Love of language thrives in court

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Rhea Rangel loves language in all forms.

Richmond County court reporter Rhea Rangel records everything said in Superior Court Judge Duncan D. Wheale's courtroom, transcribing it later.  Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Richmond County court reporter Rhea Rangel records everything said in Superior Court Judge Duncan D. Wheale's courtroom, transcribing it later.

This 25-year-old Harlem native works as a court reporter for Superior Court Judge Duncan D. Wheale, recording everything that is said in court and transcribing it later for anyone to read.

Mrs. Rangel said she loves to work with words. She even loves punctuation and grammar. She is thrilled when an attorney uses a word she has to look up.

But English is just one language she knows.

Mrs. Rangel learned sign language when she was 14. A deaf man had joined her Jehovah's Witnesses congregation and she and other members of the Kingdom Hall wanted to be able to communicate with him.

And on a trip to Mexico for an assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses, she met Damian Rangel and fell in love. Only one thing stood in their way -- she had to learn Spanish and he had to learn English.

"It's amazing what love will make you learn," Mrs. Rangel said.

It's a matter of practicing constantly, she said. Being open to new things is crucial, too.

Her job is one she hadn't expected. After graduating from Harlem High School, Mrs. Rangel said she wasn't sure what she should do for a living. She was interested in law and considered becoming a paralegal. At the time, however, the only school in Georgia that offered the curriculum was an expensive private college, she said.

A neighbor who was a lawyer suggested court reporting, Mrs. Rangel said. After visiting Midland State in Columbia, she decided to sign up.

The classes run for two years, but students finish when they can type 225 words a minute on the stenograph writer machine, Mrs. Rangel said.

In November 2005 she began working for Judge Wheale full time. It's a great job, she said. She works for herself but she gets to be around people, too.

Occasionally, Mrs. Rangel has been called on to translate Spanish in court. And once she was able to help a deaf woman understand what was going on during a court proceeding.

Mrs. Rangel said she enjoys being able to flow through the English, Spanish and deaf communities.

"Once you get into that world, you know everyone," Mrs. Rangel said.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or


AGE: 25

FAMILY: Married Damian Rangel in November 2004

JOB: Has worked as a court reporter since November 2005

SKILLS: Although she isn't certified, Mrs. Rangel is fluent in Spanish and sign language

Comments (7) Add comment
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iletuknow 02/04/08 - 05:19 pm
Never ever give them your

Never ever give them your address!

spotted_assassin 02/04/08 - 07:49 pm
WOW! The Jehovah's Witnesses

WOW! The Jehovah's Witnesses that come to my house never look like her. I might let them in if they did!

BTS 02/05/08 - 12:53 pm
A very well done story about

A very well done story about an asset to the community. Why does the fact she is a Witness draw so much negativity? If she were a Baptist or Pentecostal, would she draw so much ill will? Christ said we are to love one another and forgive one another..and that is still fine advice.

jerome 02/05/08 - 10:25 pm
I had met Rhea at a Spanish

I had met Rhea at a Spanish Book Study. I never realized her skills. Thank you for telling us about her. We treasure such dedicated servants of Jehovah.

cm_tech 10/10/08 - 01:28 am
After the 16-5-42. 01-

After the 16-5-42. 01- 05

Duncan Wheale paid $120,000 to former Attorney General Mike Bowers (in the early part of the new millennium) as reported by a Chronicle writer. The payment was for Wheale’s courtroom gun antics and terroristic threats defense. The GBI investigation discovered much more than the original file charged being investigated would uncover: 1) A court reporters testimony that JDW had requested official tapes be destroyed. 2) That the tape destroyed contained JDW making another gun threat on tape while in a courtroom prior to the WTC event, and the ATL jail killings. 3) By default this means the Judge lied to GBI investigators when first questioned about guns in the courtroom. 4) Telling men in a courtroom he is going to have them beaten and sodomized by 6 200+ lb men isn’t sadistic, it’s purely Satanic. 5) Many bar members complained that the were neither able to be present at hearings nor were they able to present their case testimony if they were in the courtroom 6) Removing jewelry from a defendant (as witnessed by Michael Spence) is theft by taking, jewelry goes into State Custody with personal belongings during the jail booking processes 7) One mo

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