The front cover of A Handbook for Georgia Court Officials on Courtroom Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities, 2017 edition. A meaningful opportunity to participate.  Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee, Judicial Council of Georgia, Administrative Office of the Courts.

Access to Justice for People with Disabilities:

A Guide for Georgia Courts

Access, Fairness, Public Trust and

 Confidence Committee

 

Judicial Council of Georgia

2017


 

Table of Contents

 

Access to Justice for People with Disabilities: 1

Table of Contents. 1

Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee. 1

Acknowledgements for 2017 Edition. 1

Georgia Commission on Access and Fairness in the Courts. 1

Acknowledgements for 2004 Edition. 1

Introduction. 1

PART I: An Overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. 1

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1

Defining Disability under the ADA. 1

Individuals Protected by the ADA. 1

Activities Covered by the ADA. 1

Reasonable Modification of Policies. 1

Effective Communication. 1

Integrated Settings. 1

Physical Accessibility. 1

PART II: Removing Common Barriers to Access to Court Programs. 1

General Considerations. 1

Interaction in the Courtroom.. 1

Accommodating Individuals Who Use Service Animals. 1

Accommodating Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities. 1

Accommodating Individuals with Mental Health Disabilities. 1

Accommodating Individuals Who Use Mobility Devices. 1

Support Service Providers or Aides. 1

Determining Accommodations for Judicial Activities. 1

Activities Carried out by Third Parties, Including Contractors. 1

PART III: Removing Communication Barriers. 1

Assistive Listening Systems. 1

Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) Services. 1

Sign Language and Oral Interpreters. 1

Text Telephones (TTYs) 1

Telecommunications Relay Services. 1

Video Remote Interpreting. 1

Public Service Announcements and Videos. 1

Alternative Formats for Print Documents. 1

Websites. 1

Other Electronic and Information Technology. 1

PART IV: Program Access – Removing Common Barriers to Physical Access. 1

Existing Facilities. 1

Setting Priorities. 1

New Construction and Alterations. 1

Historic Preservation. 1

PART V: Working and Interacting with People with Particular Disabilities. 1

Using Person-First Language. 1

Interacting with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. 1

Interacting with People Who Have Speech or Language Disorders. 1

Interacting with People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision. 1

Interacting with People Who Have Mobility Impairments. 1

Interacting with People Who Have Cognitive Disabilities. 1

Interacting with People with Mental Health Disabilities. 1

PART VI: Developing an Accommodation Protocol 1

Step 1: Identify and train a contact person for disability-related matters. 1

Step 2: Involve people with disabilities and disability-related organizations in proactively identifying and resolving potential and existing access barriers. 1

Step 3: Establish a procedure for evaluating accommodation requests in a timely manner and educate court personnel. 1

Step 4: Notify the public about the court's accommodation process. 1

Step 5: Implement a grievance procedure. 1

Conclusion. 1

List of Appendixes: 1

Appendix A: Notices. 1

NOTICE UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT. 1

NOTICE TO INDIVIDUALS WITH A DISABILITY. 1

PROCEDURE FOR PROVIDING ACCESS PRIOR TO FULL PHYSICAL ACCESSIBILITY OF FALL RIVER REGISTRY OF DEEDS. 1

Appendix B: Request for Reasonable Modifications. 1

Appendix C: Sample Grievance Procedures and Complaint Forms. 1

Appendix D: Department of Justice’s ADA Settlements, Technical Assistance Materials, and Other Information. 1

ADA Settlements and Consent Agreements (listed in alphabetical order by state) 1

The DOJ Agreements reached through Project Civic Access (PCA) (listed in alphabetical order by state) 1

THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE LETTERS OF FINDING (listed in alphabetical order by state) 1

The DOJ Informal Settlements and Mediation (listed by year) 1

Appendix E: Georgia Statutes, Rules, Case Law, and Resources. 1

General Statutes Protecting Individuals with Disabilities. 1

Accessibility: Selected Statutory and Regulatory Provisions. 1

Selected Statutory Provisions Relating to the Court System.. 1

Court Orders, Policies and Resources Regarding People with Disabilities. 1

Cases. 1

Other Resources. 1

Helpful Links. 1

Appendix F: Selected Federal Cases. 1

Supreme Court Case. 1

Federal Circuit Court and District Court Cases. 1

Appendix G: Website Accessibility. 1

Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities. 1

Online Barriers Faced By People with Disabilities. 1

Accessible Design Benefits Everyone. 1

Resources for Web Developers. 1

Information about the ADA. 1

Appendix H: Other Useful Websites and Information. 1

Appendix I: Information and Resources regarding Sign Language Interpreters. 1

Frequently Asked Questions about Sign Language Interpreters in the Courtroom.. 1

Sign Language Interpreter’s Code of Professional Conduct 1

Questions to Consider when Establishing an Interpreter’s Qualifications (Possible Responses are listed on the following page) 1

Appendix J: Information and Resources Regarding Alternate Document Formats. 1

Appendix K. Checklist for Identifying Facility-Related Barriers in Existing Courthouses. 1

Priority 1 – Approach & Entrance. 1

Priority 1 – Approach & Entrance. 1

Parking. 1

Exterior Accessible Route. 1

Curb Ramps. 1

Ramps. 1

Entrance. 1

Priority 2 – Access to Goods and Services. 1

Priority 2 Access to Goods & Services. 1

Interior Accessible Route. 1

Ramps. 1

Elevators-Full Size & LULA (limited use, limited application) 1

Platform lifts. 1

Signs. 1

Interior Doors –. 1

Rooms and Spaces – stores, supermarkets, libraries, etc. 1

Controls – light switches, security and intercom systems, emergency/alarm boxes, etc. 1

Seating: Assembly Areas and Courtrooms, etc. 1

Seating: At dining surfaces (restaurants, cafeterias, bars, etc.) and non-employee work surfaces (libraries, conference rooms, etc.) 1

Seating: General-reception areas, waiting rooms, etc. 1

Benches – In locker rooms, dressing rooms, fitting rooms. 1

Service Counters. 1

Food Service Lines – in cafeterias, salad bars, eat-in fast food establishments, etc. 1

Justice Facilities-in courtrooms, jury service, inmate handling, visitation, etc. 1

Priority 3 – Toilet Rooms. 1

Priority 3 – Toilet Rooms. 1

Accessible Route. 1

Signs at Toilet Rooms. 1

Entrance. 1

In the Toilet Room.. 1

Lavatories. 1

Soap Dispensers and Hand Dryers. 1

Water Closets in Single-User Toilet Rooms and Compartments (Stalls) 1

Toilet Compartments (Stalls) 1

 

Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee

 

 

Judicial Council of Georgia

Administrative Office of the Courts

 

Justice Robert Benham, Co-Chair

Justice Carol W. Hunstein, Co-Chair

 


Honorable Sara L. Doyle        

Honorable Gail S. Tusan

Honorable Linda S. Cowen

Honorable Jane Morrison

Honorable Sherry Moore

Honorable Robert Rodatus

Joy Lampley-Fortson

Coy Johnson, Jr.           

David M. Sneed            

Will Simmons

Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper
Honorable Britt C. Grant

Honorable Joseph H. Booth

Honorable Jason Thompson

Honorable Cassandra Kirk

Honorable LaTisha Dear Jackson    

V. Sharon Edenfield

Lori Gelchion

Monica Khant

Tracy Johnson

Antonio DelCampo

 


 

Staff: Karlise Yvette Grier, Committee Liaison and Staff Attorney on Contract

 


 

 Acknowledgements for 2017 Edition

 

This handbook is an update to “A Meaningful Opportunity to Participate: A Handbook for Georgia Court Officials on Courtroom Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities,” developed by the Georgia Commission on Access and Fairness in the Courts in 2004.

 

This revision is based partly on an unpublished manual drafted by Jacqueline Barney Okin, J.D., and Irene Bowen, J.D., for the Southeast ADA Center (Center) (www.adasoutheast‌.org), a project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University (www.bbi.syr.edu).

 

Authors:                      Irene Bowen, J.D. and Larry Goldberg, J.D., Partners, ADA One, LLC

 

Contributing Editor:   Cara Gilad

 

Contributors:              Patricia Buonodono               Steve Jones

            Karlise Yvette Grier                Stacey Peace

                                    Mike Galifianaki                                    Bruce Shaw

                                    Jessica Farah                           David Sneed

Tracy Johnson                                                            Barbara Tucker

                                    Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper   Honorable Joseph Booth

                                    Honorable Gail Tusan            Mike Cuccaro

                                    William Patterson III 

Judicial Council’s Administrative Office of the Courts: Cynthia Clanton, Director

Special Thanks to: Honorable Joseph Booth and Honorable Gail Tusan

 

Front and back cover photographs of Georgia Supreme Court entrance and State Seal of Georgia courtesy of Barbara Tucker

 

Funding for this document was provided by Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission, State ADA Coordinator’s Office.

© The Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee, January 2017


Georgia Commission on Access and Fairness in the Courts

 

2004-2005 Membership

 

Justice Carol W. Hunstein, Chair

 

Linda A. Klein, Esq., Vice-Chair                                                                      Honorable Barbara J. Mobley Professor Marjorie Girth                              Lisa E. Chang, Esq.

Honorable Steven C. Jones                                                                      Honorable Cynthia Wright 

Honorable Nina M. Radakovich                                                                      Honorable Nelly Withers

Gwendolyn R. Keyes, Esq.                            Honorable James Bass

Honorable Brenda S. Weaver                      R. Gary Spencer, Esq.

Robert Woo, Esq.                                                                      Allegra Lawrence, Esq. Albert Bolet, III., Esq.                                   Carrie Baker, Ph.D.

Honorable Wayne M. Purdom                                                                      Honorable Robin S. Nash

Honorable Constance Russell                                                                      William K. Whitner, Esq.

Maria Tsagaris

 

Staff:   Stephanie Chambliss, Program Manager, AOC 

Marla S. Moore, Senior Associate Director, AOC

            Helen Scholes, Asst. Director of Human Resources, AOC

Accessibility Advisory Team

 

Justice Carol W. Hunstein                                                                      Lisa E. Chang, Esq.

Honorable Thomas C. Bobbitt, III              Dianne Brannen, Esq. 

Honorable Joseph Booth                             Judson Bryant 

Honorable Mary Carden                            Mike Galifianakis, Esq.

Honorable Craig Schwall                                                                      Professor Adam Milani, Esq. 

Honorable Susan Tate                                 Pat Puckett

Dr. Jenny Manders                                                                      Tamara Rorie, Esq. 

Burrell Ellis (Represented by Matthew Cielinski)


Acknowledgements for 2004 Edition

 

 Principal Author:       Curtis D. Edmonds, J.D. 

Member, State Bar of Georgia and State Bar of Texas.

 

Contributors:            Tim Bromley                        Marla S. Moore

Cynthia Briscoe Brown          Pat Puckett

Frances Finegan                                                         Helen Scholes 

Diane Fowler                                                         Heidi Thomas

 Mike Galifianakis                                                         Vanessa Volz

 LaEbonia Griffin                                                         John Weber

 Christine Kempton                                                         Marc Wilkerson

 Jenny Manders

Special Thanks to:    Jim Bostrom                            Linda Hanscombe

Mike Charmatz                                                 Richard Reeves

Mary Ann Eaddy                     Dave Yanchulis

 Cover Photo:               Dave Adams, Photographer

© Georgia Commission on Access and Fairness in the Courts, December 2004


 

Introduction

 

Including individuals with disabilities among people who count in composing "We the People," Congress understood in shaping the ADA, would sometimes require not blindfolded equality, but responsiveness to difference; not indifference, but accommodation.

 

- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,

concurring in Tennessee v. Lane,

May 17, 2004[1]

 

Dispensing justice fairly, efficiently and accurately is a cornerstone of the judiciary. Policies and practices that deny individuals with disabilities meaningful access to courts undermine that cornerstone. Equal access is fundamental to ensuring due process, equal protection, and civil rights – and to empowering people with disabilities to fully participate in the judicial system through access to all activities afforded to the public.

 

Disability is a natural part of life. Some people acquire disabilities at birth, such as cerebral palsy, while others acquire them later in life, such as severe arthritis or low vision. Some people have obvious disabilities, such as blindness, while others experience “hidden” disabilities, such as diabetes, deafness, HIV infection, and epilepsy. Some individuals experience disability on a temporary basis, such as during cancer treatment, while others have permanent or progressive disabilities.

 

At any time, people with disabilities may come into contact with our court system as jurors, parties, witnesses, observers, or community members. More and more frequently, people with disabilities are serving as lawyers, clerks, court reporters, mediators and judges in state court systems.

 

Some individuals with disabilities are able to take part in various court processes and activities without difficulty. For many others, a disability, combined with environmental obstacles, imposes significant barriers to an equal opportunity to participate. The courts have an affirmative obligation to identify and remove these barriers so that people with disabilities can access court programs and services, including judicial proceedings, jury service, and courthouse meetings.

 

 

Common barriers to access include:

·       Lack of awareness or unintended insensitivity to disability-related concerns;

·       Lack of effective auxiliary aids and services for individuals with communication disabilities;

·       Inaccessible court facilities for individuals with mobility impairments;

·       Inflexible court policies, practices, and procedures that fail to address disability-related issues.

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was designed to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities. It is important to view participation by people with disabilities in court activities and services in the context of the civil rights of those individuals. But as to disability discrimination, implementing those rights will not always mean simply equal treatment; as Justice Ginsburg suggested, doing so will at times require affirmative steps to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities.

 

This guide is intended to help state and local courts in the State of Georgia understand and comply with their responsibilities under Title II of the ADA. It is not intended as a complete ADA compliance manual; instead it is a resource for courts.[2] Within the constraints of the ADA and state law, judges have discretion as to the proceedings over which they preside. The guide is meant to assist them in exercising their discretion and to assist court managers and staff with approaches to common issues and compliance.

 

Part I of the guide presents an overview of the ADA and a related law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The guide then discusses common barriers to full access to judicial services (Parts II through IV) and offers tips for interacting with people with various disabilities (Part V). Part VI suggests steps for developing an accommodation protocol.

 

Some of the principles set out in the body of the guide are illustrated with selected cases and settlement agreements, in Appendices A through F. The appendices also include sample forms, procedures, and notices. Appendix E includes Georgia-specific statutes, rules, resources, and cases. Appendices G and H offer resources related to accessible websites, and Appendix I contains resources related to sign language interpreters.

 

For more information, training, or technical assistance, please contact (404) 656-5171 or www.georgiacourts.org/aoc/.


Part I: An Overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Tab image.

PART I: An Overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

 

State and local courts have an affirmative

obligation to take proactive steps to remove barriers to access for

people with disabilities. This handbook is designed to help courts in

Georgia identify and remove those barriers.

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 "to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities."[3] The ADA is the world's most comprehensive national law protecting the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. At the time the ADA was passed, about 20% of Americans experienced some form of disability; the same is true today. In its lengthy findings about the necessity of the ADA, Congress stated that "the continuing existence of unfair and unnecessary discrimination and prejudice denies people with disabilities the opportunity to compete on an equal basis and to pursue those opportunities for which our free society is justifiably famous, and costs the United States billions of dollars in unnecessary expenses resulting from dependency and non-productivity."[4]

In 2008, Congress passed the ADA Amendments Act,[5] which broadened the definitions of disability under the original law, enabling a greater number of individuals with disabilities to seek protection under the law. These amendments went into effect January 1, 2009.

Additionally, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973[6] prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of federal financial assistance. Because most state and local courts receive federal funding, they are also covered by Section 504. Its requirements are very similar to those of the ADA.

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in many aspects of our society. Title II of the ADA applies to activities of state and local governments, including state and local courts and activities related to them.[7]  In the administration of justice, courts must provide an equal opportunity for people with disabilities to participate in all the programs the courts offer. Courts may not exclude people with disabilities, deny them the benefits of participation, or provide them different, unequal, or separate benefits. Courts may not implement eligibility criteria for program participation, licensing, or certification, or contracting that discriminate on the basis of disability. The facilities in which programs and services are carried out must be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. Courts must make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to avoid discrimination and ensure effective communication with people who have hearing, speech, or vision disabilities.

 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) enforces Title II of the ADA, issues the regulations that apply to state and local courts, and provides significant technical assistance. You should consult DOJ’s website, www.ada.gov, for the regulations and other helpful materials. The original regulations for Title II were adopted in 1991, but amendments to the regulations were effective as of March 15, 2011. Pay close attention to the changes made by the 2010 regulations, particularly as they affect courthouse design, construction standards, effective communication, and service animals.

 

Defining Disability under the ADA

The ADA defines an individual with a disability as a person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a "record of" such an impairment; or is (3) "regarded as" having such an impairment.[8]

A physical impairment is defined as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.[9] A mental impairment is defined as any mental or psychological disorder, such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.[10]

Major life activities are defined by the law to include such activities as: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.[11] Major life activities also include the operation of major bodily functions, such as the functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.[12]

Prior to the ADA Amendments Act, much ADA litigation focused on the definition of disability and whether particular individuals were substantially limited in a major life activity. The ADA Amendments Act was intended to clarify that the definition of disability is to be construed broadly in order to provide maximum coverage. Therefore, courts and other covered entities should not focus on questioning whether a person is legally protected, but rather on avoiding discriminatory actions.

The first of the three prongs of the definition applies to anyone who actually has a substantial limitation. The second prong covers individuals who have a "record of" an impairment although they are currently not impaired in any way. For example, an individual with cancer may have taken significant time off from work for chemotherapy. Years later, a potential employer, noticing the gap in employment, may decide not to hire that individual even though the individual is currently not impaired in any way. If the decision not to hire the individual was based on the individual’s medical history, the individual would be covered by the ADA because of the past "record of" a disability.

The third prong of the ADA definition of disability covers individuals who are "regarded as" having an impairment by a covered entity. This prong covers (1) individuals who are believed to have impairments that they do not have or (2) individuals who are believed to have substantially limiting impairments when, in fact, the impairments are not so limiting. For example, a person with severe burn scars who is not substantially limited in any way may be treated as having substantial limitations.

Individuals Protected by the ADA

The ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities. An individual is qualified (e.g., to be a witness, juror, or other participant) when he or she meets the essential eligibility requirements for participation.[13] Eligibility requirements for participation in court programs must not unnecessarily exclude persons with disabilities and must not be based on stereotypes, speculation, or arbitrary bases. Instead, the determination of whether a person with a disability is qualified must be made on a case by case basis. When determining whether someone is qualified, courts must take into account whether he or she is qualified with or without (1) reasonable modifications to their policies, practices, and procedures, (2) provision of auxiliary aids or services, and/or (3) removal of architectural and communication barriers. For example, a potential juror who is blind or deaf will be qualified to serve if reasonable modifications or auxiliary aids (such as large print, a reader, or a sign language interpreter) are provided.

The ADA also provides protections against discrimination for individuals who have a known relationship or association with persons who have disabilities. For example, a woman who does not have a disability is a defendant in a criminal proceeding; she seeks the presence of her husband at the trial, so that he can be informed about the proceeding and support her. Her husband, who is deaf and uses an oral interpreter as his preferred means of communication, requests and is denied an interpreter. Both the husband, who has a disability, and the woman, who is associated with a person with a disability, would be individuals protected by the ADA in this instance.[14]

Activities Covered by the ADA

All services, programs, and activities of a court are covered by Title II's nondiscrimination mandate. These activities include the juror selection process,[15] trials, hearings, mediations,[16] meetings, courthouse security procedures, detention, courthouse weddings,[17] and access to information, libraries, publications, websites, dispute resolution programs, and seminars offered by the court. The ADA protects all participants, including parties, witnesses, jurors, observers,[18] attendees at events, and attorneys.[19] Title II applies both to participation in the programs of the court and to the physical accessibility of courtrooms and courthouse structures. It applies to activities carried out by entities with which courts contract for services, such as security, transcription, and record retention.

