Iowa Supreme Court acknowledges Iowa’s court reporter shortage

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 6:44 AM CST
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Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa’s courts are facing serious staffing issues, and it’s impacting how quickly cases are handled. Iowa’s Supreme Court Chief Justice addressed those concerns during the Condition of the Judiciary on Wednesday morning.

The speech highlighted several persistent issues impacting Iowa’s courts. That includes a shortage of contract attorneys, as well as a shortage of court reporters. State Court Administrator Bob Gast with the Iowa Judicial Branch says fewer people are pursing a career as a court reporter.

The position takes two years to finish training, and then students must pass a certification test. And only a few schools in Iowa offer the training.

Gast says the impact means some hearings can’t be held, saying “Because we do not have a court reporter available, that is working on a trial or another hearing, and so it may be that we are not able to record the hearing with a live court reporter, but we have to rely on electronic means.”

In Wednesday’s speech, Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen says she’s heard the numerous concerns about this shortage, and says she agrees with local judges that regularly bumping cases to a later date is unacceptable. “The Iowa Supreme Court is listening. We know how the court reporter crisis affects every aspect of the judicial process and we are committed to making it better. I hope to come back next year with proposed solutions to this crisis from the newly formed Court Reporter Utilization Committee made up of judges, court reporters and judicial staff,” said Christensen.