able to make a record in the courtroom.  Make friends with the folks who have a say in how the next new courtroom is going to be designed.  If we don't protect the record, who will?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Man.  I woke up today to a post on my Facebook page that my email had been hacked.  Great.  My passwords are very long.  I just  hate that these people do this with impunity.  I mean, who knows who got a "bad" email from me? 

I've reset my passwords - and they're really long and nothing someone would guess.  But really?  REALLY?  Welcome to the Brave New World that Aldous Huxley warned us about.  Some days I think, hmm, might it be better to be off the grid?

I'll regain my equanimity in a bit, but doesn't it just make you mad that you spend so much of your life using the tools of the Internet and someone who has nothing but time on their hands and malice in their heart can affect your work and your life with absolutely no effect on them? 

Change your passwords, folks.  Update the spyware/malware/antivirus stuff.  And as they used to say on Hill Street Blues, Be safe out there.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Weekend Recharge

Okay, technically it was four days.  I went to Vegas on Thursday and came back on Sunday night (very late - actually, it's considered Monday morning, very early).  I didn't take a page of work.  Didn't take my software key.  I pawned a couple hundred pages off on my scopists and told them to have a great time working while I took a much-needed breather.

I went alone.  Did only things I wanted to do.  This included dinner at the Bellagio buffet (never did it before - it's awesome), breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi (Paris) on the patio watching the pedestrians, a day at the Canyon Ranch Spa, a show (David Spade - only there for Fri/Sat - got VIP pass), visited with old friends, had dinner at Bouchon (Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame), played slots like a crazy person, stayed up late, slept in.

In other words, I reveled in my freedom.  I feel so refreshed.  I have a lot of pages in the queue, with extensions (we know I don't like to get those) received and my scopists (yes, one of my babies is a CART provider with no summer school classes!) ready to crank the pages.  The light is there at the end of the tunnel and now, fully staffed and completely re-energized, I have full faith and confidence that I can and will meet every last one of those deadlines.

You're probably tired of hearing it, but I can't reiterate it too many times:  We work really hard and sometimes it's very important to just step away and do for ourselves.  This job is very stressful and we need to be sure to keep in balance, or get rebalanced, in any manner we can.

Thanks to Vegas, I'm back on track and ready to put those pages out.