The reach of Section 504 and the ADA is at least as broad as that of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,[20] which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. For example, the State of Georgia’s rule on interpreters has specifically set out other court-managed functions subject to Title VI, such as information counters, intake or filing offices, cashiers, records rooms, pro se clinics, and detention facilities.

Title II does not reach certain internal administrative functions of the court that are not open to the public, such as regular meetings for courthouse personnel. However, a court may have to provide reasonable accommodations to court employees with disabilities under the employment (Title I) provisions of the ADA.

Reasonable Modification of Policies

Courts must modify their general policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to allow a person with a disability to participate equally in court activities. A court may need to modify policies, rules, prohibitions, requirements, and procedures to accommodate a person’s disability, even if “this is the way we’ve always done it.” Changes are required as long as they are necessary and reasonable and do not fundamentally alter the court program. Fundamental alterations are those that are so significant that they alter the essential nature of the program, service, or activity being provided. The court bears the burden of establishing that a fundamental alteration would result.

 

Many policy modifications affect so many people with disabilities that policy changes and plans for accommodation should be made in advance of a request. Policies that commonly need to be modified include:

·       Security screening methods, to accommodate mobility devices (wheelchairs, crutches), communication disabilities, or medical devices such as pacemakers;

·       Policies banning animals, to allow service animals;

·       Policies prohibiting food, liquids, or medication, to allow a person with a disability that requires him or her to take medication or eat/drink to do so while in court;

·       Policies requiring in-person attendance at hearings or meetings for a person who, because of a disability, cannot physically come to court;

·       Hearing schedules or briefing schedules, which may need to be adjusted to accommodate the needs of a person with a disability, if the need for adjustment is related to the disability;[21]

·       Policies banning electronic devices in a facility, to allow an individual who needs an accommodation involving such a device to keep it.

 

Other modifications can be carried out on request, as appropriate to the particular needs of an individual with a disability. However, it is important to have procedures to consider such requests, to train staff to recognize a request, and to inform people with disabilities how best to make requests.

See Part VI, Developing an Accommodation Protocol.

Effective Communication

Courts must ensure that their communications with participants with disabilities are as effective as their communications with others. This requirement applies to all communication-related court activities and information including: hearings, jury deliberations, websites, electronic communications such as forms and documents, announcements, court decisions and orders, signage, and others. In order to accomplish this obligation, courts must be prepared to provide auxiliary aids and services for people with communication-related disabilities, including vision, hearing, and speech disabilities.

Auxiliary aids and services for people with hearing disabilities include qualified sign language and oral interpreters, note-takers, written materials or notes, amplification, assistive listening systems, real-time captions, and open or closed captioning on videos (including those on websites).

Auxiliary aids and services for people with vision disabilities include qualified readers, audio texts, Braille, screen reader software, and large print. Accessible electronic and information technology, such as accessible websites, tactile keys, and audio output on kiosks, and electronic documents in accessible formats are also auxiliary aids.

Auxiliary aids and services for people with speech disabilities may include the provision of pens, pencils, and note paper to write notes; a computer available to type back and forth; flashcards; alphabet boards; communication boards; or other communication aids.

 

Auxiliary aids are not one-size-fits-all. Thus, a sign language interpreter will not achieve effective communication for a person who is hard of hearing and does not know sign language. Courts need to respond to requests and give primary consideration to the individual’s choice of auxiliary aid. However, courts need to be prepared to provide auxiliary aids, for example, by having procedures for requesting auxiliary aids and by having contracts in place for sign language interpretation and Braille. Moreover, some communication accessibility must be done in advance, for example by building accessibility into websites and other methods of information dissemination.

 

The court does not have to provide auxiliary aids or services that would impose an undue financial or administrative burden or result in a fundamental alteration to its program. (See discussion above.) For example, it would be an undue burden (and probably not necessary) to have a sign language interpreter available at all times to assist walk-in participants. But upon request, or once it becomes apparent that an interpreter is necessary, the court should arrange for an interpreter to be available at a specific time.

See Part III – Removing Communication Barriers.

Integrated Settings

Court programs, services, and activities must be provided to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to each person’s needs. The ADA's "integration mandate"[22] provides that segregation and isolation are forms of discrimination and should be avoided to achieve equal opportunity. For example, if a court held a hearing in an inaccessible room and offered to broadcast it by closed circuit television in an accessible space for participants or observers with mobility disabilities, this would be considered a form of discrimination, as it would unnecessarily segregate people with disabilities. An appropriate solution would be to move the hearing to a location that is accessible to everyone.

Physical Accessibility

Courts cannot allow physical accessibility barriers to prevent participation by people with disabilities, such as mobility impairments, in court activities. Physical accessibility changes must be made to existing buildings as needed to ensure that the programs provided in the facility are accessible when viewed in their entirety, unless, doing so would fundamentally alter the program or pose an undue burden on the court system. This does not necessarily require accessibility in every building, every room, or every area. However, it does require enough accessibility for individuals with disabilities to equally participate in the court’s programs and services.

Buildings constructed since the effective date of the law must be fully accessible in accordance with federal accessibility standards and Georgia accessibility standards. In buildings that have been altered since the effective date of the relevant law (ADA or Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or Georgia law), the altered areas are required to be accessible to the maximum extent feasible. In addition, the path of travel to the altered area must be made accessible to the extent the costs are not disproportionate to the cost of the alteration. Accessibility costs over 20% of the cost of the alteration are considered disproportionate.

See Part IV, Program Access – Removing Common Barriers to Physical Access.

 


 

Part II: Removing Common Barriers to Access to Court Programs.
Tab image.

PART II: Removing Common Barriers to Access to Court Programs

General Considerations

The most important thing court officials can do in their day-to-day interactions with people with disabilities is to treat individuals with disabilities with the same courtesy, dignity, and respect that they afford everyone else.

A person with a disability may be able to access every feature in a courtroom but, may be left out of court activities if court personnel exhibit negative or unhelpful attitudes toward accommodation requests or requests for information. Eliminating these attitudinal barriers can help ensure that people with disabilities have full access to courts. There is no need to be nervous or apprehensive in talking and working with people with disabilities.

Court officials should consider the following tips when interacting with people with disabilities:

·       Don't make assumptions about the person or the disability.

·       Always speak directly to the person with a disability, not to a companion, assistant, or sign language interpreter. Speak in your normal tone and do not raise your voice unless requested.

·       If the person doesn't understand you, try again. Don't become uneasy if you have to make repeated attempts at listening or speaking to ensure effective communication.

·       Do not assume that a person with a disability needs help. If someone looks in need of help, it is appropriate to offer assistance with sensitivity. If your offer to assist is accepted, listen or ask for instructions before you act. Do not let it bother you if someone refuses your offer of assistance.

·       Generally, assistance with doors is appreciated as long as you are clear of the area through which a person is traveling.

·       Familiarize yourself with the court's accessibility features and accommodation protocol. When people with disabilities ask for accommodations, they are asking for what they believe necessary to fully and equally participate in that particular court activity, service or program.

·       Respond courteously to all accommodation requests and be sure to direct the request promptly to appropriate personnel who can assist.

·       Not all disabilities are apparent. Due to stigmas associated with certain disabilities, people may be reluctant to disclose a disability or ask for an accommodation. If someone looks as though he or she may not understand you, ask in a respectful way if there is an alternative method for facilitating communication with him or her.

For more information, see Part V – Working and Interacting with People with Particular Disabilities.

Interaction in the Courtroom

Judges are the embodiment of justice. Everyone looks to the court to ensure full and effective participation for people with disabilities. Top-level leadership and commitment are essential in developing an environment where access is not only a requirement but an expectation for all individuals.

·       Judges or other decision makers should carefully evaluate requests for accommodation made by people with disabilities who are appearing in the courtroom. Although the court makes the final decision regarding the most appropriate accommodation for each particular situation, allow yourself to be educated by people about their individual disabilities. The individuals have experience and information regarding their disabilities and are usually able to suggest the best way to accommodate their needs.

·       Avoid calling unnecessary attention to any disability-related modifications being provided. To the extent possible, allow requests for modifications, auxiliary aids, or physical access changes to be made and resolved privately and off the record.

·       Use person-first language. Put the person ahead of the disability in order to communicate your recognition that the person's disability is not the most important part of the person's identity. For example, it is more polite to say "the juror with a disability" than "the disabled juror" or "the handicapped juror."

·       Train staff, including security personnel, to be sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities. Patience and flexibility are important because, just as with most other individuals, many people with disabilities will not be familiar with the procedures and practices of your court.

Accommodating Individuals Who Use Service Animals

For some individuals with disabilities, service animals are essential to navigating the environment, maintaining their stability or balance, or being kept aware of sounds and other aspects of the environment. Under the ADA, it is discriminatory to deny access to a person who uses a service animal in most circumstances. Individuals should not be separated from their service animals.

 

A court should modify any policy that excludes all animals from a building or program to permit people who use service animals to enter the building with their animals. In addition, courts should train staff about the legal requirements, as well as how to interact with people and their service animals. Also, staff should have refresher training on a regular basis (perhaps once a year).

 

The DOJ’s 2010 revisions to the ADA regulations address service animals in much more detail than the original regulations and limit service animals to dogs. But, service dogs are not limited to what we may have traditionally thought of as guide dogs, accompanying an individual who is blind and having a vest or other indication that the dog is a service animal. A service animal is any guide dog, signal dog, or other dog individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Not only can service animals guide individuals with vision disabilities, they can also help people with other physical and sensory disabilities, as well as those with psychiatric, intellectual, or other disabilities.

 

Among the types of work they can do, service animals can:

·       Pull a wheelchair,

·       Provide physical stability or balance for people with mobility disabilities,

·       Alert individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to another person’s presence or sounds,

·       Provide non-violent protection or rescue work,

·       Retrieve items, such as medicine or telephones,

·       Alert people with epilepsy and other disorders to an oncoming seizure,

·       Alert individuals to the presence of allergens, and

·       Help persons with psychiatric or neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

A person with a disability who uses a service animal cannot be required to provide certification, identification cards, licenses, special equipment such as vests, or proof of professional training. A service animal should, however, have a harness, leash, or other tether (unless the handler’s disability or the nature of the task performed by the animal would prevent using one, in which case the animal must be under the handler’s control through voice control or other means).

 

You may ask an individual only whether an animal is required because of a disability, and what work or tasks the animal is trained to perform. However, you should not ask these questions if the answers are readily apparent, and you cannot ask about the person’s disability. If the answers to these questions reveal that an animal has been trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability, that person should be able to access all services and facilities while accompanied by the service animal.

 

You may ask an individual to remove a service animal from your building if the handler is not controlling the animal, it is not housebroken, its presence fundamentally alters the nature of your service, or it poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by reasonable modifications. The individual is responsible for caring for his or her service animal.

 

Although they are not considered service animals, miniature horses that assist people with disabilities must sometimes be admitted as well. Miniature horses have longer life spans than dogs and can be viable alternatives to dogs for people with allergies or whose religious beliefs preclude the use of dogs. The DOJ’s 2010 revisions to the ADA rules require a state or local government to admit a person with a miniature horse if it has been individually trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability and its admission is otherwise reasonable under the circumstances. Factors to be considered when deciding whether admitting a miniature horse is reasonable include the horse’s type, size, and weight; the handler’s control of it; whether it is housebroken; and whether it compromises safety.

 

Animals that provide emotional support, comfort, or companionship are not classified as service animals for purposes of the ADA and do not have to be allowed into public buildings. However, such animals can be particularly helpful to people in high-pressure court situations, and courts are free to allow them. In addition, there may be local laws that require courts to allow animals that accompany individuals with disabilities, with fewer restrictions on the types of animals and the purposes they serve.

 

The Department of Justice has issued two technical assistance documents that explain the service animal provisions of the 2010 amendments to the ADA regulations in a user-friendly way, with specific examples of their application. See Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA | PDF (2015) www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/title_ii_primer.html and Revised ADA Requirements: Service Animals | PDF (2010), www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm. There is more explanation of the service animal provisions of the Title II regulations (found in section 35.136) in the DOJ analysis of the 2010 revisions. See www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_regulations.htm.

 

Some courts are using courthouse facility dogs to provide support for crime victims, witnesses and others during legal proceedings. These dogs are not limited to working with people with disabilities and therefore are not covered by federal laws protecting the use of service animals.

 

Typical work done by courthouse facility dogs in the courtroom includes:

·       Greeting children and parents who have come into a child advocacy center to initiate investigation of child sexual abuse;

·       Accompanying a child during a forensic interview, where the child explains to a trained interviewer the details of an incident of sexual abuse or a crime of violence;

·       Accompanying a child during the various phases of the investigation and prosecution of crime, including a defense interview, a competency hearing, and a courtroom trial;

·       Attending drug court, mental health court, and other restorative judicial proceedings to provide an element of calm to people with disabilities and individuals in drug withdrawal;

·       Accompanying vulnerable adult crime victims, including rape victims, developmentally delayed adults, and the elderly during court proceedings;

·       Providing emotional comfort to family members of homicide victims during the trial and sentencing of the offender; and

·       Providing a sense of normalcy during juvenile and family court proceedings.

 

For more information on courthouse dog programs visit: http://www.courthousedogs.com/starting_facility_dog_program.html.

Accommodating Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities

Courts must accommodate persons with intellectual disabilities or cognitive impairments in a variety of settings. This guide does not address applications of the criminal laws’ disability-related concepts (e.g., mens rea, intent, competence, diminished capacity, or insanity). What follows are basic tips and other information for courts in their efforts to ensure that people with cognitive disabilities have equal access to the justice system.

 

Cognitive disabilities include a wide variety of conditions affecting the ability to perform mental tasks.[23] People with these impairments may have trouble learning new things, making generalizations from one situation to another, inferring information from social cues and body language, and/or expressing themselves through spoken or written language. Cognitive disabilities vary widely in degree and type of limitation. Cognitive disabilities include learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities (formerly called “mental retardation”), autism, traumatic brain injury, and dementia.

 

The wide variance among the capabilities of individuals with cognitive disabilities complicates matters in the courthouse because a person with a significant intellectual disability will not have the same needs as a person who has attention deficit disorder or autism.

 

Many legal or courtroom-related terms and concepts are complex and may be difficult to understand. People with some form of cognitive disability, however, may be reluctant to disclose their disability or to disclose that they do not understand the information being presented. If you suspect that someone may be struggling to understand, you might say, “This is very complicated. May I explain this in a different way that may make it easier to understand?” The use of simple, easily understood language will benefit all participants – not only people with disabilities.

In some cases, courts must first determine whether an individual is a "qualified individual with a disability" under the ADA. In some situations, such as those involving a person with a cognitive disability appearing as a witness or as a potential juror, the court must determine whether or not that individual can carry out his or her duties in a courtroom. For example, if an individual is unable to understand testimony as a juror because of an intellectual disability, and no reasonable modifications are available to enable participation, he or she may not be "qualified" and can be excluded from serving. However, it is important to remember that individuals with cognitive disabilities will not generally be unqualified to serve as witnesses, spectators, or jurors. Courts cannot rely on generalizations, assumptions, or stereotypes and must conduct an individualized inquiry to determine whether an individual is "qualified."

 

Courts must also provide reasonable modifications for individuals with cognitive disabilities unless they fundamentally alter the court’s programs and services. Keep in mind that many people with cognitive impairments may not be able to request accommodations effectively on their own and may need assistance in constructing appropriate accommodation requests, whether from the court or from their legal representatives. Examples of modifications may include the ability to take notes during a trial for a juror with a cognitive disability, or physically guiding an individual with a disability to a certain location in the courthouse because he or she would not understand verbal directions as to how to get to the specific location.

Accommodating Individuals with Mental Health Disabilities

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and/or daily functioning.[24] Mental illnesses vary widely in terms of severity and type of impact on the individual. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

As with other disabilities, courts must not exclude or limit participation of qualified individuals with mental illnesses. In determining whether an individual with a mental illness is qualified to fulfill the role of witness, juror, or other participant in a court program, the court needs to conduct an individualized analysis of the particular person in the particular situation and provide any necessary reasonable modifications. Most people with mental illnesses are capable of fulfilling their role and a court must not exclude them on the basis of generalizations, assumptions, or stereotypes.

 

In rare cases, a person with a mental health disability may pose a "direct threat" to the health or safety of others in the court. A person can be excluded from participation on this basis only if he or she creates a significant risk of substantial harm. The ADA requires courts to make a knowing, individualized determination – not based on myth, fear or stereotype – of whether an individual poses a threat, and to consider any possible available modifications to reduce or eliminate the threat. Courts may choose to exclude individuals who pose a threat but only in a manner consistent with their civil rights and other protections. (Note that Title II and the DOJ regulations omit any reference to the individual’s actions that may constitute a direct threat to self.)

Accommodating Individuals Who Use Mobility Devices

The 2010 DOJ regulations, for the first time, address the circumstances under which state and local governments are obligated to accommodate various mobility devices. They are divided into two different categories:

 

·       Wheelchairs and other manually-powered mobility aids. These include walkers, crutches, canes, braces, or similar devices. People using devices such as these must be permitted in any areas open to pedestrians.

 

·       Other power-driven mobility devices. These include golf carts, electronic personal assistance mobility devices (EPAMDs), such as Segways, all-terrain vehicles, and any other mobility devices designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes, but that are not wheelchairs. The 2010 regulation requires that, under the reasonable modification provision of the ADA, courts and other public entities must permit the use of these devices unless the entity can demonstrate that the class of mobility device cannot be operated in accordance with legitimate safety requirements that the entity has adopted.

 

The DOJ set out these new requirements because the choices of mobility devices available to individuals with disabilities have increased dramatically. Many devices, such as Segways, offer increased mobility and other benefits to people with disabilities, even though they were not necessarily designed for that purpose. The DOJ recognized that this fact complicates these issues and in the regulation gives public entities guidance to follow in assessing whether reasonable modifications can be made through the use of assessment factors such as the device's type, size, weight, dimensions, and speed; the facility's volume of pedestrian traffic; the facility's design and operational characteristics; whether the device conflicts with legitimate safety requirements; and whether the device poses a substantial risk of serious harm to the immediate environment or natural or cultural resources. Public entities are encouraged to develop a policy so that they can be ready to handle any requests for use of other power-driven mobility devices. The DOJ gives this example of a type of policy that it suggests would be acceptable:

 

A county courthouse has developed a policy whereby EPAMDs may be operated in the pedestrian areas of the courthouse if the operator of the device agrees not to operate the device faster than pedestrians are walking; to yield to pedestrians; to provide a rack or stand so that the device can stand upright; and to use the device only in courtrooms that are large enough to accommodate such devices. If the individual is selected for jury duty in one of the smaller courtrooms, the county's policy indicates that if it is not possible for the individual with the disability to park the device and walk into the courtroom, the location of the trial will be moved to a larger courtroom.[25]

Support Service Providers or Aides

Support service providers (or support persons) are often used by individuals who are deaf-blind and those who have intellectual disabilities or other cognitive disabilities, and may be relied upon by these individuals in the court context. Both the DOJ and advocacy groups have offered helpful guidance regarding support service providers (SSPs) and how they work with people with disabilities.

