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Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland’s largest city and economic hub, is known for many things.

Its beautiful harbor area is the home of the Maryland Science Center.

With its IMAX theater and planetarium, and the National Aquarium with more than 17,000 creatures in naturalistic exhibits, including sharks, dolphins, rays and tropical fish.

Its quirky, distinct neighborhoods include Pimlico, noted for the Pimlico Race Course, which hosts the annual Preakness Stakes; Brewers Hill, which gets its name from the landmark breweries it was once home to; and the stadium area, where the Baltimore Ravens and the Orioles play.

The city boasts world-class medical facilities, including the  world-famous Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Unfortunately, the Charm City is also known for its high crime rate.

Baltimore is the big city with the highest per capita murder rate in the nation, with nearly 56 murders per 100,000 people, USA Today reported. At 343 murders in 2017, the city tallied the highest per capita rate in its history.

Officials blame the rise in homicides on gangs and drug activity, and Mayor Catherine Pugh has implemented a new violence reduction initiative that has seen homicides drop by 37 percent and nonfatal shootings by 46 percent in 2018, per Patch.

But in a city where the crime rate is a serious problem, an efficient judicial system is paramount. An accurate recording of court proceedings can help the court system operate smoothly and help provide due process for defendants on trial in Baltimore.

While professional court reporters have the training and experience to provide an accurate record of court proceedings, a recording adds another layer of security and reliability. CourtScribes uses the most sophisticated digital technology to provide the highest-quality transcripts of court proceedings.

The internet-age technology captures what is being said in court, then remote transcriptionists create the official record of court proceedings at a cost to attorneys that is up to 50 percent less than what they are used to paying for live court reporting.

Electronic recording equipment is overseen by an experienced reporter at all times. The reporter simultaneously takes notes that are time-linked to the corresponding recording, so people involved with the case can instantly find the point in the record where they want to re-listen.

Attorneys benefit not only from a less-expensive transcript but also from having a video and/or audio recording that provides them with a more accurate and verifiable record.

CourtScribes may also provide a live feed to an attorney’s office team, allowing them to monitor the proceedings and more effectively assist the attorneys in the courtroom in real time.

Video recording ensures a comprehensive record that allows attorneys to evaluate people’s behaviors, mannerisms, and speech patterns as well as review what was said.  Court Scribes uses computer-based digital systems with enhanced features that perform recording functions with convenience, flexibility, and economy.

In fact, when the CourtScribes technology went head-to-head against a court reporter trained as a stenographer and both transcripts were compared and verified against the actual recording of the proceeding, CourtScribes had significantly fewer errors on each page.

The human ear can only hear so much in a chaotic environment when many speakers in a courtroom talk over each other at the same time. When microphones are placed in front of each speaker, every word spoken can be isolated and heard with complete clarity.

Because the CourtScribes system assigns primary participants to separate, discrete sound channels, it’s easy to identify who’s who. A typical four-channel system individually records the judge, witness, plaintiff’s attorney and defendant’s attorney. When two or more parties talk at the same time, digital reporting captures each voice clearly on its own separate sound channel.

And the recording process captures all words exactly as they are spoken without worrying about a person being unable to understand accents or complex medical or technical terms. During the transcription process, the audio can be replayed as needed to verify any questions.

Also, during the trial, any portion of a recorded proceeding can be played back over audio speakers whenever the judge or counsel requires it.  Audio also can be replayed for jurors if they wish to review actual spoken testimony during deliberations.

Counsel can also obtain copies of the actual recording with digital annotations “hot-linked” to the audio so points of interest can be located quickly and efficiently. While the word per-minute-capacity of a stenographer is often impressive, sometimes it is not enough.

Although the crime rate in Baltimore is up, the homicide rate for America’s 50 biggest cities dipped slightly in 2017, USA Today found.  The decrease came after back-to-back years in which homicides rose sharply in large cities, per the FBI. Homicides in large cities rose by about 15.2 percent from 2014 to 2015 and 8.2 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Overall, the national murder was near historic lows, driven by double-digit percentage dips in some of the nation’s biggest cities, including Chicago (14.7 percent), New York City (13.4 percent) and Houston (11 percent). The homicide rate in New York City Police fell below 300 for the first time for the lowest per capita murder rate in nearly 70 years.