GOVERNMENT CODE


TITLE 2. JUDICIAL BRANCH


SUBTITLE D. JUDICIAL PERSONNEL AND OFFICIALS


CHAPTER 52. COURT REPORTERS AND SHORTHAND REPORTING FIRMS


SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 52.001. DEFINITIONS. (a) In this chapter:

(1) Repealed by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42, Sec. 3.01(1), eff. September 1, 2014.

(2) Repealed by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42, Sec. 3.01(1), eff. September 1, 2014.

(2-a) Repealed by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42, Sec. 3.01(1), eff. September 1, 2014.

(3) "Official court reporter" means the shorthand reporter appointed by a judge as the official court reporter.

(4) "Shorthand reporter" and "court reporter" mean a person who engages in shorthand reporting.

(5) "Shorthand reporting" and "court reporting" mean the practice of shorthand reporting for use in litigation in the courts of this state by making a verbatim record of an oral court proceeding, deposition, or proceeding before a grand jury, referee, or court commissioner using written symbols in shorthand, machine shorthand, or oral stenography.

(6) "Shorthand reporting firm," "court reporting firm," and "affiliate office" mean an entity wholly or partly in the business of providing court reporting or other related services in this state.

(7) Repealed by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42, Sec. 3.01(1), eff. September 1, 2014.

(b) For purposes of Subsection (a)(6), a court reporting firm, shorthand reporting firm, or affiliate office is considered to be providing court reporting or other related services in this state if:

(1) any act that constitutes a court reporting service or shorthand reporting service occurs wholly or partly in this state;

(2) the firm or office recruits a resident of this state through an intermediary located inside or outside of this state to provide court reporting services, shorthand reporting services, or other related services in this state; or

(3) the firm or office contracts with a resident of this state by mail or otherwise and either party is to perform court reporting services, shorthand reporting services, or other related services wholly or partly in this state.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 1037, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 29, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 813, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 21 (H.B. 1518), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 3.01(1), eff. September 1, 2014.

SUBCHAPTER D. APPOINTMENT AND POWERS AND DUTIES OF OFFICIAL COURT REPORTERS


Sec. 52.041. APPOINTMENT OF OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER. Each judge of a court of record shall appoint an official court reporter. An official court reporter is a sworn officer of the court and holds office at the pleasure of the court.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 52.042. DEPUTY COURT REPORTER. (a) If an official court reporter is unable to perform his duties in reporting proceedings in court due to illness, other official work, or unavoidable disability, the judge of the court may appoint a deputy court reporter to perform the court reporting services during the absence of the official court reporter.

(b) A deputy court reporter is entitled to receive the same salary and fees for the services performed during the absence of the official court reporter as the official court reporter receives. The deputy court reporter shall be paid in the same manner as the official court reporter.

(c) The official court reporter is entitled to receive his regular salary while temporarily unable to perform his duties due to other official work. The official court reporter may not receive salary under this subsection for more than 30 days each year.

(d) The salary of the official court reporter for absences due to illness or unavoidable disability shall be determined in accordance with the compensation and leave policies of the county or counties responsible for payment of the official court reporter's salary and Chapter 504, Labor Code.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 453, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 52.043. DEPUTY COURT REPORTER FOR THE 70TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT. (a) The official court reporter for the 70th Judicial District may appoint a deputy court reporter for the district.

(b) The deputy court reporter shall have the same authority and duties as the official court reporter and shall provide court reporting services under the direction and in the name of the official court reporter.

(c) Notwithstanding Section 52.042, neither the counties comprising the 70th Judicial District nor this state may pay the salary or other expenses of the deputy court reporter appointed under this section.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 52.044. ADDITIONAL DISTRICT COURT REPORTERS IN BEXAR COUNTY. (a) The judges of the district courts in Bexar County may employ additional official court reporters to serve the district courts in Bexar County if a majority of the district court judges believe more official court reporters are necessary.

(b) The district court judges shall, by majority vote, determine the method of hiring the additional official court reporters.

(c) The additional official court reporters receive the same compensation for services performed as the regular official court reporter receives.

(d) The presiding civil judge shall determine the assignments of the additional official court reporters.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 52.0441. COURT REPORTERS FOR CRIMINAL LAW MAGISTRATES IN BEXAR COUNTY. Each full-time Bexar County criminal law magistrate, with the consent and approval of the Commissioners Court of Bexar County, may appoint an official court reporter to serve that magistrate. The reporter is a sworn officer of the court who holds office at the pleasure of the magistrate.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 556 (H.B. 2935), Sec. 1, eff. October 1, 2011.