 

In its 2014 technical assistance document explaining the effective communication requirements of the 2010 ADA regulations, the DOJ first mentioned SSPs, explaining that

 

Many deaf-blind individuals use support service providers (SSPs) to assist them in accessing the world around them. SSPs are not ‘aids and services’ under the ADA. However, they provide mobility, orientation, and informal communication services for deaf-blind individuals and are a critically important link enabling them to independently access the community at large.[26]

 

The American Association of the Deaf-Blind has described a support service provider as any person, volunteer or professional, trained to act as a link between persons who are deaf-blind and their environment. Typically working with a single individual, and acting as a guide and communication facilitator – i.e., the eyes and ears of the person who is deaf-blind – they serve two key functions: (1) providing access to the community by making transportation available and serving as a human guide while walking, and (2) relaying visual and environmental information that may not be heard or seen by the person who is deaf-blind. This is done in the person’s preferred language and communication mode.[27]

 

According to the Arc of the United States (the Arc)[28], people who serve as SSPs for individuals with intellectual disabilities may assist them with court appearances in several ways:

On the day of the hearing or trial, the victim may experience great stress and fear about testifying. In order to help the person gain confidence in testifying, a support person should be permitted to sit near the witness during the testimony. If the witness does want a support person, the prosecutor should be told before the court date so arrangements can be made. A program in Vermont uses a “Communication Specialist” (similar to an ASL interpreter for someone who is deaf) which allows the person with a disability to communicate effectively with the attorney, judge, court staff and others in the judicial system.[29]

 

In addition to helping to reduce the anxiety of court proceedings for a person with cognitive or intellectual disabilities, a support person may also assist the person by explaining court proceedings in simple terms, explaining paperwork or follow-up obligations, or identifying signs of confusion or misunderstanding.[30]

 

Generally, the courts should allow SSPs to accompany and assist individuals who are deaf-blind, have intellectual disabilities, or have other cognitive disabilities such as traumatic brain injury, as an appropriate reasonable accommodation or means of facilitating communication. The presence of a support person during attorney-client communications may have an impact on privilege in some circumstances.

 

The Department of Health and Human Services and the DOJ have recently stated that it may be necessary to “provide an aide or other assistive services” in order for a person with a disability to participate fully in a court event.[31]

Determining Accommodations for Judicial Activities

The State of Georgia’s code and interpreter rules, discussed in detail in Part III below, under “Sign Language and Oral Interpreters,” include specific provisions governing the process of providing interpreters. There are no specific statutes or rules governing the Georgia courts’ processes for responding to requests for reasonable modifications, other auxiliary aids, or other modifications relating to judicial activities. This section offers some practical suggestions drawn from other states[32] and the DOJ guidance. There is additional information in Part VI, Developing an Accommodation Protocol.

 

The public should be informed that requests are to be made to the ADA Coordinator for the specific court or jurisdiction. Notice of the designated individual and the process should be posted online, at the courthouse, and other locations regarding judicial services. This information should also be included in documents produced by the court for the public or parties, such as jury notices, notices of hearings, and information about mediation.

 

For issues that may occur regularly and do not relate to individualized needs, a court should ensure that policies in certain areas are in place in advance, without the need for a request. Topics would include service animal access (including circumstances under which a service animal may excluded), security procedures, and mobility devices. Other on-the-spot or relatively simple accommodations may be made in the regular course of business, as a matter of customer service, without the need for a procedure. For example, staff should be prepared to assist individuals with manual dexterity disabilities or vision disabilities in filling out a form (while maintaining privacy and confidentiality), or to write notes for simple, brief exchanges (such as picking up or filing a form, asking a question) with people with hearing disabilities who can communicate easily in writing.

 

In other circumstances, a person with a disability must generally make a request for a reasonable modification, auxiliary aid, or other accommodation.

 

Typically, courts require five to seven days’ notice, but some require only two or three; courts should attempt to accommodate requests submitted within a shorter time frame than the one posted, if possible.

 

Some changes or accommodations may not require official action by a judge, but could be handled through the ADA Coordinator on a case-by-case basis as an administrative matter (perhaps with consultation with the judge, particularly if the request is related to a specific proceeding), such as large print or other accessible formats such as accessible electronic documents. [33] Other examples include assistive listening devices for persons with hearing disabilities, readers for people with vision disabilities, and assignment to accessible spaces for people with mobility disabilities.

 

The court should have a process in place for documenting any denials of the informal requests or those that are handled by the ADA Coordinator, as well as a process for accepting more formal requests, with documentation for grants or denials of those requests.

 

Some states list in their rules the types of requests that cannot be granted administratively, such as an official transcript of court proceedings, requests that impact court procedures within a specific case (such as an extension of time or continuance,[34] change of venue, or participation by phone or videoconference).  Some states require that these requests be submitted by written motion to the presiding judge, who may consider an individual’s disability in determining whether to grant the request.[35]

 

The rules of some states explicitly provide that a court cannot extend the statute of limitations for filing an action because the requestor claims to have been delayed due to disability, nor can it provide accommodations that modify the terms of an agreement among parties. Additionally, the court cannot make changes to the law in granting an accommodation.

 

Some state rules require a statement of the disability necessitating the accommodation, in order to assess the appropriate accommodation. Some also require that medical and other health information be submitted under a cover sheet[36] created by the court system designating the information as sealed medical and health information, mandating that the information be available only to the court and the person requesting accommodation unless, otherwise expressly ordered.  If this process is followed, the court’s decision as to whether to grant or deny the accommodation is made in writing or on the record, with the decision entered in the proceedings file, if any, with a determination of whether or not the decision should be sealed. If there is no proceedings file, the decision is entered in the court's administrative files, with the same determination about filing under seal.[37]

Activities Carried out by Third Parties, Including Contractors

A public entity must ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to access programs and services compared to others’ opportunity. This obligation extends to all court programs and services, including deferral or diversion programs, other court-ordered treatment programs, and those provided or operated by private entities under contract. To the extent that courts contract with private agencies and providers to conduct court-related activities, they should ensure that in the performance of their contractual duties, contractors (and other third parties, such as any volunteers) comply with the non-discrimination provisions of Title II. In other words, the courts cannot contract away their Title II obligations; the courts are responsible for the actions taken by others as they carry out the court’s programs and activities.

 

Courts referring individuals with disabilities to programs conducted by others should refer individuals with disabilities only to those that operate in ways consistent with the courts’ obligations, including the provision of effective communication.[38] For example:

 

 

This obligation on the court also extends to voluntary programs related to judicial services, even if those programs are not funded by the court or there is no contractual relationship. For example, if a person who is deaf and communicates in sign language wishes to participate in a mediation program for those of modest means, and he qualifies for the program, the court is obligated to pay for the necessary interpreter.[42]

 

Similarly, the court is responsible for ensuring that other contractors, such as those providing security at building entrances or elsewhere in a facility, act consistently with the public entity’s obligations. For example, guards should be aware of the provisions about service animals and should not exclude an individual with a legitimate service animal or ask unauthorized questions, as provided in the regulations.


 

Part III: Removing Communication Barriers.

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PART III: Removing Communication Barriers

One of the court’s most important responsibilities involves communicating information effectively. When courts do not communicate effectively with people with disabilities, it can have a serious detrimental effect on the administration of justice.

Communication includes the exchange of information in all forms, including voice, sound, print, and electronic and information technology. Courts should be aware of the types of disabilities that impact communication, such as hearing, speech, and vision disabilities, as well as the auxiliary aids and services that are often necessary to ensure effective communication.

The court should assess each situation on an individualized, case-by-case basis, to determine if auxiliary aids and services are needed to ensure effective communication with people with disabilities. All participants in court proceedings, including parties, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, and even spectators (e.g., the spouse of a criminal defendant) have rights to effective communication under the ADA.

Examples of auxiliary aids and services used to accommodate people with hearing disabilities include:

Examples of auxiliary aids for people with vision impairments include:

·       Electronic documents in alternate formats

·       Large print text

·       Braille materials

·       Qualified readers

·       Taped texts

·       Audio output mechanisms (audio description, audio recordings, etc.)

·       Screen reader software

·       Magnification

·       Optical readers


 

·       Audio description of videos

·       Accessible websites

·       Other accessible electronic and information technology

Examples of auxiliary aids and services for people with speech disabilities may include:

        Provision of pens, pencils, and note paper to write notes

        Keyboard devices such as a UbiDuo® or a computer available to type back and forth

        Flashcards

        Alphabet boards

        Communication boards

        Other communication aids

In selecting an auxiliary aid or service, courts must give primary consideration to the aid or service preferred by the individual because that individual is usually best able to identify the communication barriers that hamper participation.[43] The court must honor the person’s choice unless the court can demonstrate that (1) another equally effective means of communication is available, or (2) the use of the chosen means would result in a fundamental alteration in the service, program, or activity or would create an undue financial and administrative burden. An undue burden means “significant difficulty or expense relative to the operation of a public entity’s program.”

 

The public entity has the burden of proving fundamental alteration or undue burdens. Only the head of the entity or his or her designee (for example, a chief circuit judge) can make this decision, after considering all resources available for use in the funding and operation of the service, program, or activity. The decision must be in writing, with reasons for reaching that conclusion. If the person’s choice would result in a fundamental alteration or undue burden, the public entity must still provide an alternative aid or service that provides effective communication, if one is available.

 

For example, an individual may request a document related to a court proceeding that begins in two days, in Braille. If it is impossible or impracticable to obtain the document from the court’s contractor within that time, the court may address alternatives. These include providing a recorded version of the document or, if acceptable to the individual, a large print or accessible electronic version of the document. Someone who is totally blind would not, of course, be able to use a large print version, and other people with vision disabilities may not generally use electronic formats or may not have screen reading capabilities. Also, another possibility would be to have an individual employed by the court read the document aloud to the individual, with a Braille version to follow as soon as it is produced.

In considering whether effective communication means other than those requested by the individual are appropriate, it is important to consider the context in which the communication is taking place and its importance:


·       For example, if a plaintiff who is deaf requests a sign language interpreter for a simple scheduling meeting, it may be possible to provide effective communication through written notes. This is provided the plaintiff understands written English, the meeting is brief, the note taker is qualified to understand and transcribe the terms used, and the plaintiff is able to participate effectively in the hearing.

·       On the other hand, if the information being communicated is complex or lengthy (for example, a hearing to determine child custody), or the plaintiff who is deaf uses sign language to communicate, a qualified sign language interpreter is necessary for effective communication.

Generally, the complexity and high stakes involved in judicial proceedings often weigh in favor of providing the most effective means of communication possible.

 

Another option is to allow an individual the opportunity to use his or her own assistive technology products to achieve effective communication. For example, a person with cerebral palsy who has difficulty with speech may use an augmentative communication device. Denying a person the opportunity to use such a device would deny effective communication. However, a court is not required to purchase such a device for a person with a disability who does not already have the device.

In order to be effective, auxiliary aids must be provided in a timely manner, and in such a way as to protect the privacy and independence of the individual with the disability.

A court may not pass along to a person with a disability the cost of the aid or service in the form of a surcharge. While auxiliary aids must meet the individual needs of the person with a disability in the particular context involved, courts need to be prepared to provide certain auxiliary aids on a regular or as-needed basis. For example, courts should have procedures for requesting auxiliary aids and have contracts in place to provide qualified sign language interpretation, Braille, or other alternate format materials.

It is the responsibility of the court to provide accommodations related to its own activities, which include court orders, hearings, settlement conferences, and court-sponsored mediation. While in some instances the right to a court-appointed interpreter extends to an individual’s preparation for the case and other consultations with their attorneys (for example, if the attorneys are count-appointed), courts are not necessarily required to ensure that individuals receive access to effective communication in activities that the court does not provide, require, or sponsor.[44] For example, when an individual needs an accommodation to speak with an attorney, it generally is the responsibility of the attorney to ensure the individual is appropriately accommodated.[45] It is also generally the responsibility of attorneys and their clients to ensure that accommodations are provided for in such non-court related activities as depositions, discovery, written communications, and settlement negotiations. Thus, for example, the party calling for a deposition of a deaf witness should provide an interpreter.

When the court is aware that an interpreter will be involved in the proceeding, the court should allow additional time for the proceeding.

Assistive Listening Systems

Assistive Listening Systems (ALS) are "binoculars for the ears." ALS increase the loudness of specific sounds and bring sounds directly into the ear. In addition, ALS improve the effectiveness of hearing aids and cochlear implants in environments that are noisy, have poor acoustics, and when there is a big distance from the speaker.

There are three types of systems generally used – Frequency Modulated (FM), infrared, or inductive loop technologies – each of which has their advantages and disadvantages.

FM systems are ALSs that use radio broadcast technology. They are often used in educational settings because they are wireless and offer mobility and flexibility when used with portable body-worn transmitters. However, sometimes when several FM based systems are used in the same building, there can be problems with cross over between rooms and channels.

Infrared systems guarantee privacy and are the appropriate choice for situations such as court proceedings that require confidentiality. Infrared systems work by transmitting sound via light waves in a 60-degree cone to receivers worn by users. Thus, the system is restricted to the room in which the equipment is installed. With the exception of high frequency lights and bright sunlight, there are few sources of interference with infrared systems.

Inductive loop systems utilize an electromagnetic field to deliver sound. They offer convenience to groups of t-coil hearing aid users Inductive loop systems utilize an electromagnetic field to deliver sound. They offer convenience to groups of t-coil hearing aid users because those users do not require body worn receivers. Loop systems can be used by non-hearing aid users through use of a headphone and inductive loop receiver because those users do not require body worn receivers. Loop systems can be used by non-hearing aid users through use of a headphone and inductive loop receiver.

All ALS systems have at least three components: a microphone, a transmitter, and a device for receiving the signal and bringing the sound to the ear. The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design require receivers to have a jack to plug into a neck loop or a cochlear implant patch cord.

If a courtroom already has a microphone and a public address system for hearing people, it should be simple to patch in an infrared system. However, if a courtroom does not have a public address system, consideration should be given to the number of microphones to provide and who will use the microphones. Wireless microphones can be used with any system, by simplify running cables around the courtroom. However, wireless microphones raise security issues.

ALS should also be considered for the jury room. Small, portable infrared systems are available with multiple microphones in addition to a table-mounted conference microphone.

Some microphones should have a mute switch, such as those used on the bench when a judge calls up the attorneys for a private conversation.

Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) Services

Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) is a word-for-word speech-to-text service for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. A CART provider uses a steno machine, notebook computer, and Real-time software to provide an instant text display of speech on a screen, computer monitor or other display media for an individual or group. A CART can be provided in person or via an Internet connection.

The National Court Reporters Association provides recommended procedures regarding the provision of CART in courts. These recommended best practice procedures can be reviewed online at: www.ncra.org/files/GovernmentRelations/Guidelines%20for%20CART%20Captioners.pdf

Sign Language and Oral Interpreters

Interpreters for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing fall into two primary categories: sign language interpreters and oral interpreters. When an interpreter is used to facilitate effective communication, the ADA requires that he or she be qualified. For example, being able to sign or finger-spell does not equate to being qualified to interpret. Someone who does not possess all the necessary interpreting skills to process spoken language into equivalent sign language and to process sign language into equivalent spoken language cannot provide effective communication. Therefore, a state or local court employee who can "sign pretty well" is not qualified to provide effective communication.

A qualified sign language interpreter must be able to interpret both receptively and expressively in sign language, in spoken English, and must do so effectively, accurately, and impartially, using any specialized vocabulary necessary. In order to be qualified to interpret in a legal setting, a sign language interpreter must be able to understand and effectively interpret the legal terms and procedures involved.

Another type of interpreter is an oral interpreter. Oral interpreters mouth a speaker’s words silently to give higher visibility of the lips for added comprehension for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and use speech reading (usually people who were raised orally and do not know sign language, or who became deaf or hard of hearing as adults). Also, oral interpreters are skilled at pronouncing words clearly by their lips and may also use facial expressions and gestures. Oral interpreters are also skilled in quickly substituting words that are hard to lip read, all while keeping the content and emotion of the speaker’s statement intact.

The obligation to provide impartial interpreting services requires that state and local courts provide an interpreter who does not have a personal relationship to anyone involved in the proceeding or a personal or financial stake in the proceeding. In non-emergency situations, allowing or requiring friends, family members, companions, witnesses, or attorneys to interpret is prohibited. There are a number of different sign language systems (Signed English and American Sign Language are the most prevalent) used by individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, individuals who use a particular system may not communicate effectively through an interpreter using a different system. Therefore, when a sign language interpreter is required, state and local courts should provide a qualified interpreter who is able to effectively interpret using the same sign system as the individual who is deaf.

The presence of a sign language or oral interpreter does not violate legal privileges or confidentiality.

State and local courts may not require individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to provide their own interpreters.

It is often necessary to employ more than one interpreter. Due to the high level of concentration and complex mental process required of interpreters, at least two interpreters should work in tandem if a proceeding exceeds an hour, so that way they can trade off responsibilities at regular intervals. When there are multiple deaf or hard of hearing persons present at a proceeding or meeting, it may be necessary to have several interpreters present. That way, each interpreter may take on a different role, such as interpreting for a particular person.

Consistent with the ADA and Georgia law[46], the Georgia Supreme Court in 2012 issued a rule creating the Georgia Commission on Interpreters (Commission) which established a statewide plan for the use of interpreters in proceedings involving non-English speakers, including people who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH), before any court or grand jury hearing in Georgia (Georgia Supreme Court Order).[47]  The Georgia Supreme Court Order requires courts to provide qualified sign language interpreters, without cost, to DHH litigants and witnesses. Details about the powers and duties of the Georgia Commission on Interpreters, as well as certification and training, are in Appendix E to the Supreme Court Order.[48] Appendix C to the Georgia Supreme Court Order sets out a code of professional responsibility (ethical conduct) for interpreters, obliging them to interpret completely and accurately, maintaining impartiality and confidentiality. A court’s failure to provide qualified interpreters, as needed, in a legal proceeding in Georgia, may result in reversible error on appeal.[49]

The Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts has produced a one-sheet bench card for judges, “Working with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Persons and Sign Language Interpreters in the Courtroom,” summarizing the key points of the law and the rule and providing helpful suggestions for implementing them.[50]

For purposes of the Georgia Supreme Court Order, an interpreter includes a person who is certified, conditionally approved, or registered as an interpreter by the Commission, or anyone authorized by a court to interpret during court proceedings. The Commentary to the Georgia Supreme Court Order encourages courts to make a diligent effort to appoint a certified interpreter. It acknowledges that there will be occasions when it is necessary to use a less qualified interpreter; if no interpreter is available locally (for example, in rural areas), courts are to “weigh the need for immediacy in conducting a hearing against the potential compromise of due process or the potential of substantive injustice, if interpreting is inadequate.” In those circumstances, some delay is encouraged, unless immediacy is a primary concern. The Commission encourages courts to consult the Commission’s Instructions for Use of Non-Licensed Interpreters and make a diligent effort to ensure a licensed interpreter is secured for any future legal proceedings associated with the case.[51]

More helpful specifications and guidance are found in Appendix C to the Georgia Supreme Court Order and Commentary to the Georgia Supreme Court Order, and the bench card. For example:

The Georgia statute requires a person needing an interpreter to give notice ten days before a proceeding. Protocol for making requests reportedly varies by judicial circuit.[52] For example, means for making such a request include a verbal or written request to a judge’s law clerk or administrative

assistant, District Court Administrator, specified point-person within the circuit, or court’s Clerk’s office.[53]

For more information on sign language interpreters, their ethical codes of conduct, and the roles they play in legal proceedings, see Appendix I of this manual.

