What would you be doing if you weren’t a court reporter?
I’d go back to college and get a master’s degree in either ancient history because of my love of travel or accounting. I think you keep learning all your life.
What’s the most significant change you’ve seen in the Judicial Branch during your service?
Of course, e-Filing, for one thing. I think also changing the punishment levels and making the trials bifurcated (Criminal trials have guilt and sentencing phases. Civil trials have liability and damages phases).
What do you think is the biggest problem facing courts today?
It would have to be the complete breakdown of society, morals, and a complete disregard for the laws. People don’t think they have to obey them.
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do?
I watch TV, go out with friends, and I read anything I can get my hands on. I like biographies, historical novels, pretty much anything. I read a lot of nonfiction but I read a lot of fiction too. Right now I’m reading The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ. I travel a lot as well.
Where have you traveled?
I travel with a friend who is an attorney. We’ve been to Croatia, Vietnam, Thailand, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Malta, Montenegro, all of Eastern Europe, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Hong Kong, all over the United States, Canada – you know, just here and there.
What’s your favorite place to which you’ve traveled?
Egypt, because of the history; there’s just so much to see. We got to the pyramids and our group was getting ready to go inside the big one and I was standing there looking up at it and I couldn’t talk for 10 minutes. I was just so blown away. Here’s this little hick from Arkansas standing in front of one of the wonders of the world. You feel like an ant. In the scheme of things, you’re nothing; you’re like a wisp of air. It was wonderful.
What’s your favorite memory from your travels?
There’s two, actually. One was taking a tour of Moscow at night. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen St. Basil’s lit up at night. We came around the corner one night and it was lit up. It was incredible. The other is when we went to Angkor Wat and saw the temple. My friend and I got up early and rented a tut-tut and went down there and took pictures at sunrise. It was beautiful.
Where are you planning to go next?
We were planning to go to Morocco but I don’t know about that yet. I would love to go on safari; I would really love to do that. I’d like to go Italy, to the Amalfi Coast. I’d like to go to Herculaneum and Pompeii. I’d like to go to Manchu Picchu in the Andes. I’d love to go to Petra, in Jordan. Put me on a plane and I’m happy.
What is it about traveling that you love so much?
I think it’s the freedom and the learning -- seeing things you’ve never seen before, meeting people, trying new food, and shopping. Everything comes together to make you what you are. Traveling rounds you out. Every country is special. There’s just so much to see.
What advice would you give to the younger generation of court employees?
Don’t be afraid to work hard; that’s what you’re there for. You’re not going to get anywhere unless you’re willing to work hard, and your hard work will be rewarded. You can have anything you want if you’re willing to work for it, don’t stab anybody in the back, and don’t lie on the way up.