Date: November 8, 2001 Contact: Laura Kiernan
Court Information Officer
271-2646 x359



CONCORD—Chief Justice David A. Brock announced today that Christine Hawkins, the senior court monitor for audio-recording in Strafford County Superior Court, has been selected to receive a "Spirit of the Judiciary Award" for her professional commitment to the production of the highest quality record of court proceedings.

Audio recording was introduced to the trial court system in 1985 as a precise, cost-effective means for preserving the court record. Hawkins, who has been a court monitor in Strafford Superior Court for seven years, works with a pilot project in Strafford that uses up-to-date digital technology to enhance the quality and efficiency of the audio-record.

"I think this is the best job in the court system," Hawkins said, "There is nothing like being in the courtroom and being involved in that process, " she said.

Hawkins will receive the award from Chief Justice Brock at 9 a.m. Friday, November 9, 2001, in a ceremony at Strafford County Superior Court. Associate Justice Joseph P. Nadeau, who was Chief Justice of the Superior Court and the supervisory judge in Strafford County, Chief Justice Walter L. Murphy of the Superior Court and Associate Superior Court Justice Bruce E. Mohl who succeeded Nadeau as the supervisory justice in Strafford County, will also attend.

"The clear and accurate preservation of the minute by minute action in the courtroom is crucial for the parties involved, the trial judge, and to those of us on the Supreme Court who rely on transcripts of proceedings in deciding an appeal," Chief Justice Brock said. "Christine’s dedication to producing the best quality record is an invaluable service to our citizens and to the justice system."

Court monitors supplement the audio-record of court-proceedings with detailed notes, including information about the identity of participants and the introduction of physical evidence. The monitor’s notes aid both the judge, in referring back to the court record, and the transcriber who produces a printed record on request. Court monitors also provide administrative support to the judges.

Hawkins, who lives in Newmarket with her husband Christopher and their two children, began her career with the court system in 1990 in Rockingham County and has been the court monitor for Judge Mohl since 1994. She serves as the managing court monitor for the court system which includes co-ordinating meetings of the Court Monitor and Transcript Quality Committees, as well as organizing workshops and training.

"Christine takes great pride in her work, in her desire to always get it right the first time," Mohl said in a letter supporting her nomination. Hawkins has taken the initiative on many technological improvements in the court’s sound-recording system, Mohl said, and was instrumental in an effort to secure lap top computers for all court monitors.

"Without question, Christine has made my job as a trial judge easier and more effective," Mohl said.

The digital technology pilot project began operation in Mohl’s courtroom in July. Among other advances, including a higher quality sound, digital technology allows instant recall of any part of the court record. The system is portable, which means, with a lap top and a microphone, a recording can be made at locations away from the courthouse, such as a hearing at a prison site or a jury view of a crime scene.

"It’s a wonderful advancement for us," Hawkins said about the pilot project. "It’s where we hope to be going in the future."

The Spirit of the Judiciary Award was established by Chief Justice Brock in 1999 to honor Judicial Branch employees from around the state for their commitment to public service and the administration of justice.