Text Telephones (TTYs)

“Text telephone” is a generic term for devices that provide access to real-time telephone communications for persons with hearing or speech impairments. Text telephones are also known as TTYs and TDDs (telecommunications devices for deaf persons). Like computers with modems, text telephones provide keyboards for typing conversations, visual displays for callers, and receiving parties who are connected over standard telephone lines. A TTY is required at both ends of the conversation.

Generally, the ADA doesn’t require that a court have a TTY, partly because every state is required by law to have a free telecommunications relay service (TRS). However, some courts have chosen to have a TTY for incoming and outgoing calls, because of the ability to conduct calls more quickly without a third person.

A court that has a TTY should include the dedicated TTY phone number on all court publications where the court's main telephone number is listed. Staff who place or receive TTY calls should be trained on how to recognize the sound of incoming TTY calls and how to handle them. In addition, staff should undergo refresher training periodically.

If a court provides public telephones, it must also provide TTY devices for public use.

In addition to these requirements about effective communication, the installation of text telephones is required under certain conditions. These include construction and alterations of buildings and facilities covered under Title II.

Telecommunications Relay Services

Courts can communicate with people who have difficulty using a telephone by using Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS), a service provided in each state. Georgia has developed its own system, called Georgia Relay, administered by the Georgia Public Service Commission. TRS facilitates communication between an individual who uses a TTY with one who does not. It is free, except for any long-distance charges that would apply, and available 24 hours a day by dialing 7-1-1.

There are several types of TRS. Any TRS call may be initiated by an individual with a hearing or speech disability who is not using a “traditional” or conventional telephone, or by a conventional telephone user. These types of TRS use different kinds of technology, but the process for using any of these is


similar. If you are using a conventional telephone and want to place a call, you call 7-1-1 and reach a communication assistant (CA). The CA actually places the call and types what you say so the person you are calling can read the words on his or her TTY display. He or she types back a response, and the TRS operator reads aloud for you to hear over the telephone. If a person who is deaf or hard of hearing places a call by TTY, the process is reversed.

Relay callers are not limited in the type, length, or nature of their calls. The TRS operator is bound by a confidentiality requirement not to disclose the content of any TRS call. Courts should train employees who are responsible for making and answering phone calls about the TRS system so they can communicate effectively with people using the system. That way when employees answer the phone and hear, "Hello, this is the relay service. Have you received a relay call before?" the employee should not hang up. They are about to talk to a person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, or has a speech disability. The employee should take the time necessary to complete the call. (Because messages are transmitted through a third party, the calls generally take a longer time to complete than do phone-to-phone calls.)

 

The types of TRS that are generally available include:

In addition, Georgia Relay offers a CapTel service, which uses the latest in voice recognition software to display every word the caller says.

Georgia Relay creates a personal profile that lets the Relay Communications Assistant involved in a TRS call automatically know the individual’s communications preferences. Further, the Georgia Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired, provides free telecommunications equipment (e.g., text telephones, hands-free phones, amplified and CapTel phones, and visual alerts) and training to qualified applicants who have a hearing or speech impairment. Further, Georgia has established the Georgia Relay Partner program to provide training to businesses with respect to answering and receiving Relay calls.

For more information on the different forms of TRS, see the various fact sheets created by the Federal Communications Commission at: www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/trs.html.

Video Remote Interpreting

Through video remote interpreting (VRI), a sign language interpreter at another location appears via video conferencing technology on a computer screen or videophone. Although this approach can be useful, especially when it is difficult in a particular area to find interpreters, or there is only short notice of need, it is only effective when properly configured and supported by a high-speed internet connection. The 2010 Title II regulations state that if VRI is used, a public entity must ensure it provides:

1.     Real-time, full-motion video and audio over a dedicated high-speed, wide-bandwidth video connection or wireless connection that delivers high-quality video images that do not produce lags, choppy, blurry, or grainy images, or irregular pauses in communication;

2.     A sharply delineated image that is large enough to display the interpreter's face, arms, hands, and fingers, and the participating individual's face, arms, hands, and fingers, regardless of his or her body position; and

3.     A clear, audible transmission of voices.

In addition, the entity should provide adequate training to the users of the technology and other involved individuals so that they may quickly and efficiently set up and operate the equipment.

In legal settings where the consequences of miscommunication are high, VRI may not effectively replace in-person sign language interpreters. VRI may not be effective in lengthy or complex proceedings or those that involve substantive rights, cross-examination, or production of evidence. However, for short-notice situations or simple conversations, courts may consider contracting with a VRI service.

Public Service Announcements and Videos

Courts may choose televised public service announcements to transmit messages to local residents. For example, the court may fund a message for broadcast on television stations about the local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program or may show an orientation videotape to prospective jurors. One of the best ways to meet the effective communication requirement for media productions that rely on sound is to provide captions for any spoken content. That way, people who are deaf or hard of hearing can access the content.

There are two different types of captioning available. Open captioning (such as the subtitles on foreign language movies) displays the captions directly on the screen where all viewers can readily see the captions. Closed captioning provides coded captions that are embedded in the video. Televisions manufactured after 1993 have a caption decoder chip that decodes the captioned video.

If a court works with a production company to create a video, the video should be captioned. Most production companies have the capability to provide either open or closed captions on request. If the video is to be displayed in the courtroom, the court should be sure that the television where the video is to be displayed is equipped with closed captioning and that courtroom personnel have the training to set closed captioning options on request.

For productions that rely on visual images, audio description can provide access for people with vision disabilities.

Alternative Formats for Print Documents

There are many ways to provide “alternative formats” to traditional print documents. These include formats that are accessible to people who are blind or have low vision (e.g., large print, Braille, electronic format, audio tape, reading aloud). First, keep on hand alternative formats of documents that people are likely to request, or that participants are required to read, such as forms, jury instructions, postings on bulletin boards, and notices. Make other accessible documents available upon request. These could include information for specific sessions or trials, or agendas and materials for meetings. Alternative format documents must be provided in a timely manner. Courts can require individuals to provide notice when they need a document in an accessible format, but should make sure the timing is reasonable, and should make every effort to have the material ready at the time it is needed. All materials provided by the court should state that they are available in alternative formats and give contact information for making such requests.

Some types of alternative formats include:

 

 

o   More information about large print can be found at http://www.aph.org/research/design-guidelines/.

Websites

Increasingly, electronic and information technology is the medium for the exchange of information. More and more state and local governments, including court systems, are using the internet as a fast and often inexpensive way to inform and interact with the public. Courts use the internet to provide court information, publish opinions, rules, and case documents, accept filings, register for jury service, and more.[54]

Many people with disabilities use "assistive technology" to enable them to use computers and access the internet. For example, people who are blind and cannot see computer monitors may use screen readers – device that speak the text that would normally appear on a monitor – and keyboard controls instead of a mouse. People who have mobility impairments and experience difficulty using a computer mouse can use voice recognition software to control their computers with verbal commands. People with other disabilities may use still other kinds of assistive technology.

As more and more public services are provided over the internet, courts should be aware of potential barriers that people with disabilities face in accessing their websites. Designers may not realize how simple features built into a web page will assist someone who, for instance, cannot see a computer monitor or use a mouse. Implementing accessibility features generally is not difficult and will seldom change the layout or appearance of web pages.

An example of a barrier is a photograph of a courthouse on a court's website with no text identifying it. Because screen readers cannot interpret images unless there is text associated with it, a blind person would have no way of knowing whether the image is an unidentified photo or logo, artwork, a link to another page, or something else. Simply adding a line of hidden computer code, often referred to as alt-text, to label the photograph "Photograph of County Courthouse," will allow the user who is blind to make sense of the image. Fillable forms are also common barriers, because the form text and boxes are not presented to a screen reader in the right order and the boxes often do not have labels that a screen reader can understand. Similarly, a video with sound will not be understandable to a person who is deaf, without captions. Without an option for large font and high contrast, some people with low vision cannot use a website.

The Department of Justice has long made it clear that the websites of public entities, such as courts, are generally required to be accessible for people who use assistive technology. Since 2004, the DOJ’s settlement agreements with cities and counties[55] have included commitments by the public entities to ensure accessibility of their websites. Originally the agreements referenced the DOJ’s 2003 publication, "Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities," which explains many of the issues involved in creating accessible websites. The publication is available online at the DOJ’s website, www.ada.gov/websites2.htm and is reproduced in Appendix G to this guide.

 

In 2010, the Department of Justice began steps to incorporate accessibility standards for the web and other electronic communications into its Title II regulations. The progress of this rulemaking can be followed at: www.ada.gov/anprm2010/anprm2010.htm.

 

Even without final (or even proposed) web accessibility standards, the DOJ has consistently required in settlement agreements, as early as 2009, that local government websites follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the Web Accessibility Initiative for creating and adding accessible web-based information. They are at www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag.php. The DOJ currently requires compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and other Conformance Requirements (WCAG 2.0 AA).[56]

 

In addition, the DOJ agreements also now typically require that public entities name a web accessibility coordinator, retain an independent consultant to perform an initial and annual assessment of the website and online services for compliance, train staff, and conduct testing via automated means as well as with people with disabilities.[57]

 

The 2003 DOJ publication[58] suggests the following voluntary action plan for providing accessible websites:

 

For more information about website accessibility requirements and resources, see Appendix G.

 

For guidance in performing a preliminary review to check for accessibility, visit www.w3.org/WAI/eval/preliminary.html. This site offers web accessibility evaluation tools (or web checkers) that are software programs or online services that help determine if a website meets accessibility guidelines. In addition, the standards developed by and for the federal government are at www.section508.gov or www.access-board.gov. Separate and apart from any requirements for website accessibility under Title II, the Georgia Technology Authority has established accessibility standards for state government websites (http://portal.georgia.gov/interactive/web-standards/12-website-accessibility-standards).

Other Electronic and Information Technology

In addition to these approaches, courts should take the following steps:

 

Other forms of electronic and information technology should also be accessible. Some court systems are implementing self-service kiosks for check-in, payments, and information. Such kiosks often have accessibility barriers, such as touch screens that require vision to operate.  These kiosks should be accessible for people who use wheelchairs as well as people with vision and hearing disabilities. The U.S. Access Board is developing standards of accessibility for such equipment. www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh.

 

Courts should also be aware of the need to ensure access by individuals with disabilities, such as parties and attorneys, to court documents that are filed electronically in the official court record. For example, these documents should be available upon request in an accessible format readable by screen reader technology. See the DOJ settlement agreement with Orange County Clerk of Courts, Florida, App. D.

 

For more information on the different types of auxiliary aids for people with disabilities and a sample policy for providing such accommodations, see www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/clearance/exauxaids.html.


Part IV: Program Access- Removing Common Barriers to Physical Access.
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PART IV: Program Access – Removing Common Barriers to Physical Access

Existing Facilities

If a courthouse is inaccessible because doorways are too narrow, restroom facilities are inaccessible (including through lack of accessible signage), courtrooms are not equipped with auxiliary listening systems, or steps are the only way to get to all or portions of a facility, people with mobility, visual, and hearing impairments may not be able to fully participate in jury duty, attend hearings, and gain access to other court services. Title II requires state and local courts to ensure that their programs, services, and activities are accessible to people with disabilities located in existing buildings, unless doing so would fundamentally alter a program, service, or activity or result in undue financial or administrative burdens. This requirement is called program access.[59]

In the years since the ADA took effect, public facilities have become increasingly accessible.  In the event that changes still need to be made, there is flexibility in deciding how to meet this obligation. Although in many situations providing access to facilities through structural methods, such as alteration of existing facilities and acquisition or construction of additional facilities, may be the most efficient method, a court system may pursue alternatives to structural changes in order to achieve the necessary access. The court can:

The Department of Justice ADA Title II Technical Assistance Manual includes the following illustration:

D, a defendant in a civil suit, has a respiratory condition that prevents her from climbing steps. Civil suits are routinely heard in a courtroom on the second floor of the courthouse. The courthouse has no elevator or other means of access to the second floor. The public entity must relocate the proceedings to an accessible ground floor courtroom or take alternative steps, including moving the proceedings to another building, in order to allow D to participate in the civil suit.

…[However], when choosing a method of providing program access, a public entity must give priority to the one that results in the most integrated setting appropriate to encourage interaction among all users, including individuals with disabilities.[60]

Many older courts have witness stands and jury boxes that are inaccessible to people who use wheelchairs. These courts should determine in advance how to arrange for the people with disabilities to participate. That way, court proceedings do not need to be disrupted or delayed and participants with disabilities do not need to be embarrassed.

Program access is an ongoing obligation and many courts have been covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for many years. Therefore, it is important to periodically assess accessibility of court facilities and continue to make accessibility improvements over time.

When a court building is not fully accessible, the court should:

Setting Priorities

Accessibility should be proactively addressed by assessing and identifying barriers, planning to remove barriers, and carrying out the plans in a timely manner. When planning accessibility-related architectural and structural improvements, court systems must ensure that they meet applicable state and federal requirements, briefly outlined below. In addition, note that these accessibility features are applicable not only to areas of facilities used by members of the public but those used by detainees as well.[61]

If a court system cannot renovate or remove all inaccessible barriers, priority should be considered as follows:

New Construction and Alterations

Court buildings that are newly constructed or that have been physically altered since the effective date of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the ADA must be designed and constructed in compliance with federal and state accessibility requirements.

The ADA Standards for Accessible Design apply to buildings and facilities constructed and first occupied after the ADA went into effect. The standards are included as part of the DOJ’s ADA regulations, and they address access for people with a variety of disabilities, such as those affecting mobility, hearing, and vision.

 

For almost 20 years, the original DOJ ADA regulations, issued in 1991, required that new construction and alterations meet the DOJ’s ADA Standards or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS).[62] Both standards included requirements for generic spaces and elements (such as entrances, hallways, doorways, toilet facilities, and parking spaces), which applied to court facilities. But, they did not include standards for elements and spaces that are unique to judicial facilities, such as jury boxes, witness stands, and holding cells. As a result, these elements were required to comply with general accessibility standards.

The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, adopted by the DOJ on September 15, 2010, update the original standards and include specific requirements for court facilities, including courtrooms and jury rooms. These standards, rather than the 1991 Standards or UFAS, were made mandatory for state and local courts starting March 15, 2012.

The new standards bring significant changes in areas such as reach ranges, single user toilet rooms, accessible parking, entrances, employee work areas, urinals, and service and sales counters. In addition, the court-specific requirements are intended to balance several factors that, according to the DOJ, should be considered in the design process of a functioning courtroom. These include not only accessibility but the ability of the judge to maintain order; sight lines among the judge, witness, jury, and other participants; and the security of participants. Among other things, clear floor space for a forward approach is required for all courtroom stations (judges’ benches, clerks’ stations, bailiffs’ stations, deputy clerks’ stations, court reporters’ stations, and litigants’ and counsel stations). Those areas that are likely to be used by the public, such as jury areas, attorney areas, or witness stands, must be on an accessible route. Other specifications for accessible work surface heights and toe and knee clearance also apply.

The DOJ based its decision to adopt the specific provisions about judicial facilities developed by the U.S. Access Board as part of the 2004 ADA Accessibility Guidelines, in part on comments received during the comment period on the new regulations and standards. Virtually all of the commenters who addressed judicial facilities and courtrooms favored adoption of the standards and stated the importance of accessible judicial facilities. This ensures that individuals with disabilities are afforded due process and have an equal opportunity to participate in the judicial process. The DOJ noted that the presence of architectural barriers negatively emphasizes an individual’s disability; that the perception generated by makeshift accommodations discredits witnesses and attorneys with disabilities; that by planning ahead, jurisdictions can avoid those situations where it is apparent that someone’s disability is the reason why ad hoc arrangements have to be made prior to the beginning of court proceedings; and that both courtroom grandeur and accessibility can be achieved.

The new standards address access to both public and restricted or secured areas of courthouses and judicial facilities and require the following:

The 2010 DOJ regulations and accessibility standards (2010 regulations or 2010 Standards) are found here:

The DOJ website has a summary of the changes at: www.ada.gov/regs2010/factsheets/2010_Standards_factsheet.html. A separate, more detailed, discussion of the changes can be found at: www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleIII_2010/reg3_2010_appendix_b.htm.

Additionally, the Access Board’s Courthouse Access Advisory Committee has an excellent guide on accessible courthouse design under the ADA and the ABA. “Justice for All: Designing Accessible Courthouses'' (Nov. 15, 2006), available at: www.access-board.gov‌/attachments/article/432/report.pdf.

Historic Preservation

Many historic courthouses represent the importance of justice in the country’s rich history. Courts may face significant challenges in making historic courthouses accessible for people with disabilities while preserving the historic character of these structures.

The ADA does not exempt historically significant facilities from coverage by the new construction and alteration standards. If any alterations are made to a historic courthouse – for example, installing or modifying a restroom or drinking fountain – a court must follow the accessibility standards to the maximum extent feasible. If following these standards would result in damage to the historic significance of the courthouse, alternative standards that provide "a minimal level of access" may be used. The ADA provides that public entities are not required to make structural changes to historic facilities if doing so would "threaten or destroy" the historical significance of the property. This provision applies only to properties that are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or properties designated as historic under state or local law. Courts should consult their local historic advisory board or the State Historic Preservation Division regarding such modifications. Members of the community, including people with disabilities, should be invited to participate in whatever process the court uses to make decisions regarding modifications.

Under the program access requirement, if court services cannot be offered to people with disabilities in historically significant structures, then the programs or services conducted in the facility must be offered in an alternative accessible manner or location when needed. For example, a rural county court that holds hearings in an inaccessible county courthouse may move proceedings to an accessible courtroom in a city-owned building.


Part V: Working and Interacting with People with Particular Disabilities.
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PART V: Working and Interacting with People with Particular Disabilities

Communication is central to most court activities. Therefore, in addition to the legal requirements for effective communication, courts that incorporate respect and courtesy toward participants with disabilities will find it easier to accomplish their goals. One guide that has helpful suggestions is the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Communicating With and About People with Disabilities,” available at www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/fact/comucate.htm. In addition, consider following these tips:

Using Person-First Language

Interacting with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

There is a broad spectrum of hearing impairments, ranging from mild hearing loss to profound deafness. In addition to the legal requirements to provide auxiliary aids and services, when interacting with people who are deaf or hard of hearing, consider the following tips:

Interacting with People Who Have Speech or Language Disorders

Speech and language disorders are inabilities of individuals to understand and/or appropriately use the speech and language systems of society. Such disorders may range from simple sound repetitions and occasional misarticulation to the complete absence of the ability to use speech and language for communication. Speech and language problems can exist together or independently. Some causes of speech and language disorders include hearing loss, stroke, brain injury, cleft lip or palate and vocal abuse or misuse. Frequently, however, the cause is unknown.

Speech problems affect how the communication sounds. Problems with speech can occur when speech sounds are distorted and the speaker cannot be understood; when there is no source of sound because an individual’s vocal cords have been injured or removed; or when stuttering disrupts the natural rhythm of the oral message. Speech disorders include fluency disorders, motor speech disorders and voice disorders:

Individuals with language disorders experience problems with comprehension (receptive) and/or the use of spoken, written, or other symbol systems (expressive). Language refers to a code made up of a group of rules that cover what words mean, how to make new words, how to combine words, and what word combinations are best in different situations. Receptive and expressive language disabilities often occur together.

When interacting with people who have speech or language disorders, consider the following tips:

Interacting with People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision

Blindness is the total or partial inability to see because of a disease or disorder of the eye, optic nerve, or brain. Legal blindness is defined as a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse with the best possible correction. Someone with a visual acuity of 20/200 can see at 20 feet what someone with normal sight can see at 200 feet.

