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Video Transcripts for Appeals?: A Status Update

In drafting appeals, the appellate attorney will request, receive, and review a typed transcript of and exhibits admitted at the hearing of which the Order is being appealed. This allows the appellate attorney, who may or may not have been the trial attorney, to review the record, gather information, and quote the hearing transcript as argument in the appellate briefs.

Transcripts for appeal are often lengthy if the hearing was conducted over the period of a full day or more. This can mean several hundred pages and hours of document review to gather appropriate information and familiarize the attorney with the case to make the best arguments on appeal.

A recent pilot test program in Indiana substituted lengthy written transcripts on appeal with video transcripts of the hearing. This would allow the appellate attorney to view the hearing, the tone of the witnesses, and other “intangibles” that are unavailable through a written transcript.

A recent article in the Indiana Lawyer addressed the outcome of the initial test1. One common problem faced with viewing video of a hearing as opposed to reading a transcript was time. The videos took much longer to review than the written transcript.

While the thought seems to be that viewing the hearing would allow for an understanding of tone and demeanor, the information contained in the transcript is the same information shown by video. For now, the written transcript may be easier to note (with page numbers) and review.

As technology moves forward, so shall legal processes. It is yet to be seen what the future of video transcripts for appeals may be, but the initial response is now in. We hope that this blog post has been helpful in exploring a recent test of appellate technology. This blog is not intended as legal advice. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.

  1. Stafford, Dave. The Indiana Lawyer, “Court Video Project Exposes Problems”, April 23, 2014
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