Certified Court Reporter Hopes to Transition to the Other Side of the Bench
For some certified court reporters, their legal career does not end by taking depositions. In fact, one Pennsylvania court reporter may end up on the other side of the bench in the judge’s seat.
Donna Bealing Elicker, who is a well-known court reporter in York, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lancaster counties, has been in the courtroom practically her entire life. He mother Margaret Klinedinst Bria was the district judge for Penn and West Manheim for nearly 50 years, and Elicker is prepared to step up and take her place. The spot is currently held by James Miner, who will retire in Jan. 2018 after 20 years of service.
Elicker has seen practically every angle of the district court. As a child she would spend plenty of time in her mother’s chambers at the court room. Other times her mother’s work may have followed her home.
“We used to have an office in our house that (police) would bring people to at night,” said Elicker. There they may be arraigned on new charges immediately.
Elicker’s high school guidance counselor was the first to suggest becoming a court reporter because of her exceptional skills on a typewriter. In order to become certified by the NCRA, one must be able to type at least 225 words per minute.
After receiving an associate’s degree in specialized business from Central Penn College in 1979, she followed her counselor’s advice and took up the profession. She says that she’s loved it ever since. As a freelancer, she has remained plenty busy.
Working in five counties, she’s seen plenty of cases. She’s written transcripts for a variety of hearings, as well as other court proceedings. She’s been present in federal, county, and district courts, and has also worked with attorneys to obtain depositions.
As a judge, Elicker believes that her unlikely background could be very beneficial.
“I have the unique experience of working for both the prosecution and the defense, and remaining impartial,” she said. “I have found that good people do bad things and bad people do good things. I would keep an open mind and judge a case impartially, without any preconceived notions, and apply the law to the facts.”
While it is not rare for certified court reporters to make the transition to other careers within the legal system, Elicker’s ascension would not only be pivotal, but it would also likely make her mother proud.