Vision impairment means that a person's eyesight cannot be corrected to a "normal" level. It is a loss of vision that makes it hard or impossible to do visual tasks without specialized adaptations. Vision impairments vary widely and include loss of visual acuity where the eye does not see objects clearly, loss of visual field where the eye cannot see all of the usual field of vision (e.g., tunnel vision or loss of central vision), loss of contrast, or blindness that limits vision to shades of light and dark. Visual acuity alone cannot tell you how much a person's life will be affected by vision loss. It is important to also assess how well a person uses the vision he or she has. Two people may have the same visual acuity, but one may be able to use his or her vision or blindness skills (e.g., orientation and mobility skills) better to do everyday tasks. Many people who are "blind" may have some usable vision that can help them move around in their environment and do things in their daily lives.

When interacting with people who are blind or visually impaired, consider the following tips:

Interacting with People Who Have Mobility Impairments

Mobility impairment refers to a broad range of disabilities that include orthopedic, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, and pulmonary disorders. Many things can cause mobility impairment including disease (e.g., multiple sclerosis), spinal cord trauma (e.g., a motor vehicle accident), and disorders occurring at or before birth (e.g., cerebral palsy).

Many mobility disabilities are visible because individuals may rely upon assistive devices such as wheelchairs, scooters, crutches, and canes. However, there are other mobility impairments, such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes, which are less obvious or even invisible.

When interacting with people who have mobility limitations, consider the following tips:

Interacting with People Who Have Cognitive Disabilities

Cognitive disabilities (any disability affecting mental processes) vary widely. A person with an intellectual disability (formerly called “mental retardation”) will not have the same needs as a person with a learning disability or autism. Individuals with minor learning disabilities may be able to function adequately despite the disorder, perhaps even to the extent that the disorder is never recognized; whereas a person with significant intellectual disabilities may need assistance with many aspects of daily living. It is important, however, not to approach an individual with any preconceived notions as to his or her specific capabilities. For example, not everyone who may speak slowly has a cognitive impairment.

When interacting with people who have cognitive disabilities, consider the following tips:

Interacting with People with Mental Health Disabilities

There are many different ways in which mental health conditions affect people. Some individuals can be quiet and withdrawn as result of their condition, while others can be hyperactive and disruptive. Other behaviors individuals with psychiatric conditions can exhibit include depression, feelings of hopelessness, sadness, inattention, poor concentration, fatigue, anxiety, constant joking, fantasizing, or extreme fear or panic. As a result, individuals can experience difficulty coping with the tasks and interactions of daily life. Additionally, while many individuals take medication to control their conditions, some medications have side effects that create other difficulties for individuals.

One of the biggest challenges individuals with mental health disabilities face is overcoming the stereotypes or negative attitudes others have about them. With this in mind, some things to remember when working with individuals with mental health disabilities are:


Part VI: Developing an Accommodation Protocol/Conclusion.
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PART VI: Developing an Accommodation Protocol

 

Developing a protocol to handle disability-related requests is recommended to ensure that all individuals have an equal opportunity to participate in court activities.

While some accessibility needs can be anticipated and addressed proactively, such as building an accessible website, captioning a video, or ensuring ramps are available to access all public spaces, some requests must be addressed individually on request. For example, providing a sign language interpreter, like other individualized accommodation requests, involves a case-by-case assessment to determine the appropriate course of action. A court can prepare for such requests by having in place contracts for commonly-needed services, such as sign language interpreters; alternative format materials such as accessible electronic documents, large print, and Braille; and real-time captioning.

Court systems should develop and implement a protocol for addressing individualized requests. A protocol enables the court to:

 

A protocol should include the following steps:

Step 1: Identify and train a contact person for disability-related matters.

Designating a knowledgeable contact person is a very important step toward achieving compliance with the law. Courts and other government entities that employ 50 or more persons are required to designate a "responsible person" (often referred to as the "ADA Coordinator") to coordinate compliance efforts and investigate any complaints. Courts in smaller cities and counties may consider designating the city or county ADA Coordinator to handle issues involving courts. Even smaller courts can benefit from designating a person to handle ADA compliance issues.

The court's contact person for disability issues performs four important roles:

Step 2: Involve people with disabilities and disability-related organizations in proactively identifying and resolving potential and existing access barriers.

Effective outreach will help educate the disability community on court programs, services, and activities as well as provide feedback to court personnel on ways to improve their customer service.

Step 3: Establish a procedure for evaluating accommodation requests in a timely manner and educate court personnel.

A well-drafted accommodation procedure should:

All staff members who interact with the public should be trained about the court’s procedures, as well as the accessibility features of the facilities that house judicial activities.

Appendix B includes links to examples courts may utilize to process accommodation requests. Details about recommended procedures and the state courts’ procedures for providing interpreters are set out in Part II above, in the section Determining Accommodations for Judicial Activities, and Part III above, in the section Sign Language and Oral Interpreters.

Step 4: Notify the public about the court's accommodation process.

The court is required to provide information about its ADA-related responsibilities to all interested persons. Courts can disseminate information about their disability accommodation processes, including the name of the contact person, in several ways. For example, a court could provide information about accommodation requests on its website, in its court rules, in juror summonses, in the courthouse, and in information pamphlets. Courts should also provide notice to individuals with disabilities about the ADA's prohibition against discrimination and their rights under the law. It is also helpful to post ADA notices in public places in the court building. Appendix A includes links to examples of Notices courts may utilize.

Step 5: Implement a grievance procedure

Courts with 50 or more employees must adopt and publish a grievance procedure for the prompt and equitable resolution of ADA-related complaints. Smaller courts can also benefit from adopting a grievance procedure. The grievance procedure may be included in existing grievance procedures adopted by the court for any other purpose. The ADA provides a great deal of latitude in this area, meaning that courts may choose to adopt alternative dispute resolution processes, such as third-party mediation, in their grievance procedures. Appendix C contains sample grievance procedures.


 

Conclusion

 

This guide is intended to assist judges and staff of the Georgia courts in carrying out their important work in ways consistent with federal laws banning discrimination against people with disabilities. It does not address all types of disabilities – many of which are invisible – or all possible court-related activities, but sets out the concepts of federal law and specific approaches to ensuring access. It is hoped that, equipped with this information and in consultation with people with disabilities, the courts of Georgia can continue to advance one of their important goals: to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy the fundamental right of access to courts and other judicial services.

 


 

List of Appendixes:

Appendix A. Notices

Appendix B. Requests for Reasonable Modifications

Appendix C. Sample Grievance Procedures and Complaint Forms

Appendix D. Department of Justice’s ADA Settlements, Technical Assistance Materials, and Other Information

Appendix E. Georgia Statutes, Rules, Case Law, and Resources

Appendix F. Selected Federal Cases

Appendix G. Website Accessibility

Appendix H. Other Useful Websites and Information

Appendix I. Information and Resources Regarding Sign Language Interpreters

Appendix J. Information and Resources Regarding Alternate Document Formats

Appendix K. Checklist for Identifying Facility-Related Barriers in Existing Courthouses
 
Appendix A: Notices.
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Appendix A: Notices

A court must provide individuals with disabilities information regarding the provisions of the ADA, its protections against discrimination, and its applicability to the programs, services and activities offered by the court. This sample notice is from the Department of Justice’s Toolkit for State and Local Governments and has been included consistently in the DOJ settlement agreements.

 

Also included within this appendix is a sample notice of a county’s intent to accommodate individuals with mobility impairments while undergoing renovations to make its facility physically accessible. Immediately following this notice is the county’s procedure for providing access, taken from the settlement agreement the county signed with the DOJ, which resulted in the county accommodating individuals with disabilities.

 

Notice of Nondiscrimination Sample: From the DOJ’s Toolkit for State and Local Governments. This form can be found at: www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap2toolkit.htm

NOTICE UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

 

In accordance with the requirements of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), the [name of public entity] will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs, or activities. 

 

Employment: [name of public entity] does not discriminate on the basis of disability in its hiring or employment practices and complies with all regulations promulgated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under title I of the ADA.

 

Effective Communication: [Name of public entity] will generally, upon request, provide appropriate aids and services leading to effective communication for qualified persons with disabilities so they can participate equally in [name of public entity’s] programs, services, and activities, including qualified sign language interpreters, documents in Braille, and other ways of making information and communications accessible to people who have speech, hearing, or vision impairments.

 

Modifications to Policies and Procedures: [Name of public entity] will make all reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy all of its programs, services, and activities. For example, individuals with service animals are welcomed in [name of public entity] offices, even where pets are generally prohibited.

 

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication, or a modification of policies or procedures to participate in a program, service, or activity of [name of public entity], should contact the office of [name and contact information for ADA Coordinator] as soon as possible but no later than 48 hours before the scheduled event.

 

The ADA does not require the [name of public entity] to take any action that would fundamentally alter the nature of its programs or services, or impose an undue financial or administrative burden. 

 

Complaints that a program, service, or activity of [name of public entity] is not accessible to persons with disabilities should be directed to [name and contact information for ADA Coordinator].

 

[Name of public entity] will not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the cost of providing auxiliary aids/services or reasonable modifications of policy, such as retrieving items from locations that are open to the public but are not accessible to persons who use wheelchairs.

 

As referenced in Appendix D of this guide, below is the notice Bristol County, Massachusetts created pursuant to its settlement agreement with the DOJ. The notice outlines the county’s intent to accommodate individuals with mobility impairments during the time in which its facilities are being renovated to improve physical access. Following the notice are relevant portions of the county’s settlement agreement with the DOJ.

 

The notice form can be found at: www.ada.gov/bristolco.htm#Anchor-NOTICE-35326

---------------------------------------

NOTICE TO INDIVIDUALS WITH A DISABILITY

[Exhibit 1 to 2004 agreement with Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Bristol County]

The ____________ Registry of Deeds is not physically accessible to individuals with mobility impairments. In accordance with the requirements of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA], the Registry will make alternative arrangements so that you will have access to the documents you wish to review or services you require.

       We can provide documents and services to individuals who contact us by telephone or by e-mail.

       We can assist you in locating and accessing documents.

       We can meet you outside the building to receive documents for filing.

       If you have access to a computer, we will show you how some or all of your search for land records can be conducted on-line, and help you to access our on-line services.

       Services will be provided for certain title searches for users who are unable to get into the building.

       The Registry will not impose a surcharge to cover the costs for accommodations provided to individuals with a disability.

Any individual with a disability who requires an accommodation, as described in this Notice, or other assistance, should contact the ______________ Registry of Deeds at 508- __________.
If you are dissatisfied with our services, or believe we can do better, please contact__________, the Registrar of Deeds for _____________.

DOJ Agreement with Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Bristol County – Selected Portions (2004) www.ada.gov/bristolco.htm#Anchor-Appendix-3800

PROCEDURE FOR PROVIDING ACCESS PRIOR TO FULL PHYSICAL ACCESSIBILITY OF FALL RIVER REGISTRY OF DEEDS

 

Upon execution of the Settlement Agreement, the County will institute procedures that will make the services of the Registries accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, and continue the use of these procedures until structural changes are completed that will enable individuals with disabilities to enter the buildings.

 

A.     The Registries will promptly post notices on their web-sites, inside the Registry, and outside the Registry, at or near the foot of the steps, notifying individuals that services are available to individuals with disabilities. The notices will contain, at a minimum, the information set forth in Exhibit 1, attached hereto. (see above)

B. The Registries will provide “curb-side service” for filing documents by meeting an individual with a mobility impairment outside the building, and filing the document while the individual waits. Each Registry will establish procedures for the individual with a disability to contact a clerk. The clerk will initiate service within 10 minutes of arrival and will place the request in the queue for services.

C. The Registries will permit individuals with mobility impairments who are prevented by the physical barriers from getting into the Registry of Deeds, to have access to the on-line search services at no cost.

D. The Registries will continue their current practices of providing certain services, such as document retrieval in response to requests received via internet, telephone, fax and mail; readers for visually impaired users; and assistance in carrying or reaching documents.

E. The Registries will retain at least three professionals, at rates that are mutually acceptable, who will be available to perform title searches, partial title searches and other searches and rundowns for qualified individuals with disabilities. It is understood that the user will select the professional, and that the professional will seek payment from the Registry. This paragraph is not intended to cover individuals with mobility impairments whose main occupation is to perform title searches.

F. The Registry may charge copying fees for documents at the same cost per page that individuals pay for making their own copies. The Registry will not charge individuals with mobility impairments, who are unable to gain access to the building, for providing documents via facsimile or mail.


Appendix B: Requests for Reasonable Modifications.
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Appendix B: Request for Reasonable Modifications

Below are links to state and county web pages with reasonable modifications policies and forms, including forms for requesting an accommodation.

·      Georgia, Athens-Clark County Courts: www.athensclarkecounty.com/719/‌Requests-for-Accommodation-Under-ADA

o   Includes a form for requests as well as the County’s form, Review and Action on Request for Reasonable Accommodation

·      Florida: www.flcourts.org/core/fileparse.php/243/urlt/ADA-Model-Request-Form.pdf

·      Illinois: Opening the Bench and Bar to People with Disabilities, Manual for Court Disability Coordinators, Office of the Illinois Attorney General (2014)

o   www.ag.state.il.us/rights/Manual_Court_Disability_Coordinators.pdf

o   See also these appendices:

§  B. Supreme Court of Illinois Policy on Access for Persons with Disabilities

§  C. Sample Website Description of Accommodations from Lake County

§  D. Sample Juror Summons and Request for Accommodation for Jury Service from Cook County

§  E. Code of Professional Conduct: Interpreters for the Deaf

·      Maryland: www.courts.state.md.us/courtforms/joint/ccdc049.pdf

·      Maine: www.courts.maine.gov/maine_courts/admin/ada/index.shtml

o   “Accommodation Request Procedure,” www.‌courts.‌maine‌.
gov/‌maine_courts/admin/ada/accommodation.html

·      Clark County, Washington: www.clark.wa.gov/courts/ada.html
Two useful forms created by Clark County are:

o   A sample notice of accommodation in response to an individual’s request for an accommodation. This form can be viewed at: www.clark.wa.gov/sites/all/files/courts/notice_of_accommodation.pdf

o   Sealed Medical and Health Information Cover Sheet that can be viewed at: www.clark.wa.gov/sites/all/files/courts/ada_policy.pdf

·      New York State Courts has a sample form for denying a request for accommodation. This form can be seen at: http://nycourts.gov/accessibility/PDFs/ADA_DENIAL_ACCOMMODATIONFORM_Sample_2015.pdf

 


 

·   Washington State – Court Program Accessibility information: http://www.courts.‌wa.gov/committee/?fa=committee.display&item_id=1159&committee_id=143, including the following:

o       Accommodation Procedure for Persons Participating in Court Proceedings (General Rule 33) www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.display&group=ga&set=GR&ruleid=gagr33

o       Accommodation Request Form and Instructions (General Rule 33) www.courts.wa.gov/forms/?fa=forms.contribute&formID=71

o       Frequently Requested Accommodations [Word Document]

Appendix C: Sample Grievance Procedures and Complaint Forms.
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Appendix C: Sample Grievance Procedures and Complaint Forms

Courts with 50 or more employees must adopt and publish policies and procedures for resolving ADA — related complaints. Smaller courts can also benefit from adopting a grievance procedure. Many states have created grievance procedures as well as complaint forms to streamline this process. Samples of both are below.

 

In addition to the sample grievance procedure and complaint form from the state of Georgia that are below, other grievance procedures and complaint forms can be found at:


 

Grievance Procedure Sample 1: From the State of Georgia, includes complaint form and grievance procedure.

 

STATE OF GEORGIA

[Agency Name]

 

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) /

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT

 

COMPLAINT FORM

 

The purpose of the ADA/Section 504 Grievance Procedure is to attempt to promptly and fairly resolve a conflict or dispute when an individual believes that [agency] is not in compliance with its requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act and [Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973] and implementing regulation 28 C.F.R. 35.107.

 

This Grievance Procedure is informal. An individual’s participation in this informal process is completely voluntary. Individuals choosing not to utilize this grievance procedure may directly file a formal complaint with the respective enforcement agency as permitted under law.

 

For those individuals that wish to file a complaint under [agency’s] Grievance Procedure, please complete this complaint form and return to [Agency ADA Coordinator/designated Agency representative].

 

Section I

 

 

Name: _____________________________   Home Telephone: ________________

 

                                                                       Work Telephone: ________________

 

Address: ___________________________   E-mail Address: __________________

 

               ___________________________

 

               ___________________________

 

(continued on next page)


 

STATE OF GEORGIA [Agency Name]

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) /

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT

 

COMPLAINT FORM (continued)

Please indicate the type of complaint:

 

            ___Employment related

            ___Access to programs, services or activities of [agency]

 

If your complaint is employment related, please complete Section II. Otherwise, go to Section III.

 

 

Section II

 

 

___ I am an employee of [agency]

 

___ I am not an employee of [agency]

 

 

If you are an [agency] employee, or applicant for employment please answer the following questions. Otherwise, go to Section III.

 

 

Your Department: ______________________  Supervisor: _______________________

 

Job Title: ___________________________   Work Location: ____________________

 

Work Phone No.: _________________   Work E-Mail Address: _________________

 

Home Phone No:

 

 

(continued on next page)

 

STATE OF GEORGIA [Agency Name]

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) /

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT

 

COMPLAINT FORM (continued)

Section III

 

When did the acts that you believe were discriminatory occur? Date(s):

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Please describe the act(s) that you believe were discriminatory. Please be specific. Use additional sheets if necessary.

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________              _____________________

Signature                                                                    Date

 

Please return this completed form to [Agency ADA Coordinator/Human Resources Office]. The [Agency ADA Coordinator/Human Resources Office] will schedule a meeting (in person or via telephone) within [xx] working days after receipt of the completed complaint form. The purpose of the meeting will be to fairly resolve the complaint.

(Continued on next page)

If a satisfactory resolution to the complaint is reached at the meeting, a letter will be forwarded to you that identifies (a) description of the complaint; and (b) how the complaint was resolved.

 

If the agency is unable to resolve the complaint, you will be notified in writing why the agency was unable to resolve the complaint. Such notification shall include (a) a description of the complaint; (b) a statement concerning the issues which could not be resolved; and (c) the steps necessary to file a formal complaint with the appropriate enforcement agency.

 

If the agency is unable to resolve the complaint, you may also request a review of the complaint by [department/agency head]. You must request this review within [xx] working days of the time you received written notification that the agency was unable to resolve your complaint.

 

The review will be completed within [xx] working days after receipt of the written review request. [Department/agency head] will issue a written response to your review request. If [Department/agency head] finds that the complaint can be resolved, s/he will work with the [ADA Coordinator/Human Resources Office] towards a satisfactory resolution to the complaint.

 

If the [department/agency head] is not able to resolve the complaint, you will be advised of the steps necessary to file a formal complaint with the appropriate enforcement agency.


 

 

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

 

The purpose of the ADA/Section 504 Grievance Procedure is to attempt to promptly and fairly resolve a conflict or dispute when an individual believes that [agency] is not in compliance with its requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act and [Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973] and implementing regulation 28 C.F.R. 35.107. If you require a reasonable accommodation to complete this form, or need this form in an alternate format, please contact [contact person].

 

This Grievance Procedure is informal. An individual’s participation in this informal process is completely voluntary. Individuals choosing not to utilize this grievance procedure may directly file a formal complaint with the respective enforcement agency as permitted under law.

 

For those individuals that wish to file a complaint under [agency’s] Grievance Procedure, please take the following steps:

 

1.     Complete the complaint form and return to [Agency ADA Coordinator/designated Agency representative].

 

2.     The [Agency ADA Coordinator/designated Agency representative] will schedule a meeting (in person or via telephone) within [xx] working days after receipt of the completed complaint form. The purpose of the meeting will be to explore ways to fairly resolve the complaint. Upon the mutual agreement of the parties, additional meetings may be scheduled if necessary to reach an equitable resolution of the complaint.

