Official Court Reporters & Digital Recording

The Twelfth Judicial Circuit uses a hybrid model for its court reporting services, comprised of the Official Court Reporters (OCR), which are stenographers, and Digital Court Recording (DCR). Each method provides a verbatim record of court proceedings that require the record to be made at public expense.

Order Transcripts or Audio CDs

Most proceedings are public record and are available to anyone wishing to obtain a transcript or audio (depending on which department made the record), regardless of their involvement in the case.  If you want to order a court record, you will need to provide the case number, specific date(s) of proceeding, and name of judge.

About OCR

Only transcripts are available from OCR, no audio

OCR is used only in circuit criminal cases (felonies), for all trials, grand jury proceedings, all hearings in capital cases (pretrial, trial, and post-conviction), and, when available, hearings that are requested by the presiding judge to be covered by OCR

  • OCR are State employees, not freelance reporters
  • 12th Circuit has 8 reporters – 4 housed in Manatee, 4 housed in Sarasota
  • Staff travels to DeSoto Courthouse and Venice Courthouse when needed
  • All OCR are nationally certified RPR or higher, through the National Court Reporters Association

The reporter’s software instantly translates the court reporter’s shorthand and displays rough-draft transcripts contemporaneously on the judge’s computer.

  • A transcript is not produced in all proceedings – a transcript is only produced when specifically ordered or designated on appeal.
  • If you do not have the necessary information to order a transcript, please refer to the clerk’s office website or phone number for the county of your inquiry to get that necessary information.
  • Information about transcript rates and other financial arrangements can be found in our Circuit’s current Court Reporting Plan, A.O. 2010-9-2.
  • The cost of a transcript depends on the number of pages, which depends on the length of the proceedings. A very rough estimate is a court reporter produces one page of transcript per minute of court proceeding; for example, a 45-minute hearing would be close to 45 pages long.
  • OCR averages over 55,000 pages of transcript production annually, which is a combination of transcripts for appellate purposes, transcripts for use by attorneys and judges, and transcripts purchased by private parties and the public. The OCR try very hard to accommodate rush requests, but due to court schedules and transcript backlog it’s not always possible. Therefore, be sure to make your transcript requests with as much time allowance as possible.

About DCR

Only audio is available from DCR, no transcripts (with the exception of some felonies, refer to A.O. 2010-9-2)
  • County Criminal – Misdemeanors
  • Circuit Criminal – Felonies (when not reported by OCR)
  • Juvenile
  • Family – TRO
  • Family – Magistrate
  • IV-D Hearing Officer/Child Support Department of Revenue
  • Magistrate Civil Hearings
  • Guardianship (limited by statute)
  • Baker Acts
  • Marchman Acts
  • Drug, DUI, Mental Health and TYLA Courts
  • Felony and Misdemeanors—Pleas and Violations
  • Jail Hearings
  • Truancy Court (Manatee)
  • Proceedings of any nature not required by state law or Rule to be recorded, but requested by a judge to be recorded as public record courtesy recordings.
Note: If litigants in civil, small claims, and family division cases wish to have a record made of their hearing, they should hire their own court reporter. DCR cannot be requested by the parties.
  • DCR staff are located in two different offices, one in Manatee, one in Sarasota.
  • From the two locations, staff monitor and record proceedings held through the circuit, including DeSoto County Courthouse, Venice Courthouse, Sarasota jail, Sarasota Criminal Justice Center, and Manatee jail.
  • Staff are professionally trained to listen to what is being recorded, ensure sound quality, make detailed notes about court proceedings, and to accommodate playbacks in court when requested.
  • Each courtroom and hearing room in the Circuit is equipped with a light on the Judge’s bench that turns blue when recording, affectionately referred to as the Blue Man.
  • Microphones are strategically placed around each courtroom and hearing room – judge’s bench, counsel tables, witness stand, podiums, jury box
  • Attorneys, parties, and witnesses should announce their name for the record at the beginning of each case and speak clearly in the direction of the microphone to ensure an accurate record can be made
  • For brief off-the-record comments at each counsel table, the microphone is equipped with a mute button that temporarily deactivates that microphone.
  • For lengthier off-the-record discussions, attorneys and their clients are advised to whisper or leave the courtroom or request a recess, to avoid being picked up by sensitive microphones that may be nearby.
Understanding the Blue Man blue man light
  • Blue light on / solid … all microphones are actively recording (unless temporarily muted)
  • Blue light on / flashing … proceedings are not being recorded, but DCR is standing by
  • Blue light off … there is no recording, nor is DCR standing by
  • If wanting to order audio of a proceeding heard in Juvenile Court, a blank Motion and Order authorizing the preparation of an electronic copy of a juvenile proceeding is available for download.
  • If an official transcript of a digitally-recorded proceeding is needed, the requestor will order the CD and then contact a court-approved transcriptionist. Information on becoming a court approved transcriptionist is also available.

Contact Information

Manager: Mary Cook
Lead Recorder: Mariana Hernandez

Sarasota County
Manatee County

Manager: Sarah Martin
Lead Reporter: Michael Sciré

Sarasota County
Manatee County