The Department of Licensing is responsible for regulating the Court Reporting Practice Act for Washington State under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 18.145. The following rules set the standards of professional practice for court reporters and detail the requirements for transcript preparation:
It’s the responsibility of each licensed court reporter to make sure he or she follows these rules. Failure to follow these rules can result in revocation of your court reporter’s certificate or other disciplinary sanctions under RCW 18.235.020(2)(vi) and RCW 18.235.110.
It has come to our attention that there is software available that stretches transcripts so there are fewer characters per standard line. This is a reminder to all licensed court reporters in Washington State that it’s your responsibility to adhere to the requirements of WAC 308-14-130 and WAC 308-14-135.
Part of your responsibility includes certifying only those transcripts that comply with the mandatory guidelines of WAC 308-14-135. Therefore, if you don’t format your own transcripts, it’s advisable to review the final version of the formatted transcript before you sign the certification sheet.
It’s never advisable to sign blank certification sheets. In fact, signing a blank certification sheet may violate RCW 18.235.130(4), which allows us to discipline any court reporter who engages in “incompetence, negligence, or malpractice that results in harm or damage to another or that creates an unreasonable risk of harm or danger to another.” Further, it is unlawful under WAC 308-14-135 to certify a transcript that has been stretched so it no longer complies with the requirements for transcript preparation.