 

3.     If a satisfactory resolution to the complaint is reached at the meeting(s), a letter will be forwarded to you that identifies (a) description of the complaint; and (b) the terms of the agreed upon resolution.

 

If the agency is unable to resolve the complaint, you will be notified in writing why the agency was unable to resolve the complaint. Such notification shall include (a) a description of the complaint; (b) a statement concerning the issues which could not be resolved; and (c) the steps necessary to file a formal complaint with the appropriate enforcement agency.


 

(continued)

STATE OF GEORGIA [Agency]

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) /

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT

 

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

 

Additional Steps:

 

4.     If the agency is unable to resolve the complaint, you may request a review of

the complaint by [department/agency head]. You must request this review within [xx] working days of the time you received written notification that the agency was unable to resolve your complaint.

 

5.     The review will be completed within [xx] working days after receipt of the written review request. [Department/agency head] will issue a written response to your review request. If [Department/agency head] finds that further discussions may lead to an equitable resolution, he/she will work with the [ADA Coordinator/designated Agency representative] to achieve a satisfactory resolution to the complaint.

 

If the [department/agency head] is not able to resolve the complaint, you will be advised of the steps necessary to file a formal complaint with the appropriate enforcement agency.

 


 

 

Grievance Procedure Sample 2: From DOJ’s Toolkit for State and Local Governments. This procedure can be found at: www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap2toolkit.htm This form can be found at: www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap2toolkit.htm

 

[Name of public entity]
Grievance Procedure under
the Americans with Disabilities Act

 

This Grievance Procedure is established to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"). It may be used by anyone who wishes to file a complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of services, activities, programs, or benefits by the [name of public entity]. The [e.g. State, City, County, Town]'s Personnel Policy governs employment-related complaints of disability discrimination. 

 

The complaint should be in writing and contain information about the alleged discrimination such as name, address, phone number of complainant and location, date, and description of the problem. Alternative means of filing complaints, such as personal interviews or a tape recording of the complaint, will be made available for persons with disabilities upon request.

 

The complaint should be submitted by the grievant and/or his/her designee as soon as possible but no later than 60 calendar days after the alleged violation to:

 

[Insert ADA Coordinator’s name]
ADA Coordinator [and other title if appropriate]
[Insert ADA Coordinator’s mailing address]

 

Within 15 calendar days after receipt of the complaint, [ADA Coordinator's name] or [his/her] designee will meet with the complainant to discuss the complaint and the possible resolutions. Within 15 calendar days of the meeting, [ADA Coordinator's name] or [his/her] designee will respond in writing, and where appropriate, in a format accessible to the complainant, such as large print, Braille, or audio tape. The response will explain the position of the [name of public entity] and offer options for substantive resolution of the complaint.

 

If the response by [ADA Coordinator's name] or [his/her] designee does not satisfactorily resolve the issue, the complainant and/or his/her designee may appeal the decision within 15 calendar days after receipt of the response to the [City Manager/County Commissioner/ other appropriate high-level official] or [his/her] designee.

 

Within 15 calendar days after receipt of the appeal, the [City Manager/County Commissioner/ other appropriate high-level official] or [his/her] designee will meet with the complainant to discuss the complaint and possible resolutions. Within 15 calendar days after the meeting, the [City Manager/County Commissioner/ other appropriate high-level official] or [his/her] designee will respond in writing, and, where appropriate, in a format accessible to the complainant, with a final resolution of the complaint.

 

All written complaints received by [name of ADA Coordinator] or [his/her] designee, appeals to the [City Manager/County Commissioner/ other appropriate high-level official] or [his/her] designee, and responses from these two offices will be retained by the [public entity] for at least three years.


 

Appendix D: Department of Justice's ADA Settlements, Technical Assistance Materials, and Other Information.
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Appendix D: Department of Justice’s ADA Settlements, Technical Assistance Materials, and Other Information

Note: This section is current through November 1, 2015. Depending on the date of the particular matter, some settlements and agreements are based on pre-2010 standards and regulations, and others are based on the 2010 ADA Standards or a combination of those and the earlier ones.

ADA Settlements and Consent Agreements (listed in alphabetical order by state)

The agreements below were selected because their content pertains to accommodating individuals with disabilities in courthouse settings and ensuring individuals have access to all services, programs, and activities of state and local courthouses. Unless otherwise noted, all the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreements can be found at: www.ada.gov/enforce_activities.htm#settlements

 

Alabama
City of Fort Payne, Alabama (2004) (physical access) – This agreement resolved a complaint that the second floor of the Fort Payne City Hall was inaccessible to individuals with mobility impairments. Under the agreement, the Department reviewed the city’s proposed architectural drawings for its new city hall facility, to ensure that it complies with the ADA. Until the new facility is constructed, the city agreed to relocate meetings and court proceedings to accessible areas within the existing city hall building and to make sure that its current procedures for providing alternative access were well publicized and widely disseminated, including attaching a notice to all traffic citations and other court notices. The city also agreed to notify its employees and the public about the requirements of Title II and to publicize public grievance procedures for resolving Title II complaints. Settlement is unavailable.

 

Arkansas

Van Buren County, Arkansas (1994) (physical access) – The Department found that because of architectural barriers, the activities held in the County’s courtroom and other services, activities, and programs located in other areas of the courthouse were inaccessible to and unusable by individuals with mobility disabilities. The Department also found that the County had failed to do a self-evaluation, write a transition plan, issue proper notices required by the ADA, or adopt a grievance procedure as required by the ADA. Under the settlement agreement, the County agreed to develop a self-evaluation and transition plan and to publish notices and a grievance procedure. The County also agreed to develop a written policy providing that whenever an individual with a mobility disability might be required or choose to attend legal and other proceedings that are held in the courtroom located in the County's courthouse, the County would, upon reasonable notice from the individual desiring access, relocate the proceeding to a location that is accessible to and usable by the individual with disability. www.justice.gov/crt/foia/readingroom/frequent_requests/ada_settlements/ak/ak1.txt. See also the Letter of Findings of November 23, 1993 at: www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2010/12/15/tal414.txt

Connecticut

State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, Connecticut (2003) (effective communication) – The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch agreed to resolve a complaint alleging that the state had failed to provide a sign language interpreter for a man who is deaf at three judicial proceedings. Under the agreement the state will furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language and oral interpreters, where necessary to ensure effective communication. Agreement is unavailable.

Florida

Orange County Clerk of Courts, Florida (2014) (electronic access to court records) – The Department reached a settlement with the Orange County Clerk of Courts in Florida to remedy ADA violations regarding access to court documents. The settlement resolves allegations that the Orange County Clerk of Courts failed to provide an attorney who is blind with electronic court documents in an accessible format readable by his screen reader technology, despite repeated requests. Indeed, a motion filed in one of his cases included over 20 exhibits, the majority of which were not provided in an accessible format for over four months.

Under the settlement agreement, the Orange County Clerk of Courts will provide individuals with disabilities with any document in the official court record in an accessible format upon request, and ensure that the Clerk of Courts’ website is accessible to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are blind, in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA, available at www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20. The Clerk of Courts will also pay $10,000 in damages to the complaining attorney and undergo training on the ADA and WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility requirements. www.ada.gov/occ.htm

Georgia

Ben Hill County, Georgia (2001) (physical access) – The County agreed to construct accessible bathrooms and to install an accessible ramp and elevator to allow access to the courthouse for people with mobility disabilities. While these modifications were taking place, the county agreed to relocate court activities when necessary to provide program access for people with disabilities. Settlement is unavailable.

 

Illinois

Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Illinois (2000) (effective communication) The Department entered an agreement resolving a complaint alleging that an Illinois court had required a probationer who is deaf to pay the costs of sign language interpreter services at court-ordered counseling sessions. The court agreed to reimburse the complainant for the cost of sign language interpreters he provided at his own expense during his program. The court also adopted written policies and procedures requiring contractors to provide auxiliary aids and services when necessary for effective communication with deaf or hard of hearing individuals. The court agreed to assist contractors in paying for interpreter services and to monitor the contractors' compliance with the auxiliary aids requirements of the ADA.  www.justice.gov/crt/foia/readingroom/frequent_requests/ada_settlements/il/illlakecounty.php

Massachusetts

Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Bristol County, Massachusetts (2004) (physical access) – The Department settled its lawsuit against the State and Bristol County for allegedly violating the ADA by failing to make the services, programs, and activities of the county’s trial courts and registries of deeds accessible to individuals with mobility impairments. The lack of physical accessibility or other alternative arrangements — courtrooms and offices were located up flights of stairs in buildings without ramps or elevators — allegedly prevented the two lawyers with disabilities who were named as plaintiffs, as well other lawyers, parties, witnesses, jurors, spectators, and others with mobility disabilities, from gaining access to the services of five courthouses and three registries of deeds offices. Massachusetts agreed to make structural changes at each courthouse by constructing an elevator or ramp, along with accessible restrooms. The agreement also called for modifications of procedures to ensure that any services or programs located in inaccessible areas in a courthouse would be provided to lawyers, parties, witnesses, juror, and spectators in an accessible area. In addition, Bristol County agreed to make physical changes at its registries of deeds offices by constructing a ramp or elevator, along with accessible restrooms, to enable individuals with disabilities to gain physical access to the registries and their services. Until these changes were completed, the County agreed, among other things, to:

·       In two buildings, schedule civil, criminal, and juvenile proceedings in the first floor accessible courtroom when necessary to accommodate attorneys, parties (except criminal defendants), witnesses, or jurors with mobility disabilities;

 

Michigan

Thirty-Eighth District Court, Eastpointe, Michigan (2007) (physical access) – This settlement agreement resolved a complaint that a courthouse constructed in 1995 was not accessible to persons with disabilities. The Department of Justice found 112 violations of the ADA Standards. The municipality agreed to make structural changes to the courthouse, including converting the north entrance to an accessible entrance with accessible parking, modifying or replacing exterior routes and curb ramps, installing permanent room identification signs with raised characters and Braille, providing an accessible drinking fountain, installing visual fire alarms, creating accessible routes within the courtroom to features such as the witness stand and judge’s bench, installing wheelchair seating areas in the spectator seating area of the courtroom, and modifying several toilet rooms and one holding cell to make them accessible. www.ada.gov/eastpointe.htm

 

Mississippi

Hancock County, Mississippi (1997) (effective communication) – This agreement resolved a complaint that an individual was disqualified or otherwise excused from serving as a juror for Hancock County Circuit Court because he was deaf. The County established a written policy requiring that the Circuit Court ensure that persons who are deaf or hard of hearing have an equal opportunity to benefit from the programs and services of the Courts, including, but not limited to, participating as jurors, parties, witnesses, and spectators. The policy provides that, when the court has received notice that interpreting services are necessary, the Court will provide, at its expense, the services of qualified interpreters. The County reimbursed the complainant for the interpreting expenses that the complainant incurred when he appeared as a potential juror. www.ada.gov/hancocks.htm

 

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania (1997) (effective communication) – This agreement provides that prospective jurors with disabilities can request accommodations prior to proceedings in open court. The agreement resolved a complaint alleging that an individual was not allowed to serve as a jury member after he disclosed his need for an accommodation related to his disability. The complaint alleged that the only available means for requesting accommodations for a disability was during voir dire in open court. This procedure resulted in the unnecessary public disclosure of information about prospective jurors' disabilities and the unwarranted exclusion of some prospective jurors because of this information. The court agreed to include information about requesting accommodations in the initial jury summons, and to adopt and publish procedures for evaluating requests and maintaining the confidentiality of such requests.

Specifically, the Court agreed to publish a procedure providing for a confidential interview/inquiry of all prospective jurors prior to selection for a jury panel, to determine if the juror anticipates a need for an accommodation should they be selected to serve on a panel; to evaluate the requested accommodation; and if it is reasonable and available, make provisions for the accommodation in the event the potential juror is chosen to serve. The trial judge and the potential juror were to be notified of the availability of the accommodation prior to voir dire. The Court agreed that if the requested accommodation was reasonable, but not immediately available, the Court would inform the prospective juror and reschedule the juror's service for another day when the accommodation could be arranged. www.ada.gov/philcour.htm

 

South Carolina

Oconee County, South Carolina Courthouse (2010) (physical access)This agreement resolved a compliance review of the county’s courthouse which, when it was built in 2003, did not meet ADA requirements. The agreement requires the county to create accessible parking in lots that had no accessible parking spaces, such as two staff parking areas; create accessible routes into and within the facility including the emergency exit; add wheelchair seating spaces in courtrooms and jury boxes; and make all toilet rooms and common-use break rooms accessible. The County agreed to increase the opening width of the metal detector located at the only designated accessible entrance to the courthouse, provide accessible routes to certain witness stands, and make certain court reporters’ stations accessible. www.ada.gov/oconee.htm

 

Texas

U.S. v. City of Houston, Texas (2000) (effective communication) – As part of a comprehensive agreement to improve the way its municipal courts system, police department, and jail communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing, the City of Houston agreed to take numerous actions, including, with regard to its municipal court system, to:

       adopt a new written policy guaranteeing appropriate auxiliary aids and services for participants in court proceedings, including parties, witnesses, jurors, and spectators;

       upon reasonable notice, secure the services of a qualified interpreter(s), provided that, with regard to spectators, such services shall not create an undue financial and administrative burden or result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the service, program, or activity conducted by the court system. In those circumstances where the court system believed that the services would result in such a burden or alteration, the court system was to take any other action that would not result in such a burden or such an alteration but would nevertheless ensure that, to the fullest extent possible, individuals with disabilities received the benefits or services provided by the court system;

       provide information about these new policies on all official notices of court dates, including tickets, summonses, and other similar notices, and publish notices in legal periodicals that reach the City's legal community;

       provide training on the new policies for every judge and court administrator on an annual basis. www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2000/March/158cr.htm

The DOJ Agreements reached through Project Civic Access (PCA) (listed in alphabetical order by state)

The following settlement agreements are examples of those reached as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Civic Access, a wide-ranging effort, begun in 1999, to ensure that counties, cities, towns, and villages comply with the ADA by eliminating physical and communication barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating fully in community life. Project Civic Access is dedicated to removing barriers to all aspects of civic life, including courthouses, libraries, polling places, police stations, and parks. The project now includes 218 settlement agreements with 203 localities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In most of these matters, the compliance reviews were undertaken on the Department’s own initiative under the authority of title II and, in many cases, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Some matters were undertaken in response to complaints filed against the localities. Many of the resulting agreements, including those listed below as examples, address court facilities, and services. Among other things, the agreements have required modifications to jury seating and deliberation areas, judges’ benches, spectator seating, and routes of travel. They have also required that counties, cities, and towns ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing receive appropriate auxiliary aids during court proceedings.

 

California

Merced County, California (2015) (comprehensive review) – Typical of the increased number of agreements the DOJ reached in 2014 and 2015 through Project Civic Access, this agreement resolved a wide-ranging compliance review of the County’s programs and activities including courts, office buildings, law enforcement, polling places and other facilities such as shelters, sidewalks, and web-based services and programs. Among other things, the County agreed to bring its superior court in Los Banos into compliance with the ADA by May 2018 (to the 2010 Standards because alterations will occur after the effective date of those standards). However, in one provision of note, the agreement states that in the event that the Superior Court of California is built as planned, and ground is broken by January 1, 2017, Merced County will have no obligation to make physical improvements to the Courthouse in Los Banos since the County will have a new courthouse that must be ADA compliant when built. www.ada.gov/merced_co/merced_sa.html

 

Georgia

The Department of Justice has reached seven Project Civic Access agreements with cities and counties in Georgia. They are with:

Examples of these agreements, and provisions related to access to court-related services and activities, are listed below.

 

City of Atlanta (2009) (services, procedures, physical access, effective communication) – The City of Atlanta agreed to numerous actions to resolve a compliance review, including making physical modifications to its facilities; officially recognizing Georgia’s telephone relay service and training staff to use the relay service to ensure effective communication for people who are deaf or hard of hearing; implementing a plan to improve the accessibility of city sidewalks; ensuring that the city’s official website is accessible to persons with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision; developing a method for providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the city’s accessible services, activities and programs; and installing signs at inaccessible entrances to facilities directing persons with disabilities to accessible entrances.

 

The DOJ found that there were numerous violations in the main courthouse, which was subject to but did not meet the ADA Standards; changes were required, to meet the 2010 Standards. For example, the main entrance had a 1 inch high threshold. Interior doors required more than 5 pounds of force to open, some toilet room signs had no raised or Braille characters. There was no signage informing the public of the availability of an assistive listening system in a court room. A court room sign was mounted on the door and lacked raised or Braille characters. The ramp to the court reporter's stand was inaccessible, with a running slope of 9.7%, and the counsel's table in the court room was inaccessible. Other shortcomings were found in Probation Services, Records Management, Warrant Services, and the Court Detention Unit. www.ada.gov/atlanta_pca/atlanta_sa.htm

 

Chatham County, Georgia (2004) (services, procedures, websites) – This agreement addressed various services provided by the county, including court services. The county agreed to adopt a grievance procedure for ADA complaints and adopt procedures for providing effective communication for citizens with disabilities. The county also agreed to adopt a policy for county websites, which includes information about the county courts and can be viewed at: http://www.justice.gov/crt/settlement-agreement-between-united-states-america-and-chatham-county-georgia-under-americans.

 

The Chatham County settlement agreement also contained several attachments regarding architectural barriers at county court facilities. The county agreed to fully update its main courthouse facility for accessibility, and agreed to make an annex to the courthouse, yet to be built, fully accessible. The county also agreed to provide accessible parking at its juvenile court building. Finally, the county agreed to make substantial alterations to the historic Legislative Courthouse. Details about these efforts are available at the Department of Justice website at: www.ada.gov/ChathamAttD.htm.

 

Glynn County, Georgia (2009) (physical access, websites) – As part of an agreement with the Department of Justice after a review of numerous County activities, including its Judicial Center and the services carried out there, the County agreed to make changes to ensure that parking, routes into buildings, entrances, public telephones, restrooms, service counters, and drinking fountains in various buildings were accessible to people with disabilities. The County also agreed to ensure that its official website is accessible to people with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision and use a screen reader to access websites. Specifically, it agreed to, within one month of the date of the agreement, and on subsequent anniversaries of that date, distribute to all persons, employees, and contractors who design, develop, maintain, or otherwise have responsibility for content and format of its website(s) or third party websites used by the County, the technical assistance document, “Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities" available at: www.ada.gov/websites2.htm and see Appendix G of this guide.

