Interesting Court Trials

With strong court reporting skills, you can pursue many professional possibilities. Dedicated students with the proper training can earn a very good salary working as a court reporter. The work days are steady and are usually conducted in conference rooms and courtrooms. But sometimes a court reporter walks through the door into an amazing experience. They get a front-row seat to accounts of crimes of passion, where the trials move from being interesting civic exercises, to frenzied media circuses all the way to chaotic courtroom brawls.
Here are a few examples of interesting court trials. Who wouldn’t want to be the recorder of public record at these historic scenes? You would have a great story to tell for the rest of your life!
Martha Stewart’s stock trading case
Though she got her start as a baking, decorating, and floral-arranging maven, Martha Stewart got into some hot water with the law when she was indicted on five counts, including charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice.
It all started when Stewart received insider, nonpublic information from her stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, about her shares of ImClone Systems stock (nearly 4,000 shares of it). With this information, Stewart sold her shares in the stock and avoided losing more than $45,000—all because of some information she was never supposed to have.
As punishment for her shady dealings, Stewart was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to investigators. Her sentences included:

  • Serving a five-month term in a federal correctional facility
  • A two-year period of supervised release (which included five months of electronic monitoring)
  • A $30,000 fine

Take a look back at Martha Stewart’s trial. As you follow the timeline of this trial, imagine seeing all the action from the court reporter’s perspective.
The Enron scandal

As a hotbed of white-collar crime, greed, and secrecy, the Enron Corporation scandal forced the entire nation to reevaluate the way we think about business ethics.
At the time leading up to its downfall, Enron was America’s seventh-largest company, employing 21,000 people in more than 40 countries. Everything looked great from the outside, but the company’s success was built upon a complicated scam.
By taking advantage of accounting loopholes, special purpose entities and poor financial reporting, Enron’s top officials hid billions of dollars of the company’s debt from its board of directors.
Enron’s top officials were tried and convicted of a wide range of crimes. Just a few of these charges included: 

  • Securities fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Insider trading
  • Fraud and false statements
  • Money laundering
  • And more

This news coverage of the Enron trial can help give you an idea of what the courtroom environment was like for the court reporters assigned to this case.
Winona Ryder shoplifting trial

Before her 2001 shoplifting arrest in Beverly Hills, California, Winona Ryder was mostly known as a cute, quirky actress. But on that fateful day inside Saks Fifth Avenue, she was captured on store security cameras stealing $5,500 worth of designer clothes and accessories. After her arrest, Los Angeles District Attorney, Stephen Cooley, assembled a team of eight prosecutors and filed four felony charges against Ryder.
After Ryder and her defense attorney failed to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution, the case moved to the courtroom. After a trial that was followed closely by the media and celebritywatchers alike, Ryder was convicted of grand theft and vandalism but acquitted on the charge of burglary.
Almost one year after her arrest, Ryder’s trial had finished and she was sentenced to three years probation, 480 hours of community service, $3,700 in fines, a restitution payment of $6,355 to the Saks Fifth Avenue store, and an order to attend psychological and drug counseling.
You can read more about the coverage of this trial and the courtroom proceedings here.
Even when celebrities are involved, court reporters’ focus and dedication contribute to a successful justice system.   
Healthcare reform

President Obama’s overhaul of the healthcare system in the United States is considered by many to be a historical moment in the country’s lawmaking process.
However, officials from 14 states around the country have already taken action to block the healthcare bill’s passage. These officials see the bill as an encroachment on individual freedoms and as a violation of the United States Constitution.
Additionally, legislators in three dozen other states are considering enacting legislation to block elements of the healthcare bill. But much of what will take place depends on Supreme Court precedents and voters’ opinions.
Healthcare reform is a complicated process, and there is still a lot left to be decided in the coming weeks, months, and maybe even years. But you can be sure that court reporters and stenographers will be on the front lines of the progress.
Check out this recorded senate session to get an idea of what it could be like to work side-by-side with influential politicians working to reform healthcare.
Recording history can be your career

If you think being the recorder of public record at trials like these would be interesting, do something about it! Enroll in stenography training courses near you today and make your own history.