From the fourth floor on up in the seven-story York County Judicial Center, courthouse stenographers almost constantly are seen hurrying through the hallways carrying their steno machines.
Wednesday, one steno realized too late that when she grabbed her shoes and dashed toward Courtroom 10, she had grabbed two different shoes.
York County President Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh was just as nonplussed when he noted there would be no written record of the local Common Pleas Court’s stenographers being recognized Wednesday during National Court Reporting and Captioning Week.
All 17 of the courthouse stenos – all but one with matching shoes — were sitting in the jury box. There was no one left to sit at the empty stenographer machine in front of the bench.
In a short ceremony, Linebaugh, with other judges, county officials and row officers in the gallery, spoke of the importance of the stenographers’ role in the judicial system.
The court reporters record every opening statement, closing argument, side bar and word of testimony at every criminal and civil court hearing.
Appellate courts rely on the accuracy of those transcripts in many cases, he said.
“This is a high pressure, highly skilled profession,” Linebaugh said.
Among the court stenographers, of whom almost half have been in York County court for more than 20 years, is more than 300 years of combined experience.