 

The County also agreed to, within three months, and throughout the life of the agreement, to:

www.ada.gov/glynn_co_pca/glynnco_sa.htm

City of Savannah, Georgia (2002) (physical access)This agreement covered a variety of municipal programs and services. The city agreed to make modifications to two accessible bathrooms adjacent to the city Recorder’s Court, which is housed in the Chatham County Courthouse Judicial Center. The city agreed to install new signage and make other modifications to the bathrooms to meet ADA standards. www.ada.gov/savannah.htm

Indiana
LaPorte, Indiana (2009) (physical access, web site) – After a review of numerous County services and facilities, including two courthouses and the juvenile services center and the services carried out there, the County agreed to take several steps, including steps intended to increase physical access and web site access. It also agreed to issue a notice and grievance procedure, which are included in the section of this guide with sample policies and notices. www.ada.gov/laporte_pca/laportesa.htm

 

Missouri

Washington County, Missouri (2015) (comprehensive review) – Although Washington County represented that it had taken actions to comply with the ADA, including modifying the entrance and installing an elevator in the Washington County Courthouse, the Department found violations and listed them in an appendix to the agreement. The agreement also included a provision allowing the County to use certain exceptions in the accessibility standards for historic buildings as it made alterations to fix the problems. Specifically, to the extent that the Courthouse is a qualified historic building or facility as defined by the 2010 Standards, if the County believes that compliance with the requirements for accessible routes, entrances, or toilet facilities would threaten or destroy the historical significance of the building or facility, the specific exceptions for alterations could apply. They are, however, contingent on a determination by the State Historic Preservation Office, after consultation with the County, that compliance with the requirements for a specific element would threaten or destroy the historic significance of the Courthouse. www.ada.gov/washington_county_pca/washington_county_sa.html

 

New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey (2006) (physical access) – This agreement resolved a compliance review of city programs, activities, and services. Newark agreed to make physical modifications to a wide variety of facilities, including pools and recreation centers, libraries, fire houses, police stations, courts, city hall and other government offices in order to make its activities accessible to people with disabilities.

www.ada.gov/NewarkNJpca.htm

New Mexico

San Juan County, New Mexico (2015) (comprehensive review) – This agreement includes the typical provisions included in agreements resolving comprehensive PCA reviews. The Department cited violations of the ADA Standards in various areas court-related facilities, including a holding cell, jury room, employee toilets, clerk’s office, and doors throughout the facilities. In addition, the agreement required the County to ensure that its programs, services, and activities that area operated at facilities owned or controlled by others are, when viewed in their entirety, readily accessible to and usable by persons with mobility impairments. To that end, the County is to take certain actions addressing accessibility issues, within a certain time frame, or to submit for review by the Department a plan for providing access for persons with disabilities to the programs, services, and activities housed in the facility.

www.ada.gov/san_juan_co_pca/san_juan_sa.html

 

Ohio

Highland County, Ohio (2004) (physical access) – The county agreed to correct new construction and alterations problems and to make changes to existing facilities, including court facilities, in order to provide program access for people with mobility disabilities. The program access changes included alterations to doors, toilet rooms, and conference rooms. In the offices of the probate court, the juvenile court, and clerk of court, the county agreed to make changes to its service counters, by providing a lower (maximum 36”) counter, providing and auxiliary counter, or providing equivalent facilitation.

www.ada.gov/highlandsa.htm

Pennsylvania

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (2010) (physical access and effective communication) – The county agreed to make changes to its facilities and to ensure effective communication with any participant with a hearing disability (including jurors, witnesses, judges, clerks, counsel, parties, and members of the public) by, among other things, purchasing and making available a reasonable number of portable assistive listening systems for use at the Courthouse and each of the Magistrates' Offices and training appropriate court personnel in the set-up, use, and maintenance of the assistive listening system and its receivers. The County’s notice can be viewed at: www.ada.gov/lancaster_pca/lancaster_atta.htm and its grievance procedure is at: www.ada.gov/lancaster_pca/lancaster_attb.htm

 

Monroe County, Pennsylvania (2005) (physical access, effective communication) – To resolve a PCA review, the county agreed to make numerous changes to its facilities and programs. The Department found that in one court building, no assistive listening systems (ALS’s) or devices were available for persons who are hard of hearing in courtrooms and other assembly areas. Among other things, the county agreed to provide portable ALS’s, including at least two receivers for each ALS that could be circulated among the various assembly areas when requested. The county agreed to provide signage in each meeting room, courtroom, and assembly area indicating the availability of the ALS; to monitor requests for the ALS; and to provide additional ALS’s if there was a higher than expected need for this accommodation.

 

In a new courtroom that had fixed benches but no areas for persons who use wheelchairs, the county agreed to provide at least two wheelchair seating areas complying with the accessibility standards, with companion seating. In the same courtroom, all the chairs in the witness box and the jury box were fixed to the floor, making them inaccessible to persons who use wheelchairs. The county agreed to provide at least one wheelchair seating area at each location, adjoining an accessible route that also serves as a means of egress in case of emergency. The county also agreed to provide, in the same courtroom, handrails on the existing ramp to the witness chair.

www.ada.gov/monroecountypa.htm

 

Virginia

Arlington County, Virginia (2006) (effective communication) – The county agreed to remove architectural barriers in its facilities, including numerous parks and recreation facilities, libraries, community centers, the courthouse, the homeless shelter, a nature center, the animal shelter, the visitors’ center, and the building that houses the department of human services.

www.ada.gov/arlingsa.htm

 

Fairfax County, Virginia (2011) (physical access, communication, policies) – The county agreed to remove architectural barriers in numerous facilities, including court facilities. Corrections specific to areas used by the courts included modifying the knee clearance height of the computer in the research and copy center area; correcting an inaccessible Sally Port (with a curb but no curb ramp); and altering parking, elevators, counters, and knee clearance at tables in hearing rooms and courtrooms. The County also agreed to identify sources of qualified sign language and oral interpreters, and real-time transcription services, and to implement and report to the Department its written procedures, with time frames, for fulfilling requests from the public for sign language or oral interpreters, real-time transcription services, and documents in alternate formats (Braille, large print, cassette tapes, and accessible electronic formats such as HTML on compact disk or other electronic storage media). The County also agreed to maintain the accessibility of its programs, activities, services, facilities, and equipment, and to take whatever actions are necessary (such as routine testing of accessibility equipment and routine accessibility audits of its programs and facilities) to do so. www.ada.gov/fairfax_pca/fairfax_sa.htm

THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE LETTERS OF FINDING (listed in alphabetical order by state)

The Department of Justice issues letters of finding (LOFs) to close some investigations. The following letters are a selection of LOFs related to access to court facilities, programs, and services. They include letters finding both compliance and non-compliance. Generally the letters of finding of non-compliance also include remedial steps that have been taken or will be taken by the respondent, and the investigation is closed based on those steps. All the letters can be found by their LOF number at: www.justice.gov/crt/americans-disabilities-act-letters-findings

 

Alaska

Superior Court for the State of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska (1994) (effective communication) – The court did not violate Title II when it denied complainant's motion to file briefs on audiocassette in place of written briefs, because complainant failed to establish nexus between his impairment and the requested modification to the court's rules. LOF 29.

 

California

Kings County Superior Court, Hanford, California (1994) (effective communication) – The court purchased sufficient assistive listening systems, including three types of receivers, to provide effective communication for individuals who are hard of hearing. LOF 32.

 

Indiana

Greene Superior Court, Bloomfield, Indiana (1996) (effective communication) – The complainant alleged that the Court failed to provide him with auxiliary aids or a continuance for his hearing as an accommodation for his illness that caused difficulties hearing and speaking. The DOJ found that the illness was temporary and, in any event, did not affect the individual’s hearing or speech to the extent that he could not participate effectively during his court date; it was therefore unlikely that he would be found to be a qualified individual with a disability. Even if he were covered by the ADA, the DOJ found that complainant did not request any auxiliary aids or assert that he could not fully participate in the proceedings during the time of the hearing. The ADA does not require a public entity to provide auxiliary aids or other accommodations absent any notice that an accommodation is needed. LOF 81.

 

Kentucky

Hardinsburg County Courthouse, Kentucky (1996) (physical access) – An elevator was installed which provides individuals with mobility impairments access from the entrance to the Circuit Court on the third floor. The doors to the restrooms were widened to accommodate wheelchairs and a ramp was installed from the walkway to the building. LOF 55.

 

 

Michigan

Osceola County Courthouse, Michigan (1996) (program accessibility) – The Friend of the Court office was moved to an accessible location on the first floor of the Courthouse. The Circuit Court proceedings are moved to the accessible District or Probate Court rooms when individuals with disabilities request such an accommodation. LOF 74.

 

Missouri

St. Louis County, Missouri (1993) (effective communication) – In a detailed LOF, the DOJ found that the County's stated policy of not providing assistive listening devices to courtroom spectators violated title II. Although the County had written an outline of steps to be followed in securing a sign language interpreter for hearing impaired individuals who had business before the Court or were interested in employment opportunities, the policy did not make provisions for other members of the public. It also did not provide for hearing impaired individuals who could not understand sign language.

 

This LOF explains that spectators, including the complainant who had a hearing impairment, are entitled to auxiliary aids even if they have no connection to the proceedings, subject to the statutory provisions concerning fundamental alteration and undue burdens. LOF 82.

 

New Mexico

Bernalillo County Courthouse, New Mexico (1996) (program accessibility) – Programs, services, and activities have been made accessible by means of an alternate entrance to the courthouse and through the use of a platform lift to the second floor. Although the County restricts the unauthorized use of the platform lift by requiring the use of a key for its operation, it has taken steps to make this lift readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. In a memorandum, the County reminded the Courthouse security personnel of their responsibility either to provide persons who need the platform lift with the key for its operation, or to assist persons in the use of such lift. Additionally, the County has agreed to post a sign at the accessible entrance that provides notice to the public of such policy. LOF 59.

 

Ohio

Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Cleveland, Ohio (1994) (effective communication) – The County Court was found in compliance with the Title II requirements for effective communication after it corrected a violation and purchased computerized real-time transcription, as had been requested by an individual who is hard of hearing. LOF 42.

 

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania (1996) (effective communication) – The courts established a written policy for providing interpreters in all civil proceedings in which a participant is deaf and ordered nine TDDs to be installed at the Family Court Building. LOF 57.

 

 

Washington

Snohomish County Superior Court, Everett, Washington (1994) (effective communication) – the DOJ found violations concerning effective communication had been corrected after the County Court established a policy requiring consultation with individuals with hearing impairments to identify needed auxiliary aids. The letter recounts in detail a sequence of events showing that shortly after the ADA became effective, the Court had adequate notice that a wireless FM system — or at least an auxiliary aid — was required for the complainant to participate in its juvenile proceedings; and that for one informational meeting, no auxiliary aid had been provided. Other proceedings were continued so that the Court could obtain auxiliary aids, but they did not provide effective communication. (The complainant had requested a wireless FM system but the Court attempted to use other means of communication, including asking parties to speak loudly and using a different type of auxiliary aid.) The DOJ found that the Court failed to give primary consideration to the request of the complainant, or otherwise provide an effective means of communication but that it had taken several steps to remedy the violation. The County had acquired real-time captioning, issued a written policy for ensuring effective communication, and made several methods available to communicate with individuals with hearing impairments, including video text display (real-time captioning), assistive listening devices, and interpreters. LOF 39.

 

West Virginia

Circuit Court of Berkeley County and Supreme Court of Appeals, West Virginia (1994) (practices) – The Circuit Court did not violate Title II when it relieved the bondsman of his responsibility for the bail of an individual with a mental disability because the action was based on a nondiscriminatory reason (the length of time that the charges had been pending) rather than on the individual’s disability. The Supreme Court of Appeals did not violate Title II when it denied the individual’s appeal. LOF 41.

 

Department of Justice ADA Technical Assistance Letters and CORE Letters (listed by subject area)

The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to entities that are subject to the Act. Letters assist parties in understanding how the ADA may apply to their particular case. The technical assistance, however, does not constitute a determination by the Department of Justice regarding the parties' rights or responsibilities under the ADA and does not constitute a binding determination by the Department of Justice. All the technical assistance letters can be located by number through the ADA Technical Assistance Letters Index at: www.justice.gov/crt/americans-disabilities-act-technical-assistance-letters-41. The core letters are available by letter number at: www.justice.gov/crt/core-letters-0.

 

Auxiliary Aids

Auxiliary aids and court costs (1992) – Regarding payment for certain court costs and provision of auxiliary aids and services necessary to understand court proceedings. TA letter 73.

 

Auxiliary aids and responsibilities of court and attorney (1995) – Distinguishing between responsibilities of the court under Title II and attorney representing a client under Title III, when the client is a party to a proceeding. TA letter 659.

 

Sign language interpreters, court costs (1996) – Core letter 211


Renovations and Physical Alterations to a Courthouse

Renovations of a courthouse (1994) – Addressing questions regarding renovations of a municipal court, waivers, and program accessibility. TA letter 552.

 

Alterations at a courthouse, Pennsylvania (1996) – This letter responded to a judge’s stated concern that the requirements of the ADA for alteration of courtrooms would increase the costs of specific planned alterations and limit the functionality of courtroom design. In its technical assistance letter, the DOJ set out the Title II requirements under the ADA Standards and the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards and agreed that, as the judge noted, the requirement that some juror and witness seats be level or ramped may alter traditional courtroom design. The Department stated its belief that requiring full accessibility of these areas would have minimal conflict with traditional courtroom design. In addition, the Department noted that full accessibility of court reporters' stations, bailiffs' stations, and counsel and litigants' stations is justified by the more fungible nature of these positions, i.e., more than one person may use these stations, which increases the likelihood that an individual with a disability will need to use the stations. TA letter 688.

 

The DOJ Informal Settlements and Mediation (listed by year)

The Department of Justice publicized some of its informal settlements and results of its extensive mediation program (which is still active), without specifically identifying the complainant or respondent, from about 2005 to 2009. The following are selected examples relating to access to court facilities, services, or programs. Informal settlements and mediation results are separately listed in order by year. These descriptions are from the Disability Rights Section’s status reports at: www.ada.gov/statrpt.htm. No further information is available on the website.

 

Informal Settlements

2005

An individual who uses a wheelchair complained that a county courthouse did not have accessible parking and directional signage at the inaccessible entrances. The county agreed to provide a van-accessible parking space for the lot adjacent to the courthouse, accessible directional signage, and an accessible toilet room for the public near the grand jury deliberation room.

 

An individual with a mobility impairment complained that a Missouri county courthouse was not accessible because stairs were the only means of reaching its upper floors. The county installed an elevator, made all public restrooms accessible, renovated the courtroom, and took steps to ensure that all programs would be held in accessible locations.

 

Two individuals who use wheelchairs complained that a county courthouse in Missouri was not accessible. The county installed an elevator to provide access to its zoning hearing room and its courtrooms located on the second floor.


2006

A woman with a seizure disorder complained that her service dog was denied access to a New Hampshire court. The State issued a memo on the ADA and service animals to all clerks, registers, and court security staff at State courts. Each court facility also posted a revised public notice informing people about accessibility and the availability of accommodations, and the State posted an “Accessibility Options” link on its website, which links to the public notice as well as to the Justice Department’s ADA Home Page.

 

An individual who is deaf complained that an Arizona municipal court denied his request for a stenographic interpreter during an upcoming civil trial. The court agreed to reschedule the trial and provide real-time captioning. In addition, the court will remind all its judges about its effective communication policies, including what aids and services are available for use in the courtroom and how to handle requests for auxiliary aids and services.

 

The parents who are deaf of a juvenile complained that an Iowa county court services office refused to provide effective communication services to them. Their child, who is able to hear, was required to interpret for his parents during his juvenile delinquency intake meeting, a meeting required to determine whether the child would be referred to juvenile court. The State agreed to prepare and implement statewide an effective communication policy for juvenile court services.


2007

An individual who is deaf complained that a Kansas municipality did not provide a sign language interpreter during his court-ordered meetings with a probation officer. The city adopted a policy for providing qualified sign language and oral interpreters on a 24-hour-a-day, as needed, basis and distributed it to its employees. 

A couple who is deaf alleged they were denied sign language interpreters for several hearings to which they were a party at a Nebraska courthouse. When the judges became aware of the problem, they implemented procedures to provide interpreters in a timely manner for the remainder of the hearings. In addition, the State administrative office of the courts posted a notice in all State courthouses notifying citizens of the availability of auxiliary aids and services and providing a contact person for these services in each court.


2008

Two individuals who are deaf complained that an Ohio county court charged them for interpreter services needed for a court hearing. The court changed its policy and adopted measures to ensure the provision of auxiliary aids and services to the public at no cost, posted signage in each courtroom and in the clerk’s office indicating that auxiliary aids are provided, and trained court staff to respond to such requests. The complainants were each compensated $500.

 

An individual with a mobility disability complained that a New Jersey municipality did not have a transition plan for the removal of architectural barriers at its facilities. Also, it was alleged that a women’s restroom serving a municipal court and police building was not accessible to people who use wheelchairs. The municipality has agreed to develop a transition plan, designate an ADA Coordinator, and adopt and publicize an ADA grievance procedure. The municipality also agreed to remove barriers in the women’s restroom by widening a toilet stall and changing the design of a lavatory to make the faucet hardware more reachable.

 

A couple who is deaf alleged that a Michigan County Court charged them for a sign language interpreter for a divorce proceeding. The court adopted an effective communication policy regarding provision of auxiliary aids and services and compensated the complainants $500.

 

2009

An individual with a mobility disability complained that a Wyoming county court was inaccessible to people who use wheelchairs. The county has installed signage directing people with disabilities to the court’s accessible entrance which has an automatic door opener. In addition, signage has been installed directing people to the accessible toilet room. A jury box in one courtroom has been made accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs.

 

A person with a hearing disability complained that a Michigan court failed to provide a qualified sign language interpreter during crucial proceedings. In mediation, the court agreed to provide a qualified sign language interpreter for the complainant if she or her attorney requests one at least three working days in advance of the date of the proceeding. The court agreed to engage in a process of self-evaluation to determine its level of compliance with all the other provisions of the ADA.

 

An individual with a mobility disability complained that an Ohio county courthouse was inaccessible. The county has agreed to build an accessible sloped walkway or ramp leading to the main courthouse entrance, add an accessible toilet room on the ground floor, provide directional signage to the accessible toilet room, and install an accessible drinking fountain on the second floor.

 

Mediation Results

The ADA Mediation Program is a Department-sponsored initiative intended to resolve ADA complaints in an efficient, voluntary manner. Mediation cases are initiated upon referral by the Department when both the complainant and the respondent agree to participate. The program uses professional mediators who are trained in the legal requirements of the ADA and has proven effective in resolving complaints at less cost and in less time than traditional investigations or litigation. Over 78% of all complaints mediated have been resolved successfully.

 

2007

In Oklahoma, a wheelchair user alleged that a courthouse was inaccessible. The courthouse installed an accessible route from its accessible parking spaces to the entry door, provided training on procedures regarding the ADA to security officers and court staff, gave security officers wands to screen individuals who, because of disability, could not pass through the metal detector, and removed barriers in the corridor between the elevator and the courtroom door. The county commissioners also appointed an ADA Coordinator to address program access issues throughout the county.

 

In Texas, a wheelchair user complained that an exterior wheelchair lift used to access a courthouse was continually breaking down, once leaving him stranded inside the lift. He further alleged that when he raised the issue with a court employee, the employee told him that he could be removed from the juror list. The courthouse repaired the wheelchair lift so that it could again be operated independently and installed a buzzer in the lift to alert staff if assistance is needed. In addition, the complainant was assured that he had not been removed from the jury pool.

 

In New York, an individual with an artificial knee and rheumatoid arthritis alleged that a courthouse failed to allow individuals with mobility impairments to use the elevator reserved for court personnel and attorneys. The courthouse reaffirmed its policy of allowing individuals with disabilities to use the restricted elevator, posted directional signage to the elevator, and retrained all staff regarding the court’s policy. The courthouse is under renovation, which will provide an elevator for public use in addition to the existing restricted elevator.

2008

In Georgia, a couple who is deaf alleged that a county court required the complainants’ son to interpret for them during a hearing. The court adopted a policy for providing effective communication, including the provision of qualified sign language interpreters, and distributed a memo to staff, directing them to send individuals who need assistance with effective communication to the clerk of the court, who had been trained on the policy. The court also created a list of qualified sign language interpreters and posted signage for individuals with business before the court about the availability of interpreters and how to request one.