Sec. 52.045. OATH. (a) An official court reporter must take the official oath required of officers of this state.

(b) In addition to the official oath, each official court reporter must sign an oath administered by the district clerk stating that in each reported case the court reporter will keep a correct, impartial record of:

(1) the evidence offered in the case;

(2) the objections and exceptions made by the parties to the case; and

(3) the rulings and remarks made by the court in determining the admissibility of testimony presented in the case.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 52.046. GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES. (a) On request, an official court reporter shall:

(1) attend all sessions of the court;

(2) take full shorthand notes of oral testimony offered before the court, including objections made to the admissibility of evidence, court rulings and remarks on the objections, and exceptions to the rulings;

(3) take full shorthand notes of closing arguments if requested to do so by the attorney of a party to the case, including objections to the arguments, court rulings and remarks on the objections, and exceptions to the rulings;

(4) preserve the notes for future reference for three years from the date on which they were taken; and

(5) furnish a transcript of the reported evidence or other proceedings, in whole or in part, as provided by this chapter.

(b) An official court reporter of a district court may conduct the deposition of witnesses, receive, execute, and return commissions, and make a certificate of the proceedings in any county that is included in the judicial district of that court.

(c) The supreme court may adopt rules consistent with the relevant statutes to provide for the duties and fees of official court reporters in all civil judicial proceedings.

(d) A judge of a county court or county court at law shall appoint a certified shorthand reporter to report the oral testimony given in any contested probate matter in that judge's court.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 52.047. TRANSCRIPTS. (a) A person may apply for a transcript of the evidence in a case reported by an official court reporter. The person must apply for the transcript in writing to the official court reporter. The official court reporter shall furnish the transcript to the person not later than the 120th day after the date the:

(1) application for the transcript is received by the reporter; and

(2) transcript fee is paid or the person establishes indigency as provided by Rule 20, Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure.

(b) If an objection is made to the amount of the transcript fee, the judge shall determine a reasonable fee, taking into consideration the difficulty and technicality of the material to be transcribed and any time constraints imposed by the person requesting the transcript.

(c) On payment of the fee or as provided by Rule 40(a)(3) or 53(j), Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, the person requesting the transcript is entitled to the original and one copy of the transcript. The person may purchase additional copies for a fee per page that does not exceed one-third of the original cost per page.

(d) An official court reporter may charge an additional fee for:

(1) postage or express charges;

(2) photostating, blueprinting, or other reproduction of exhibits;

(3) indexing; and

(4) preparation for filing and special binding of original exhibits.

(e) If an objection is made to the amount of these additional fees, the judge shall set a reasonable fee. If the person applying for the transcript is entitled to a transcript without charge under Rule 40(a)(3) or 53(j), Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, the court reporter may not charge any additional fees under Subsection (d).

(f) If the official court reporter charges an amount that exceeds a fee set by the judge, the reporter shall refund the excess to the person to whom it is due on demand filed with the court.

(g) Notwithstanding Rule 53(j), Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, an official court reporter who is required to prepare a transcript in a criminal case without charging a fee is not entitled to payment for the transcript from the state or county if the county paid a substitute court reporter to perform the official court reporter's regular duties while the transcript was being prepared. To the extent that this subsection conflicts with the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, this subsection controls. Notwithstanding Sections 22.004 and 22.108(b), the supreme court or the court of criminal appeals may not amend or adopt rules in conflict with this subsection.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 455, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 827 (H.B. 335), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 52.048. COURT REPORTERS FOR FAMILY LAW MASTERS IN EL PASO. Each El Paso family law master shall appoint an official shorthand reporter to serve that master. The official shorthand reporter must be well skilled in his profession. The reporter is a sworn officer of the court who holds office at the pleasure of the court.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 2, Sec. 8.32(b), eff. Aug. 28, 1989.

Sec. 52.049. ADDITIONAL DISTRICT COURT REPORTERS IN NUECES COUNTY. (a) The judges of the district courts in Nueces County may employ additional official court reporters to serve the district courts in Nueces County if a majority of the district court judges believe more official court reporters are necessary.

(b) The district court judges shall, by majority vote, determine the method of hiring the additional official court reporters.

(c) The presiding judge of the district courts of Nueces County shall determine the assignments of the additional official court reporters.

