The state has hired private court reporters to work in courthouses around the state and prevent court cancellations, such as those that affected the Aiken County courthouse early last month.
Private or freelance court reporters have been employed by the state courts 12 times since Aug. 26, according to Rosalyn Frierson, director of the S.C. Court Administration. The number of reporters working in Aiken County was not available.
“It is not common,” Frierson said. “We’ve not used them very often in the past, and then we have had a time where we had a significant number of vacancies.”
Frierson said the private reporters are paid by the hour, and the cost of paying them is roughly equal to paying a full-time judicial department employee. Private court reporters must go through the same national certification as full-time reporters.
Things are running smoothly now in Aiken County, but court was canceled for two days in the first week of August because a court reporter was not available. Clerk of Court Liz Godard said there have been no issues since then.
“They’re working very good with us,” she said. “They’re doing everything possible to keep our courts running since the first of August when we had this issue.”
The Court Administration is responsible for hiring and assigning court reporters. According to Frierson, there are about 100 court reporters covering 46 counties and 22 job vacancies.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.