Delegation of court reporters tours South Africa to advocate for the profession

Two Nevadans traveled to South Africa as part of a court reporters delegation convened by the People to People Citizen Ambassador Programs.

The two women represented opposite ends of the professional spectrum.

At 84, Stella Butterfield is the only remaining court reporter in the state who uses a pen and note pad. The Las Vegas resident has described her use of shorthand to record proceedings as “archaic.”

On the other hand, 52-year-old Lori Judd said she “loves every latest, coolest gadget there is.” The Henderson resident is proficient in “realtime reporting,” which allows her to produce simultaneous transcripts of proceedings.

Nevertheless, Judd said Butterfield has one advantage over younger court reporters.

“Stella walks in, throws a pad down, and she’s ready to go,” Judd said during a recent interview at Butterfield’s home. “We have to set all of our stuff up.”

Delegation leader Merilyn Sanchez of Phoenix, past president of the National Court Reporters Association, said People to People management invited 800 people to take the trip in November. In the end, 20 people joined the delegation.

“I think we all took away the fact that South Africa is so far behind the United States technologically, but there’s so much promise through education and training to provide opportunities for the people of South Africa,” Sanchez said.

She said candidates were selected based on several criteria, including their geographic location, their specialty in the field, and their level of experience.

Butterfield said she raised the $6,000 to pay for the trip from the Soroptomist International of Greater Las Vegas, the legal community and personal friends.

Judd said one purpose of the trip was to assist a South African businessman who is looking for investors to start a realtime reporting school in his country. Members of the delegation helped explain and demonstrate the technology to prospective investors.

“We could see the enthusiasm,” Judd said. “The potential investors were enthusiastic and excited once we were able to demonstrate and show them the realtime. They could see in their minds how they could apply realtime reporting in their court system.”

Sanchez said the main mission of People to People delegations, however, is to foster communication and understanding between nations. People to People International was founded in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower.

“I think we all came back with a greater understanding of South Africa and an appreciation for the struggles of the country with all of the changes and probably a greater appreciation for the United States, as well,” Sanchez said.

She also led the two prior delegations of court reporters — one in 2007 to China, which Judd also joined, and one to Russia in 2008.

Sanchez said the delegation that traveled to South Africa was the smallest of the three. She called Butterfield “the sweetheart of the trip.”

“She’s been reporting as long as I am old,” Sanchez said. “You have to have a huge respect for someone who’s contributed so many years to the profession.”

Judd said Butterfield, who began her court reporting career in 1951 in the Panama Canal Zone, provided “perspective and experience.”

“I don’t know realtime,” Butterfield added. “I don’t know the machine, but I do know court reporting.”

Sanchez said Butterfield amazed other delegates with her energy as the group toured Cape Town and Johannesburg.

“Stella never missed a beat,” Sanchez said. “We were worried about wearing her out.”

The delegates had the chance to watch court proceedings during the trip, and Butterfield described the experience as “interesting and disappointing.”

Trials in South Africa are conducted in English and have no juries. The country has no formal court reporting system. Audio recordings are made of court proceedings, and the tapes are sent to a private company for transcription.

“The audio recordings are of questionable quality,” Judd said. And Butterfield said the legal system in South Africa provides no way to resolve a dispute over the accuracy of transcripts.

Judd said she heard lawyers in South African courtrooms refer to judges as “my lord,” “your lord” and “your lordship,” but she learned that those phrases are not allowed in transcripts.

By contrast, the American legal system places “a very high value on strict verbatim,” Judd said.

She also said South Africans need inexpensive and widespread access to the Internet.

“They don’t even know what Google is …” she said. “Google has been the best gift for our profession.”

The trip caused Judd to conclude that Americans are more adventuresome than South Africans. For example, South Africans hesitate to take the risk of starting a business without the backing of investors, she said.

Butterfield said South Africans have an attitude that says: Only obstacles exist.

“You don’t see a spark,” she said. “You don’t see the lustre in people walking down the streets.”

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece. (@FlightAlerts_)
Park Service plans ahead for lower lake levels
National Park Service releases new plans to maintain access to the water as Lake Mead continues to shrink.
Women claim abuse at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Facility
Current and ex-inmates, including Merry West, are suing Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Facility, claiming abuse and inadequate medical care. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Butte County Sheriff's Office Body Cam Footage
Bodycam video from Butte County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office Deputy Aaron Parmley, who was in Paradise November 8 helping with evacuations. (Butte County Sheriff's Office)
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 106
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 160, near Mt. Potosi Road, in Clark County as part of a $59 million, 6-mile-long highway widening project that began this summer. (Nevada Department of Transportation)
Car crashes into Papa Murphy's Pizza shop
A driver crashed a car into a western Las Vegas Valley pizza shop on Tuesday morning, police said. (Joe Stanhibel/Special to Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Low-lake-level pumping station nears completion
Barnard Construction and the Southern Nevada Water Authority give one last tour before the new low-lake-level pumping station is activated.
Trailer: Valley of Fires
Sultan’s Playroom from Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada’s Scott Rosenzweig talks about granting Sultan Bouras Souissi’s wish, and what went into building it. (John Hornberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jim Marsh brings historic replica of rural church to Amargosa Valley
Jim Marsh talks during the opening of the Chapel at Longstreet, a replica of an 1874 Catholic church built in the mining town of Belmont, Nev., at Marsh's Longstreet Casino in Amargosa Valley, Nev. Chase Stevens/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like