Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cosby Trial Puts Court Stenographer in Spotlight

Montgomery County Court stenographer Ginny Womelsdorf took center stage at Bill Cosby’s high-profile sexual assault trial when all eyes, and ears, in the courtroom were drawn to her as she had to recite the testimony of three trial witnesses from whom jurors wanted to hear again.


Womelsdorf had the tedious task of transcribing the previous testimony. Then the judge and lawyers informed her as to the passages that were to be read to the jurors. One of the testimonies included that of Cosby’s alleged accuser, the main witness in the case. Talk about a stressful situation with so many eyes watching you on a national scale.

But Womelsdorf, who has been assigned to the courtroom of Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who is presiding over the Cosby trial, stepped to the plate and completed the task with clarity, professionalism and composure. She read more than 30 minutes during one recitation and nearly an hour during another, occasionally taking a sip of water to clear a scratchy throat. Despite one brief coughing spell, Womelsdorf plowed forward, never skipping a beat.

O’Neill told jurors Womelsdorf “is the best in this country as far as I’m concerned.”





When @MontcoCourtNews tweeted about Womelsdorf’s performance under pressure, social media users responded kindly.


“Mad props to her!” one said. Another said, “Get that lady a parafin wax hand dip and some Ludens stat!” 

I have always said court reporters, those women and men who sit in courtrooms on a daily basis and record the hearings in civil and criminal cases, are some of the hardest working people at the courthouse.

They sit for hours listening to endless testimony, making sure to capture every word correctly - which can be difficult when a witness is soft-spoken or speaking way too quickly - and then spend hours transcribing that testimony for judges and lawyers. The reporters must keep track of all prosecution and defense exhibits and make sure they are properly marked as evidence during trials.

And they are often summoned to court by judges at a moment’s notice, having to drop whatever else they’re working on.

It’s not uncommon to see the registered professional reporters working late into the evening in their offices next to the press room at the courthouse. There is a lot of reliance on court reporters and I have no doubt the judicial system would come to a screeching halt if they weren’t around.


Ginny deserves some recognition for a job well done during an extremely intense situation at the highest-profile case that ever played out in Montgomery County. Bravo, Ginny!

37 comments:

  1. This lady is such a class act!!!!!

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  2. Good press for important profession. Way to go. A modern day hero in my mind.

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  3. Awesome job, Ginny!! You have made us proud!!

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  4. Good job Ginny! May God continue to bless you in your career as well as your everyday life.

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  5. Working a high pressure case, with emotions running high, and knowing that your reputation and the confidence of the parties hangs on every word is worse than playing a piano before an audience of thousands, all of whom knowing the moment you hit a wrong note. The pressure is substantial because in a trial physical and/or financial lives are at stake. A discerning, reliable human being like Ginny making the record is huge.

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    1. And a concert pianist gets to practice every note before it's played. Reporters have to take it as it comes, no matter how it's presented, with often no context for what's being said! We really are something to behold:-)

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  6. That's such an accurate representation of what we as court reporters do every day...Ginny, thanks for being such an excellent representation of our profession!

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    1. Yes, this California court reporter says thanks. You are doing a great job!

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  7. There is always extreme pressure for the court reporter. Their mind and body are always engaged when writing. No one realizes hiw difficult the job is. Many kudos to this court reporter, the true guardian of the record.

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  8. Very proud of you and our profession, Ginny. I have so much respect and heart for you. What a job extremely well done.

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  9. Great job, Ginny, as you unintentionally keep the excellence of this profession in the spotlight.

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  10. TKPWRAEUT SKWROB!

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  11. To an amazing young lady with an amazing talent that she, no doubt, worked very hard to achieve, you are underpaid regardless of what you are paid. Let's see artificial intelligence do that: keep track of who said what, what exhibits are marked by whom, people speaking over one another, mumbling, accents. There is something to be said for the "human intelligence" quotient. May she continue to write her steno with great accuracy. We, as a society, are blessed indeed to have such a competent, capable "person" (not computer) we can rely on. I'll bet she can keep going without switching on a generator, too. Amazing!!

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  12. That is awesome!! Great job, Ginny!! Thanks for representing the court reporting field. Hello?? Voice recognition companies?? Lol

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  14. Reading this made my day and I will go to work with an extra bounce in my step, just knowing that a few people recognize how hard we work under extreme pressure and that human reporters can't be replaced! Great job, Ginny, and all you fellow reporters who do the job for reasons other than the money!

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  15. Great job, Ginny! Keep at it!

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  17. Great to see our profession recognised! Well done Ginny! 👏🏻🙌

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  18. What a great article highlighting our wonderful profession and a talented, hard-working, certified court reporter. Thank you for representing yourself and all of us with poise and precision!

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  19. Great job!! Cool as a cucumber under enormous pressure. But it's all in a day's work for court reporters all over the world who do their very best in taking down and transcribing the most accurate record of proceedings possible in every case. Cudos to all court reporters who go forth every day to their jobs and give it all they've got!

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  20. The longest I ever had to read back was approximately seven minutes and I was a nervous wreck, so kudos to Ginny for making it all look so easy. She's my steno hero. :-)

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  21. Was Ginny the same reporter for the second trial? I'll never forget having to read back in a murder trial a few years back a prominent witness and felt like I was on the stand forever! 21+ years of this job and learn something new every day.

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  22. Thank you, Mr. Hessler for writing an article on our unsung hero, the Court Reporter! Ginny is a shining example of all the hard work that goes into our job! Good job to BOTH of you!






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  23. You go, Girl!!! Way to represent our profession. So proud of you!! Now, when that's done, give yourself a breather and get a massage and mani/pedi. You so deserve it, and no one knows that better than another reporter.

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  24. Just a great representation of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in this job! A reporter’s work is never done. The hardest part is outside the courtroom. Love this article! Awesome job Ginny. Frame this and hang it on the wall right next to your certification!!!

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  25. Hey, Ginny Womelsdorf, kudos to you!! Just seeing this now, almost a year later, but no matter. Great is great! I'm really impressed as is every other court reporter I know!

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  26. As a retired court reporter in Kings Supreme Court in New York, I can appreciate the job well done. Kudos to you.
    Joel

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  27. You make all reporter proud by showing the public what is being done out there in courts, depositions, hearings, arbitrations and dozens of other settings every day. Not to mention court reporter captioners who make the life of the hearing impaired a little better. Thanks from all of us.

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