6th Floor (and Court Reporters)
The sixth floor of the U.S. Courthouse houses three (3) courtrooms and chambers, as well as the offices of this court’s Court Reporters.
Courtroom 6A is home to District Judge Mark R. Hornak. Judge Hornak came to the court from the Pittsburgh office of the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, an office that has also sent two other district judges to our court. As a practicing attorney, Judge Hornak served as the Solicitor to the Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, which developed and constructed PNC Park, Heinz Field, Consol Energy Center and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Courtroom 6C is presided over by Senior Judge Terrence McVerry. Under certain circumstances, a judge who has both attained a certain age and served for a specified number of years may retain his or her office but retire from regular active service. (28 U.S.C. § 371(b)-(e).) Judges who exercise this option are said to enjoy “retirement in senior status.” (28 U.S.C. § 371.) While senior judges have a smaller caseload than active judges, they serve an important role in the administration of justice in this district and are an active and vital part of the bench.
Senior Judge McVerry is a former state legislator and state court Judge. In a memorable case involving free speech rights, Judge McVerry ruled that a school district could not punish a student for creating an off-campus parody of his principal on MySpace, since the school district could not show any disruption to school-related activities.
This floor, along with space on the 5th floor, is home to several of the court’s Court reporters. The other reporters have their offices on the 6th floor. Highly accurate records and transcripts of court proceedings are critical to the administration of justice. Court reporters maintain the courtroom record and produce transcripts of court proceedings according to strict standards.
Court reporters attend a college or business school and usually receive an associate's degree. National testing standards require prospective court reporters to perform at an initial speed of 225 words per minute and a later speed of 260 words per minute.
Court reporters also required to be certified in the state-of-the-art technology known as “Realtime” translation. You may be familiar with “Realtime” reporting from watching the closed captions on your television. During a live broadcast, a court reporter is listening to the audio, writing it onto his or her machine, and sending it through their phone lines to satellites, where it arrives in homes and businesses in about two seconds. Court reporters in the district courts use this technology to instantly convert speech into text that can be read, searched, and studied. Only a certified court reporter can produce a “Realtime” record which gives instant access to the transcript of court proceedings, enabling judges to review objections before issuing rulings. The software used for “Realtime” reporting allows users to flag important text, cut-and-paste text, search text, and generate various reports.
Court reporters can also be employed by private firms which handle depositions and other proceedings outside of the courthouse. They can likewise be employed as CART providers. (CART stands for “Communications Access Realtime Translation.”) CART reporters use “Realtime” technology in classroom settings, where lessons for deaf and hearing-impaired students are translated.