Re "State courts must enter the electronic age" (Editorials, Feb. 1): The Bee's biased editorial is misleading and devoid of actual facts.
Witnesses speak softly, cough, sneeze, mumble and make non-verbal sounds. Lawyers talk over each other, as do judges. An electronic recorder just plays on, not knowing the difference. For obvious reasons, 2012 legislation requires that electronic transcripts designate "inaudible" or "unintelligible" where such is the case. Only a living court reporter can cure these ills by stopping the proceeding, cautioning lawyers, and asking for repeats.
Appellate courts' use of electronic recording is irrelevant. A verbatim record is not required as it is in trial courts. Witnesses don't testify in appeals courts, and only one lawyer is permitted to speak at a time. Federal district trial courts use live reporters, not electronics.
Electronic recording in trial courts will only create a new ground for appeal by convicted felons. That's what California can't afford.
-- Dick Manford, Sacramento