As court reporters, Lisa Dillon and Barbara Hiers sit unobtrusively recording courtroom proceedings. The general public probably takes them for granted. But the legal community knows they are vital cogs in the criminal justice system.
Dillon, 57, and Hiers, 59, work closely with Miami Circuit Court Judge Tim Spahr and Superior Court Judges Dan Banina and David Grund.
Their job, which can get tedious at times, exposes Dillon and Hiers to slices of life.
“We have had many things happen in the courtroom over the years,” Hiers responded in an email interview when asked about her career. “Some are funny, but most are scary or just plain stupid. It is amazing how little respect [people] show the judge or the system, especially younger people.”
A court reporter’s job includes preparing orders, jury instructions, transcripts, appeal transcripts, under-advisement orders, court budgets, payroll and claims.
Court reporters are able to do their job without any formal training.
“It is all-on-the-job training,” said Hiers, who was born in Peru, raised in Bunker Hill and graduated from Maconaquah High. “The job is very specialized.”
Dillon, who also was born in Peru, graduated from Peru High and went on to Purdue, said in an email, “Basically [court reporting] is self-taught. No classes were required by the county.”
Dillon is the daughter of James A. Carden, who worked in the Miami County Surveyor’s office, and Phyllis (Redmon) Carden, who was a stay-at-home mom. Lisa worked in high school and college as a waitress and cook at Blair’s Restaurant and had jobs at the Peru Municipal Golf Course and Mississinewa Reservoir.
After college, she came home to care for her mother, who eventually died of cancer in 1982. Her father was working in the surveyor’s office at the time and told her about an opening in the clerk’s office.