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Audio Recordings of Bankruptcy Court: News from Delaware

posted by Melissa Jacoby

DelawareSeveral Credit Slips posts from earlier this year (here and here) focused on the virtues of courts releasing digital audio recordings of hearings, and specified the Judicial Conference authority for doing so. Over the summer, I found about three dozen bankruptcy courts for which at least one audio recording had been posted on a court docket in the prior year, albeit with significant variation in frequency of posting. 

It is great to be able to report that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has joined the group of bankruptcy courts using this technology  (announcement here with the details). Proceedings before Judge Carey are the first to be posted, with other judges' hearings potentially to follow. 




Melissa --
Thrilled that you took the time to measure the availability of audio recordings in a handful of bankruptcy courts. The glacial pace of tech improvement in the bankruptcy courts is profoundly embarrassing and the rest of the federal courts are only worse. Audio recording has been available in almost every bankruptcy court from before I went on the bench (1982). That audio recordings are not routinely filed and made available to the public is a testament to dinosaurs on the federal bench and the chaotic (broken) scheme for monetization of information by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. You can buy a copy of the tape of a specific hearing by contacting the clerks office in most districts. The "new" system you describe in a handful of districts allows downloading through PACER for $2.40 per file -- ancient tech that should have been made available everywhere, decades ago. Almost every bankruptcy courtroom is already wired for audio and video capture of proceedings, including the use of audio and video conferencing. If the judges and Administrative Office would allow, the proceedings in many bankruptcy courtrooms could be streamed live to anyone interested enough to watch. That would be the real game changer. Appearances by laptop camera would follow seamlessly. Don't you bet there are vendors salivating for that franchise? I'll be long dead before any of this happens. kml

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