You are here

Availability of Audio Files of Court Proceedings on the Docket

February 19, 2016

On February 25, 2016, the Court will begin making digital audio files of court proceedings available to the public over the Internet using a program called CourtSpeak. This program will automatically docket a copy of a recorded hearing to the CM/ECF (PACER) docket in mp3 format.  These recordings will be available on PACER for a fee of $2.40 per audio file. CM/ECF participants in a case may access the audio file one time for free, just as they do with other electronically-filed documents, and may download and save the file for future use. The recording will be embedded in a PDF file attached to the docket and, in most cases, will be available on the docket the day after the hearing.

Digital recordings made in trials, evidentiary hearings and Chapter 11 hearings held before Chief Judge Trish M. Brown will be uploaded to CM/ECF. Other judges are expected to follow after a short period of time.  

These digital recordings will be made available to the public as a convenience; they will not be considered the official record.  If an individual requires an official record of a hearing, a transcript must be ordered from the list of court-approved transcriptionists found in LBF 335.

Please note, the judiciary’s privacy policy restricts the publication of certain personal data in documents filed with the court. The policy requires limiting the disclosure of Social Security and financial account numbers to the last four digits, using only initials for the names of minor children, and limiting dates of birth to the year. However, if such information is elicited during the testimony or other court proceedings, it will become available to the public.

If information subject to the judiciary’s privacy policy is stated on the record, it will be available in the audio files over the Internet.  Since counsel and the parties are solely responsible for guaranteeing that pleadings and transcripts comply with court rules requiring redaction of personal data identifiers, the better practice is to avoid introducing personal data and other sensitive information into the record, unless necessary to prove an element of the case. Also, be advised that court staff cannot redact audio files before they are placed on CM/ECF.  Please take this into account when questioning witnesses or making other statements in court.  If private information is mentioned during a hearing or trial, you may move the court to seal, restrict, or otherwise prohibit placement of the digital audio file of the hearing or trial on the Internet through the PACER system.  Additionally, please make sure that private communications with co-counsel or clients take place away from the microphone so they are not inadvertently recorded.

Responsibility of Counsel:  It will be the responsibility of counsel to notify the courtroom deputy during or prior to the hearing of their desire to restrict audio from the Internet.