Court Reporter Donna Turner Retires

Donna Turner

Donna Turner retired from the Western District of Missouri on April 30, 2010, after almost 19 years of federal service with The Honorable Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. and over 50 years of experience as a court reporter. 

Donna first became interested in court reporting when she was in high school in northern Minnesota. A court reporting school from Minneapolis distributed fliers in her Gregg shorthand class, which is the first she had ever heard of such a career. She had always enjoyed reading mysteries, and this new opportunity intrigued her. She decided to give it a try, and the rest is history.

Upon completion of her court reporting studies in 1960, Donna moved to Kansas City to do freelance deposition work for the firm of Howard Rittmaster & Associates. She did that for 12 years and then began working for The Honorable Forest Hanna at Jackson County Circuit Court. Donna had worked for Judge Hanna for more than 18 years by the time she began working for Judge Gaitan here in the Western District.

During the time Donna worked at Jackson County, she worked on three separate cases involving the Hyatt disaster. Also, a courtroom scene from the 1990 movie “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge,” starring screen legend Paul Newman, was filmed in Judge Hanna’s courtroom. In the movie, the courtroom scene lasts about 30 seconds, yet the filming took an entire day. Donna and other court staff watched the filming from the courtroom gallery, and they also got to meet Paul Newman in the judge’s chambers.  

Donna has also served as the court reporter in several noteworthy cases in federal court. This includes three death penalty cases that went to jury trial, including the Keith Nelson case.

Donna demonstrated extraordinary skill during her career as a court reporter by winning the Missouri Court Reporters Association speed contest not just once, but twice. This means she wrote at a sustained speed of 260 words per minute with the highest degree of accuracy. She has also worked with court reporting students for many years as a member of the MCRA Student Affairs Committee. 

Donna is currently enjoying retirement by gardening and tackling various landscaping jobs around the house. She also plans to relax, sleep in as often as possible, and travel to Oregon to visit her sister and brother-in-law. We wish Donna all the best as she embarks on this exciting new chapter of her life!


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