79 Op. Att'y Gen. 157 (1990)
 
79 OAG 157    158    159

Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions

28 September 1990

Opinion # OAG 29-90

Court Reporters; Public Records;

Counties are not required to provide free
copy machine services for court reporters who
collect fees under section 814.69(2), Stats.,
for furnishing transcripts to parties.

KENNETH J. BUKOWSKI,
Corporation Counsel Brown County

You have asked for my opinion as to whether
under section 753.19, Stats., a county must
"provide free copy machine services for
state-employed court reporters when those
court reporters make copies of transcripts
for non-indigent litigants when the court
reporters are being paid by the litigant
for the transcript copies?"

In my opinion, the answer is no.

You state that court reporters charge the
recipients of the transcripts for copies
while at the same time refusing to
reimburse the county for the use
of the copying facilities.

Section 753.19 provides,
in relevant part, that

"the cost of operation of the circuit
court for each county . . . shall
be paid by the county."

The Wisconsin Supreme Court interpreted
Section 753.19 in
Contempt in State v. Lehman,
137 Wis.2d 65,
403 N.W.2d 438 (1987).

In Lehman, the court considered whether the
county was required to pay the reasonable
attorney fees of counsel appointed by
the court to assist an indigent
criminal defendant.

The court concluded that the county was
required to pay the attorney fees under
section 753.19 because the trial court
had determined that the appointment of
the stand-by counsel was essential and
that payment of the fees was not mandated
by other provisions of the statutes.

Lehman, 137 Wis.2d at 83.

Likewise, in Romasko v. Milwaukee,
108 Wis.2d 32, 36-37, 321 N.W.2d 123 (1982),
the supreme court held that where a guardian
ad litem is appointed by a court to represent
an indigent minor and no specific provision
for payment of fees appears in the statute,
the county of venue must pay those fees
under Section 753.19.

The court concluded that the guardian ad
litem fee is a necessary cost of the
operation of the court because the
guardian ad litem's services enable
the court to perform its duty of
providing protection to the minor.

Romasko, 108 Wis.2d at 42.

 
79 OAG 157    158    159

In contrast, in 74 Op. Att'y Gen. 164, 168
(1985), the attorney general concluded that
the bar dues of circuit court judges are not
a cost of operation of the circuit court but
rather are personal professional costs.

The attorney general reasoned that the bar
dues of individuals licensed as attorneys to
serve as circuit judges are not a court's
necessities which would permit a court to
utilize its inherent power to compel the
county to pay such dues under Section 753.19.

In my opinion, the copying costs of a court
reporter are not a cost of operation of a
circuit court when the reporter is providing
copies of transcripts to non-indigent parties
who have requested the transcript and/or
copies of the transcript pursuant to
Section 757.57(5).

Section 757.57(5) allows any party to a
proceeding to request the reporter to
make a typewritten transcript.

Under section 814.69(2) the reporter receives
a fee from the party requesting the
transcript of $1.75 per twenty-five line page
for the original and sixty cents per
twenty-five line page for each copy.

If the state is the requester, the reporter
receives $1.50 per twenty-five line page
for the original and fifty cents
per page for each copy.

See also SCR 71.04(6) and (11).

Thus, the reporters are reimbursed for their
expenses in preparing a transcript by the
party who requests the transcript.

The transcripts are prepared for the benefit
of the parties who request them, not
for the benefit of the court.

Therefore, under section 753.19 counties are
not required to provide free copy machine
services for court reporters who collect fees
under section 814.69(2) for furnishing
transcripts to parties.

DJH:LS

 
79 OAG 157    158    159