B-77066, JULY 13, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 15

B-77066: Jul 13, 1948

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 3. COPIES OF WHICH ARE DESIRED FOR THE USE OF TWO JUDGES. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE TESTIMONY. A TRANSCRIPT OF WHICH IS INVOLVED. WAS REPORTED. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IT IS PROPOSED TO PAY THE TEMPORARY REPORTER ONE- THIRD OF THE COST OF THE TRANSCRIPTS INVOLVED. WHEN YOU WERE REQUESTED TO AUTHORIZE THIS PROCEDURE. HOLDING THAT PAYMENT OF FEES FOR TRANSCRIPTS OF PROCEEDINGS IN THE DISTRICT COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES FURNISHED BY THE REPORTERS TO THE COURTS AT THE REQUEST OF THE JUDGE IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER SECTION 5A OF THE JUDICIAL CODE. WERE REQUESTED BY HIM TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER SAID DECISION IS APPLICABLE TO TEMPORARY REPORTERS. MAY APPOINT ADDITIONAL REPORTERS FOR TEMPORARY SERVICE NOT EXCEEDING THREE MONTHS WHEN THERE IS MORE REPORTING WORK IN THE DISTRICT THAN CAN BE PERFORMED PROMPTLY BY THE AUTHORIZED NUMBER OF REPORTERS AND THE URGENCY IS SO GREAT AS TO RENDER IT IMPRACTICAL TO OBTAIN THE APPROVAL OF THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE.

B-77066, JULY 13, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 15

COURT REPORTERS - TEMPORARY - TRANSCRIPT FEES COURT REPORTERS APPOINTED FOR TEMPORARY SERVICE NOT EXCEEDING THREE MONTHS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 5 A OF THE JUDICIAL CODE, AND COMPENSATED ON A PER DIEM BASIS FOR THE ACTUALLY SPENT IN TAKING TESTIMONY AT RATES FIXED BY THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF SENIOR CIRCUIT JUDGES, MAY BE PAID OTHERWISE PROPER FEES FOR TRANSCRIPTS FURNISHED UPON THE REQUEST OF A JUDGE OF THE COURT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS, JULY 13, 1948.

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 3, 1948, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST A DECISION ON THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER COURT REPORTERS APPOINTED FOR TEMPORARY SERVICE NOT EXCEEDING THREE MONTHS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOURTH SENTENCE OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF SECTION 5A OF THE JUDICIAL CODE (28 U.S. CODE 9A) MAY BE PAID FEES IN ADDITION TO THEIR OTHER COMPENSATION FOR TRANSCRIPTS FURNISHED UPON REQUEST OF A JUDGE OF THE COURT.

YOUR LETTER REFERS SPECIFICALLY TO CERTAIN TRANSCRIPTS, COPIES OF WHICH ARE DESIRED FOR THE USE OF TWO JUDGES, WHO, WITH JUDGE DELBERT E. METZGER OF THE DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF HAWAII, SAT AS A 3 JUDGE COURT FOR THE TRIAL OF CERTAIN CASES ARISING IN THE DISTRICT OF HAWAII. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE TESTIMONY, A TRANSCRIPT OF WHICH IS INVOLVED, WAS REPORTED, NOT BY THE PERMANENT REPORTER OF THE COURT, BUT BY A REPORTER APPOINTED FOR A TEMPORARY PERIOD ON A PER DIEM BASIS IN ACCORDANCE WITH A RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF SENIOR CIRCUIT JUDGES WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

THE CONFERENCE FURTHER RESOLVED THAT SHOULD ANY REPORTERS BE APPOINTED FOR TEMPORARY SERVICE NOT EXCEEDING THREE MONTHS, AS AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT, SUCH REPORTERS SHOULD BE COMPENSATED AT A PER DIEM RATE EQUIVALENT TO THE USUAL RATES CHARGED IN THE LOCALITY FOR COMPARABLE SERVICES, AND SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO CHARGE THE TRANSCRIPT FEES PRESCRIBED FOR THE DISTRICT.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IT IS PROPOSED TO PAY THE TEMPORARY REPORTER ONE- THIRD OF THE COST OF THE TRANSCRIPTS INVOLVED--- TWO-THIRDS OF THE COST APPARENTLY TO BE CHARGED TO THE PARTIES TO THE CASE--- AND THAT, WHEN YOU WERE REQUESTED TO AUTHORIZE THIS PROCEDURE, YOU INVITED THE ATTENTION OF JUDGE METZGER TO OFFICE DECISION DATED NOVEMBER 14, 1945, B-53634, HOLDING THAT PAYMENT OF FEES FOR TRANSCRIPTS OF PROCEEDINGS IN THE DISTRICT COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES FURNISHED BY THE REPORTERS TO THE COURTS AT THE REQUEST OF THE JUDGE IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER SECTION 5A OF THE JUDICIAL CODE, AND WERE REQUESTED BY HIM TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER SAID DECISION IS APPLICABLE TO TEMPORARY REPORTERS.