(d) The total number of official court reporters serving the district courts of Nueces County may not exceed the amount that equals one and one-half full-time employees multiplied by the number of district courts in Nueces County.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 637 (H.B. 1551), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.

SUBCHAPTER E. COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES


Sec. 52.051. COMPENSATION OF DISTRICT COURT REPORTERS. (a) An official district court reporter shall be paid a salary set by the order of the judge of the court. This salary is in addition to transcript fees, fees for a statement of facts, and other necessary expenses authorized by law.

(b) The salary set by the judge may not be lower than the salary that official court reporter received on January 1, 1972.

(c) An order increasing the salary of an official district court reporter must be submitted to the commissioners court of each county in the judicial district not later than September 1 immediately before the adoption of the county budget for the next year. A commissioners court may allow an extension of this time limit.

(d) The official district court reporter may not receive:

(1) a salary that is more than 10 percent greater than the salary received during the preceding budget year without the approval of the commissioners court of each county in the judicial district if the court reporter serves in a county with a population of less than 1 million; or

(2) a percentage increase in salary in a fiscal year that is greater than the average percentage increase in compensation in that fiscal year to all other employees of the county in which the reporter serves if the court reporter serves in a county with a population of 1 million or more.

(e) A person appointed to succeed an official district court reporter may not receive a salary greater than the salary received by the person's predecessor in office.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 188, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Sec. 52.052. COMPENSATION IN THE 222ND JUDICIAL DISTRICT. Notwithstanding Section 52.051, the district judge of the 222nd Judicial District shall set the salary of the official court reporter at not less than $15,000.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 517, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987.

Sec. 52.053. COMPENSATION OF HILL COUNTY OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER. (a) The salary of the official court reporter for the County Court of Hill County shall be set by the commissioners court in an amount not to exceed the salary received by the official court reporter of the district court in Hill County.

(b) This salary is in addition to transcript fees, fees for statement of facts, and all other fees.

(c) The salary shall be paid from the county general fund, jury fund, or any other fund available for the purpose, as determined by the commissioners court.

(d) The salary shall be paid in the same manner as salaries for other county officers are paid.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 52.054. APPORTIONMENT OF SALARY. (a) Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), the salary of an official court reporter of a judicial district that is composed of more than one county shall be apportioned among the counties of the district. Each county shall pay a portion of the salary equal to the proportion that its population bears to the total population of the judicial district.

(b) The judge of the 31st Judicial District shall determine the proportionate amount of the salary of the official court reporter to be paid by each county in the district based on the annual case load in each county.

(c) Nueces County shall pay 50 percent of the salary of the official court reporter for the 105th Judicial District. Kleberg and Kenedy counties shall pay the remaining 50 percent. Kleberg and Kenedy counties' shares shall be equal to the proportion that each county's population bears to the total population of the two counties.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 52.055. EXPENSES OF DISTRICT COURT REPORTERS. (a) Each official or deputy court reporter of a district court in a district composed of more than one county is entitled to reimbursement in the amount prescribed by Subsections (b) and (d) for actual and necessary expenses incurred while engaged in official duties in any county of the state other than the county of the reporter's residence. This reimbursement is in addition to the reporter's regular salary.

(b) Travel expenses reimbursed under this section may not exceed 25 cents per mile for the use of private conveyances, traveling the shortest practical route.

(c) The expenses shall be reimbursed after the completion of each court term by the respective counties of the judicial district for which the expenses were incurred, each county paying the expenses incidental to its own regular or special term. The commissioners court of each county shall pay the expenses for which the county is responsible from the county general fund.

(d) The expenses reimbursed under this section are subject to annual limitations based on the size of the judicial district. A court reporter may not receive more than the maximum reimbursement amount set for the reporter's judicial district in any one year. The maximum reimbursement amount is as follows:

(1) if the judicial district contains two counties, the maximum reimbursement amount is $400;

(2) if the judicial district contains three counties, the maximum reimbursement amount is $800;

(3) if the judicial district contains four counties, the maximum reimbursement amount is $1,400; and

(4) if the judicial district contains five or more counties, the maximum reimbursement amount is $2,000.

(e) To receive reimbursement under this section, a court reporter must prepare in duplicate a sworn statement of expenses that is approved by the district judge. The reporter must file a copy of the statement with the clerk of the district court of the county in which the district judge resides.

