The Twelfth Judicial Circuit Digital Court Recording Office was established to provide a verbatim record of those court proceedings that are required to be reported or recorded at public expense in DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Please refer to the chart, Digital Court Recording Begin Dates by County, for a listing of those hearings that are digitally recorded. The Digital Court Recording Office also records hearings at the request of the presiding Judge. Digital Recording is generally not available for litigants in civil or family hearings. If litigants in Civil, Small Claims and Family Division cases wish to have a court reporter present at their hearing, they must provide their own. Digital recording is only provided for injunction hearings in Civil and Family Courts.
In order to capture the record, microphones are strategically placed around each courtroom at locations where speakers are likely to be positioned during court proceedings, including the Judge’s bench, counsel tables, the witness stand, podiums and jury box. Attorneys, parties and witnesses are asked to announce their name for the record at the beginning of each case and to speak clearly in the direction of the microphone to ensure an accurate record can be made of the proceedings. For brief, off the record comments, each counsel table microphone is equipped with a mute button that temporarily deactivates that microphone. Because of the sensitivity of other microphones that may be near the counsel table, attorneys and their clients are advised to whisper or to leave the courtroom or request a recess if they wish to have a lengthy private discussion.
Each courtroom and hearing room in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit is equipped with a light on the Judge’s bench that turns blue when the recording is started. When the blue light remains solid, all microphones are active, unless temporarily muted by a participant, and courtroom proceedings are being recorded. The Judge may mute the microphones in the courtroom, by turning the recording system off, when he or she no longer wishes to be on the record. When the microphones are turned off by the Judge, the blue light will flash continuously to alert participants that proceedings are not being recorded. If the blue light is flashing while proceedings are taking place, courtroom participants should alert the Court and ask that the system be turned on.
An electronic copy of court proceedings that have been digitally recorded is available for purchase through the Digital Court Recording Office. Most proceedings are public record and are available to anyone wishing to obtain a copy, regardless of their involvement in the case. Bench conferences, confidential information and off the record remarks will be removed from recordings requested by individuals who are not a party to the proceeding. Proceedings heard in Juvenile Court, including dependency or delinquency hearings, may require a Court Order before the Digital Court Recording Office can provide a copy of the proceedings to the requestor. A blank Motion and Order authorizing the preparation of an electronic copy of a juvenile proceeding is available by clicking this link.
The electronic copy of the proceedings comes in the form of either a self executing software program for use on a personal computer (PC Version CD) or a wave file that can be utilized in a standard CD player (Audio Version CD) if the user does not have a personal computer on which to listen to the PC Version CD. Please note that both versions of the CD contain only the audio of the proceedings and thus require speakers or headphones for the proceedings to be heard. For more information on the two types of available CDs, including cost, or to purchase a recording of a digitally recorded proceeding, please refer to the Audio Request Form. The Digital Court Recording Office must receive the completed Audio Request Form, payment in the form of a check or money order and the signed Court Order, if necessary, before the CD will be provided to the requestor.
The Twelfth Judicial Circuit does not provide written transcripts of digitally recorded court proceedings (exceptions to this policy can be found in the Circuit’s current Court Reporting Plan, Administrative Order 2010-9-2). If an official record of a digitally recorded proceeding is needed, the requestor must purchase a PC Version CD of the hearing they wish to have transcribed and contact a court approved transcriptionist. It is particularly important that the requestor review the contents of the CD before providing the digital recording to a third party for transcription. Contact information for court approved transcriptionists is available in the Court Approved Transcriptionist section of this website or by clicking this link. Information on becoming a court approved transcriptionist is also available.
For more information, please contact the Digital Court Recording Office in Manatee or Sarasota Counties.
**DeSoto County court proceedings are monitored by staff in the Sarasota Digital Court Recording