SECTION 5 (A) OF THE JUDICIAL CODE PROVIDES THAT EACH DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE DISTRICT COURTS IN THE TERRITORIES AND INSULAR POSSESSIONS, SHALL APPOINT ONE OR MORE COURT REPORTERS, AS DETERMINED BY THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF SENIOR CIRCUIT JUDGES AND THAT SAID COURTS, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS, MAY APPOINT ADDITIONAL REPORTERS FOR TEMPORARY SERVICE NOT EXCEEDING THREE MONTHS WHEN THERE IS MORE REPORTING WORK IN THE DISTRICT THAN CAN BE PERFORMED PROMPTLY BY THE AUTHORIZED NUMBER OF REPORTERS AND THE URGENCY IS SO GREAT AS TO RENDER IT IMPRACTICAL TO OBTAIN THE APPROVAL OF THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE. SECTION 5A (C) OF THE JUDICIAL CODE (28 U.S.C. 9A (C) WHICH PRESCRIBES THE COMPENSATION FOR REPORTERS IS, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

EACH REPORTER SO APPOINTED SHALL RECEIVE AN ANNUAL SALARY, TO BE FIXED FROM TIME TO TIME BY THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE AND TO BE PAID IN THE SAME MANNER AND AT THE SAME TIME THAT THE SALARY OF THE CLERK OF THE COURT IS PAID. IN FIXING SUCH SALARY THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE SHALL TAKE INTO ACCOUNT IN EACH INSTANCE THE AMOUNT OF TIME THE REPORTER IS REQUIRED TO BE IN ATTENDANCE UPON THE COURT ENGAGED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES. SUCH SALARY SHALL BE NOT LESS THAN $3,000 NOR MORE THAN $6,000 PER ANNUM. * * * THE REPORTER MAY CHARGE AND COLLECT FROM PARTIES, INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES, WHO REQUEST TRANSCRIPTS, SUCH FEES THEREFOR AND NO OTHER, AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED FROM TIME TO TIME BY THE COURT SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE. NO FEE SHALL BE CHARGED OR TAXED FOR ANY COPY OF A TRANSCRIPT DELIVERED TO THE CLERK FOR THE RECORDS OF COURT AS REQUIRED BY SUBDIVISION (B) OF THIS SECTION. * * *

AS POINTED OUT IN YOUR LETTER, NO SPECIFIC PROVISION IS MADE IN THE QUOTED SECTION OR ELSEWHERE IN THE ACT FOR RATES OF COMPENSATION FOR REPORTERS APPOINTED ON A TEMPORARY BASIS, THE ABOVE QUOTED PROVISIONS PERTAINING TO COMPENSATION OF PERMANENT REPORTERS. IT APPEARS, THEREFORE, THAT THE FIXING OF THE RATES OF COMPENSATION OF TEMPORARY REPORTERS PROPERLY IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE. INDICATED ABOVE, SUCH COMPENSATION HAS BEEN FIXED BY THAT BODY ON A PER DIEM BASIS FOR TIME ACTUALLY SPENT IN TAKING THE TESTIMONY OR OTHER MATERIAL INVOLVED, AND ON A FEE BASIS FOR THE PREPARATION AND FURNISHING OF DESIRED TRANSCRIPTS THEREOF.

OFFICE DECISION OF NOVEMBER 14, 1945, SUPRA, CONTEMPLATED A SITUATION INVOLVING PERMANENT REPORTERS. AS POINTED OUT IN THAT DECISION, THE SENATE, IN EFFECTING VARIOUS AMENDMENTS TO THE BILL WHICH BECAME THE ACT OF JANUARY 20, 1944, STRUCK OUT A PROVISION FOR THE PAYMENT BY THE UNITED STATES, OUT OF MONEY APPROPRIATED FOR THAT PURPOSE, OF FEES FOR TRANSCRIPTS FURNISHED TO A JUDGE FOR HIS PERSONAL USE BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, INCREASED THE SALARY LIMITATION FOR REPORTERS. HENCE, IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT THERE WAS A SUBSTANTIAL BASIS FOR THE VIEW THAT THE SALARY LIMITATION WAS INCREASED IN ORDER TO COMPENSATE THE REPORTERS FOR THE ADDITIONAL SERVICE OF FURNISHING TRANSCRIPTS TO THE JUDGES WITHOUT CHARGE. HOWEVER, IF TEMPORARY REPORTERS--- COMPENSATED ON A PER DIEM BASIS FOR TIME ACTUALLY SPENT IN COURT--- ARE REQUIRED TO FURNISH TRANSCRIPTS TO JUDGES WITHOUT RECEIVING FEES THEREFOR, THEY WOULD RECEIVE NO COMPENSATION FOR THE TIME SPENT IN THE PREPARATION OF SUCH TRANSCRIPTS. ACCORDINGLY, THE DECISION OF NOVEMBER 14, 1945, IS NOT FOR APPLICATION.

THEREFORE, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE PAYMENT TO TEMPORARY REPORTERS EMPLOYED ON A PER DIEM BASIS OF OTHERWISE PROPER FEES FOR TRANSCRIPTS FURNISHED UPON A REQUEST OF A JUDGE OF THE COURT.