(f) This section applies to any additional official or deputy court reporter whose services are required when a district court convenes in a special term. The county in which the special term is convened shall pay the expenses. These expenses are in addition to the expenses provided for the official or deputy court reporter of the district.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 367, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 28, 1989.

Sec. 52.056. EXPENSES OF VISITING COURT REPORTERS. (a) An official or deputy court reporter of a judicial district who is required to leave the county of his residence to report proceedings as a substitute for the official court reporter of another county is entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary travel expenses and a per diem allowance of $30 for each day or part of a day spent outside his county of residence in the performance of duties as a substitute. These fees are in addition to the visiting reporter's regular salary.

(b) The commissioners court of the county in which the visiting reporter provides services shall pay the reimbursement and per diem allowance from the county general fund on receipt of a sworn statement by the court reporter that has been approved by the district judge presiding in the court in which the proceedings were reported.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 52.057. EXPENSES OF COURT REPORTERS IN CERTAIN ENUMERATED DISTRICTS. (a) Notwithstanding Section 52.055, the expenses of the official court reporters for the 31st, 46th, 104th, 112th, and 155th judicial districts shall be reimbursed as prescribed by this section.

(b) The official court reporters for the 31st and 112th judicial districts are entitled to receive travel expense allowances in the same amounts as a state employee. The allowances shall be paid as prescribed by Sections 52.055(c) and (e).

(c) In lieu of the expenses provided by Section 52.055, the official court reporter for the 46th Judicial District may receive, instead of reimbursement for actual expenses, an annual allowance of $3,000 for travel and other expenses incurred in performing official duties. The allowance shall be paid in equal monthly installments by the counties in the judicial district. The amount each county pays shall be determined by the proportion that each county's population bears to the total population of the district.

(d) The annual allowance for actual and necessary expenses received by the official court reporter for the 104th Judicial District may not exceed $400.

(e) In lieu of the expenses provided by Section 52.055, the official court reporter for the 155th Judicial District may receive an annual allowance of $3,000 for travel and other expenses incurred in performing official duties. The counties in the district, other than the county in which the reporter resides, shall pay the allowance in equal shares.

(f) In lieu of the reimbursements authorized by Section 52.055, the official court reporters for the 506th Judicial District shall receive reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses, including travel expenses, in an amount equal to the amount of reimbursement that would be provided to a public servant of the county in which the court is sitting at the time the court reporter incurs the expenses if the public servant had incurred the expenses. Each county in the district shall pay a portion of the reimbursement authorized by this subsection in the proportion that the county's population bears to the total population of the district. For purposes of this subsection, "public servant" includes an officer, employee, or agent of a county.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 73, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 497 (S.B. 812), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 52.058. EXPENSES OF DISTRICT COURT REPORTERS IN CHANGE OF VENUE CASES. (a) Each official or deputy court reporter of a district court is entitled to reimbursement in the amount prescribed by Subsection (b) for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred while engaged in official duties during a trial being held under a change of venue order in any county of the state other than the county of the reporter's residence. This reimbursement is in addition to the reporter's regular salary.

(b) Travel expenses reimbursed under this section may not exceed 25 cents per mile for the use of private conveyances, traveling the shortest practical route.

(c) The expenses shall be reimbursed as provided by Sections 52.055(c) and (e).

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 367, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 28, 1989.

Sec. 52.059. CHARGES FOR DEPOSITIONS. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), an attorney who takes a deposition and the attorney's firm are jointly and severally liable for a shorthand reporter's charges for:

(1) the shorthand reporting of the deposition;

(2) transcribing the deposition; and

(3) each copy of the deposition transcript requested by the attorney.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), an attorney who appears at a deposition and the attorney's firm are jointly and severally liable for a shorthand reporter's charges for each copy of the deposition transcript requested by the attorney.

(c) Prior to the taking of any deposition, a determination of the person who will pay for the deposition costs will be made on the record, if an attorney is unwilling to be bound by the provisions of Subsection (a) or (b).

(d) In this section:

(1) "Firm" means:

(A) a partnership organized for the practice of law in which an attorney is a partner or with which an attorney is associated; or

(B) a professional corporation organized for the practice of law of which an attorney is a shareholder or employee.

(2) An attorney "takes" a deposition if the attorney:

(A) obtains the deponent's appearance through an informal request;

(B) obtains the deponent's appearance through formal means, including a notice of deposition or subpoena; or

(C) asks the first question in the deposition.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 454, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.