 

In Florida, a parent complained that a court failed to provide effective communication for her son, who is deaf and had requested real-time captioning when he was summoned for jury duty. The court agreed to provide real-time captioning when needed and revised its jury summons to include instructions for individuals with disabilities needing accommodations to call the ADA compliance officer. The court also instructed its information officers to refer individuals with disabilities who need assistance to the court’s ADA compliance officer, added captioning to the jury instruction video, produced a written copy of the juror oath, and agreed to review all efforts to improve effective communication on an ongoing basis.

 


 

Appendix E: Georgia Statutes, Rules, Case Law, and Resources.
Tab image.

Appendix E: Georgia Statutes, Rules, Case Law, and Resources

 

General Statutes Protecting Individuals with Disabilities

 

Accessibility: Selected Statutory and Regulatory Provisions

 

Selected Statutory Provisions Relating to the Court System        

 

 

Court Orders, Policies and Resources Regarding People with Disabilities

·       July 3, 2012 Supreme Court Order on Use of Interpreters for Non-English Speaking and Hearing Impaired Persons: http://coi.georgiacourts.gov/sites/default/files/coi/GA-%20Supreme%20Court%20Rule%20on%20Use%20of%20Interpreters.pdf

 

Cases

·     Jurors with Disabilities

o   The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that it is not unreasonable to have two sign language interpreters working in tandem present in the jury room as a reasonable accommodation for a juror with a hearing impairment. Additionally, there was no need to provide the jury with special instructions on the role of sign language interpreters since they are a “regular sight at public events” and it’s common knowledge that their sole purpose is to translate communications. Smith v. State, 669 S.E.2d 98 (Ga. 2008).

o   A trial court acted properly to exclude a juror with a mental disability when the juror acted in a "bizarre" manner before voir dire, questioning and answered questions in a "disconnected and rambling" way. The appellant's evidence that a bailiff had never seen a person in a wheelchair in a Bacon County jury was not sufficient to establish that people with disabilities were specifically excluded from jury service. Sallie v. Georgia, 578 S.E.2d 444 (Ga. 2003).

o   A trial court did not abuse its discretion by refusing defense counsel the opportunity to question the entire jury panel on voir dire regarding whether they had been treated for mental illness. Because mental illness is not a disqualification for jury service, the court could limit the questioning of the entire panel. However, the court could allow an attorney to ask questions about mental illness if concerns arose about the health of an individual juror. Caldwell v. Georgia, 549 S.E.2d 449 (Ga. 2001).

o   A prosecutor was allowed to use a peremptory challenge to exclude a person who was hard of hearing. During voir dire, the juror indicated that she had difficulty hearing the prosecutor even when he raised his voice. The court found that the stated reason for excluding the juror was a rational reason related to the selection of a fair and impartial jury. Jones v. Georgia, 548 S.E.2d 75 (Ga. 2001).

o   A trial court acted properly in denying a criminal defendant's motion to disqualify a juror who was deaf. The juror's inability to hear is not a disqualification in Georgia, and there was no other evidence to support the disqualification. Carter v. Georgia, 491 S.E.2d 525 (Ga. 1997).

·    Witnesses with Disabilities

·     Spectators with Disabilities

o   A trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing a crime victim with a disability to remain in the courtroom as a spectator during the trial. The victim in this case was comatose and used a wheelchair. The defendant argued that the presence of the victim would prejudice the jury against him. The court found that Georgia law allows victims access to the courtroom, and that her injuries were relevant to the proceeding. Lewis v. Georgia, 450 S.E.2d 448 (Ga. 1994).

 

·       Defendant with a Hearing Impairment

o   Defendant appealed requesting a new trial after his conviction on drug charges. He claimed his due process rights were violated because he had a hearing impairment that prevented him from understanding the testimony of the trial witnesses. The Court of Appeals denied the appeal stating that 1) the court had accommodated defendant's disability by moving him closer to the witness stand and obtaining a special hearing device for him to use; and 2) there was sufficient evidence on the record to show that defendant had heard the testimony at trial, and assisted in his own defense based on what he heard, and engaged in several colloquies with the trial court. Neugent v. State, 668 S.E.2d 888 (Ga. 2008).

      Plaintiff with Disabilities in a Civil Action

o   On appeal by a driver from a jury verdict in her personal injury action, the Court of Appeals of Georgia held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion or violate the rights of the plaintiff under the ADA when it refused her request for special seating in a civil jury trial. The appellant alleged that she suffered from disabilities including attention deficit disorder, confusion, and panic attacks and that these were exacerbated by her having to go between the table and the witness stand at trial; she had requested special seating arrangements, so that she could present her case from the plaintiff’s table rather than the witness stand. The court found nothing in the record upon which it could conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in regulating and controlling the business of the court. The court also found that the ADA’s remedies do not include the grant of a new trial or setting aside a jury verdict. Turner v. Masters, 698 S.E.2d 346 (Ga. 2010).

      Appointment of non-certified foreign language interpreter, abuse of discretion

o   In a case involving foreign language interpretation, the Georgia Supreme Court held it to be an abuse of discretion to appoint someone to serve as an interpreter who is neither certified nor registered as an interpreter without ensuring that the person appointed is qualified to serve as an interpreter, without apprising the appointee of the role s/he is to play, without verifying the appointee’s understanding of the role, and without having the appointee agree in writing to comply with the interpreters’ code of professional responsibility. Ramos v. Terry, 622 S.E. 2d 339 (Ga. 2005).

Other Resources

For additional resources, see the Georgia section of the Southeast ADA Center website: www.adasoutheast.org/se_region/se_regionTemplate.php?st=GA.

 

 

      State of Georgia – ADA Coordinator's Office
c/o Georgia State Financing & Investment Commission
270 Washington Street, 2nd Floor, Suite 2140
Atlanta, GA 30334-9007
Phone: 404-657-7313 (General Information & Technical Assistance)
404-463-5650 Fax
404-657-9993 TTY

http://ada.georgia.gov/ada-coordinators

      AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center

College of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology

512 Means Street, N.W.

Suite 250

Atlanta, Georgia 30318

Phone: 404-894-8000

Toll-Free:866-279-2964

Fax; 404-894-8323

 

AMAC offers content remediation, remote captioning services, video description services, consultation on information and communication accessibility for products and websites, an assistive technology lending library, and assistive technology assessments for Georgians with disabilities and service providers. For additional information, visit: www.amacusg.org

 

AccessGA represents a joint initiative of the Georgia ADA Coordinator’s Office, AMAC, and GTA. The objective is to support Georgia’s state agencies with accessible information and communication technology, and promote equal and timely access for employees and customers with a wide range of disabilities. Services and resources of AccessGA include webinars, technical assistance and hands-on training, newsletters, and up-to-date wiki of trainings and resources, evaluation and feedback using assistive technology software and devices to verify that an agency’s content is accessible, and web accessibility audits. For additional information, visit www.accessga.org

      Georgia Advocacy Office (Protection and Advocacy Agency)

150 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue

Suite 430

Decatur, Georgia 30030

404-885-1234

800-537-2329 Voice/TDD 

404-378-0031 Fax

info@thegao.org

www.thegao.org

      Georgia Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

PO Box 83088
Conyers, GA 30013

www.garid.camp7.org/

 

Helpful Links

Supreme Court of Georgia Rule on Use of Interpreters for Non-English Speaking and Hearing Impaired Persons

http://coi.georgiacourts.gov/content/supreme-court-rules

 

Judicial Council of Georgia, Administrative Office of the Courts, Georgia Commission on Interpreters

http://coi.georgiacourts.gov/

 

Justice Melton in Q+A on Language As a Barrier to Access, Daily Report (February 19, 2014)

www.glsp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/PDF-Justice-Melton-in-DR1.pdf

 

Is it Reversible Error: Due Process and Access to Justice for LEP and DHH Individuals, Georgia Court Journal (March 2015)

http://w2.georgiacourts.gov/journal/index.php/component/content/article/59-march-2015/322-is-it-reversible-error


Appendix F: Selected Federal Cases.
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Appendix F: Selected Federal Cases

Below are a select group of federal court cases that examine accommodating people with disabilities with respect to their participation in the programs, services, and activities of courts. Generally, discussion of sovereign immunity, judicial immunity, standing, and other issues not pertaining specifically to the ADA or Section 504 is omitted.

 

Supreme Court Case

Sovereign immunity, activities covered

 

Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509 (2004)

 

This case upheld the constitutionality of Title II of the ADA as applied to cases involving access to courts and judicial services.

 

Plaintiffs were wheelchair users who could not access courtrooms on the second floors of Tennessee state buildings lacking elevators; they sued the state of Tennessee for failing to ensure that courthouses are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Tennessee did not dispute that the courthouses were not accessible or that it had a duty to make its services available to all. Instead, the state argued that the plaintiffs could not sue the state and require it to pay money damages for violations of Title II. The state’s argument was based on the doctrine of “sovereign immunity,” under which Congress can pass a federal law making a state liable for money damages only in limited circumstances.

 

The Supreme Court ruled that Congress had acted properly under the Fourteenth Amendment in abrogating immunity for claims under Title II “as it applies to the class of cases implicating the accessibility of judicial services” and the fundamental right of access to the courts. Therefore the state of Tennessee, as a public entity, could be sued for damages, injunctive relief, and declaratory relief under Title II.

 

Federal Circuit Court and District Court Cases

Reasonable accommodations

 

Marks v. Tennessee No. 13-5299, 562 Fed.Appx. 341 (6th Cir. April 4, 2014), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 197 (2014)

 

A former attorney alleged that the state of Tennessee, through its Administrative Office of the State Courts, violated his rights under the ADA when implementing its disability accommodation process. He experienced serious medical difficulties as he defended himself in an enforcement action against his

assets, and he had submitted administrative requests to the ADA coordinator that his case be postponed and that hearings be truncated to accommodate his limited physical and cognitive stamina. The coordinator, pursuant to court procedure, forwarded these requests to the trial judge. The judge substantially accommodated most of the requests but after the first request informed the attorney that he should move for continuances before the court rather than submit administrative requests for postponement, or that the coordinator would consult with the trial judge upon receipt of a request.

 

Marks sued the Administrative Office, claiming that the handling of his requests violated the ADA in that the court refused to grant his requested reasonable accommodation: that he be permitted to fax requests for postponements rather than filing for a continuance at the courthouse or appearing in person to do so. The district court dismissed his claim. The court of appeals found that dismissal had been proper because the coordinator reasonably implemented the court’s policy and ensured that he was effectively able to litigate his case; the coordinator was powerless to grant additional time in light of the longstanding principle that a judge maintains full control of his calendar.

 

McCauley v. Georgia 466 Fed.Appx. 832, No. 11-11817 (11th Cir., April 12, 2012), cert. denied, 133 S.Ct. 2814 (2013), reh’g denied, 134 S.Ct. 46 (2013)

 

An individual with severe lupus erythematosus (who therefore cannot be exposed to odors such as those in everyday hygiene products) filed suit against the state of Georgia and various Georgia state entities and officials including courts, judges, and judicial staff. Among other things, she alleged that they had denied her access to courts with respect to her two underlying state lawsuits, in violation of the ADA. As to one county case specifically, she alleged that the clerk’s office did not assign a single ADA contact person, that that office was not adequately responsive to her needs, and that the judge and his clerks did not have the sensitivity training necessary to interact appropriately with her. She conceded that she had been allowed to file documents via email, but she alleged that if court personnel had understood her disability, they would not have held a hearing at which she appeared by telephone while opposing counsel appeared in person. The district court dismissed the complaint.

 

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. As to the county case mentioned above, it found that the plaintiff’s case had been dismissed for a number of reasons unrelated to her ability to access the courts, and the outcome of the case would not have changed even if there had been a single contact person and better responsiveness and training; thus, the accommodations were not necessary under the ADA. Even accepting the allegations in her complaint as true, she had not stated a claim because she did not allege actual injury.

 

Phillips v. New Hampshire Circuit Court No. 13–cv–313–JL, 2014 WL 4956562014 (D.N.H., Feb. 5, 2014)

 

The plaintiff, who had been a litigant in a civil action in state court, alleged that the court violated the ADA and Section 504 by denying him a reasonable accommodation for his mental illness and by ordering him not to take prescribed antipsychotic medication during the proceedings, which he asserted hindered his ability to understand the proceedings and defend himself properly. The court found that he had asserted plausible claims and the case could proceed.

 

Palacios v. Fresno County Superior Court No. 1:09cv0554, 2009 WL3416173 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 21, 2009),

adopted by 2009 WL 4507713, E.D.Cal. (Dec. 03, 2009)

 

Plaintiff was a person with a brain injury that limited her ability to read, write, comprehend, and communicate. She brought a claim under Title II of the ADA alleging that she was denied access to the state courts because she was not allowed to copy documents, check books out of the law library, request permission to apply for a waiver of fees, and access a judge's chambers. The court found that these perceived failures by the state courts did not rise to the level of a deprivation of meaningful access to the courts; they were also more likely based on court-related procedure rather than the plaintiff's disability. Additionally, plaintiff's requested accommodation of assistance comprehending the legal aspects of her case was beyond the requirements of the ADA.

 

Physical access

 

Livingston v. Guice, 68 F.3d 460 (4th Cir. 1995) (unpublished opinion)

 

A wheelchair user with multiple sclerosis brought an action against a trial judge and the state for refusing to allow her to enter the second-floor courtroom through the only door she knew to be accessible from the elevator — the door that was by the judge's bench — during her nephew’s criminal trial. Neither the plaintiff nor the judge was aware of any other possible accessible entrances (which led to the jury deliberation room and the jury pool room). The judge became annoyed and made comments about her use of the restricted door, even though he had been told that Livingston had a bladder problem. On the fourth day of the trial, Livingston’s sister-in-law, who did not have a disability, left via the restricted door. The judge then issued an edict that “nobody but nobody goes through this door” except court personnel. Defense counsel tried to explain that the woman had departed hastily because she had started vomiting. The judge said that the facilities outside the courtroom and one on the first floor could be used. He immediately called a recess and left the courtroom. Unable to leave by the restricted door, Livingston urinated on herself before being assisted out of court. She sat in the downstairs lobby of the courthouse for the rest of the trial, awaiting information from others.

 

The district court dismissed her claims on the grounds of judicial immunity.

 

The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case, finding that the judge was not entitled to absolute judicial immunity in this case, in part because no money damages were sought. Because the case against the state was dismissed based on that finding, the case against the state was also allowed to proceed. 

 

Matthews v. Jefferson, 29 F.Supp.2d 525 (W.D.Ark. 1998)

 

An individual with paraplegia filed suit against a county for failing to make the courthouse (listed on the national Registry of Historic Buildings) accessible. He alleged that when he was a litigant in the courthouse, it did not have an elevator or other means of access to the courtrooms on the second floor. He had to be carried up the stairs to attend hearings on the second floor, from which he was unable to leave to use the restroom facilities or obtain a meal, and no arrangements were made to carry him downstairs at the end of the day.

 

The District Court held that the county had violated the ADA and Section 504 by failing to make the courthouse readily accessible to the plaintiff and other individuals with disabilities.

 

Shotz v. Cates, 256 F.3d 1077 (11th Cir. 2001)

 

Individuals with mobility impairments brought ADA Title II action against judge and the court system for failure to remove physical barriers to access in the courthouse. The Eleventh Circuit held that although both plaintiffs may have alleged facts that, if true, would constitute violations of Title II, neither plaintiff had standing to seek injunctive relief because they had not attempted to return to the courthouse, nor had they alleged to do so in the future.


Effective communication

 

Vasquez v. Kirkland, 572 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 130 S.Ct. 1086 (2010)

 

A defendant appealed the denial of a writ of habeas corpus on the basis that his conviction was flawed due to the infringement of his Sixth Amendment right to confront a witness. The witness was a woman who was deaf, did not speak, and had never learned a standard form of sign language. She communicated through a combination of signs, gestures, facial expressions, and lip reading; she therefore needed two different interpreters working together to understand and communicate her testimony. When she was asked a question, a certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter translated the question into ASL for the intermediary interpreter. The intermediary interpreter, who also was hearing impaired and did not speak, in turn used signs, gestures, and facial expressions to communicate with the witness; the process was reversed when the witness answered.

 

The Ninth Circuit denied the defendant’s writ, finding that the defendant had an opportunity for effective communication and that although challenges were presented during the process of examining the witness, the challenges did not rise to the level of a deprivation of the opportunity for effective cross-examination. Furthermore, the jury was aware of the challenges of the nature of the intermediary interpreting process and was able to observe the witness’ demeanor in order to assess her credibility and weigh the value of her testimony accordingly.

 

Tucker v. State of Tennessee, 539 F.3d 526 (6th Cir. 2009)

 

Two arrestees and their mother, all of whom were “deaf and mute” (as characterized in the court’s opinion), sued a state court for its alleged failure to provide appropriate auxiliary aids during their initial appearance and subsequent criminal trials. They had made several requests for auxiliary aids, some of which were granted, while others were not. The district court granted the state’s motion for summary judgment, and the individuals appealed.

 

The court of appeals found that the arrestees had not requested an interpreter for their initial appearance. The judge had independently discerned their impairments, and they were then provided a written card containing their rights. The arrestees wrote “not guilty” on the card but did not ask for an interpreter. The judge set a hearing date; when he learned of a request for an interpreter, he offered a continuance for a few days until an interpreter could be present, but the arrestees declined. On the morning of the scheduled hearing, at which no interpreter would be present, and prior to it, the charges against one arrestee were dismissed and the other was placed in a diversionary program. During this proceeding, the mother of one of the arrestees voluntarily acted as a translator, at the request of the arrestees’ attorney.

 

The Sixth Circuit determined that the state was not liable for failing to provide a sign language interpreter on a few occasions when the court made good-faith efforts to provide effective communication services and when the provision of those services would not have changed the outcomes of the criminal cases. It was not clear that the arrestees had requested an interpreter for their initial appearance, and the state court provided an alternative (written communication) that allowed for effective communication, consistent with the ADA. As to the dispositional hearing, the mother had served voluntarily as interpreter for the arrestees and not the court, at the request of their attorney. The arrestees chose not to accept the option of a postponement, and the provision of auxiliary aids at that proceeding would not have changed the outcome.

 

United States v. Bell, 367 F.3d 452 (5th Cir. 2004)

 

On a convicted defendant’s (Bell) appeal, the Fifth Circuit found that the trial court had not abused its discretion when it allowed the sister of a witness with a disability to interpret his testimony. Bell claimed that the trial court’s actions violated the Court Interpreters Act (which applies to federal proceedings) and deprived him of his confrontation rights. The witness, who was “deaf and mute” (as characterized in the court’s opinion) was “able to effectively communicate through a form of sign language, a system of grunts and gestures,” that was understood by family and friends familiar with him. He testified through interpretation by his sister into Choctaw, which was then translated into English by a “government” [qualified] interpreter.

 

Bell alleged that the use of the witness’ sister violated the Court Interpreters Act, which mandates the use of only qualified interpreters. Pointing to the exception that applies when no qualified interpreter is available, the court said that the issue is ultimately whether the use of the interpreter “made the trial fundamentally unfair.” It was within the judge’s discretion to allow the sister’s interpretation, because of the unique method used by the witness to communicate and the lack of other options, and Bell had been able to attack the testimony and interpretation. Therefore there was no violation of the Act.

 

Similarly, the court found no violation of Bell’s confrontation rights because he was able to question and attack the witness, and the jury heard testimony about the sister’s allegedly erroneous interpretation; the jurors were allowed to make whatever determinations they believed fair.

 

Popovich v. Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, 276 F.3d 808 (6th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 812 (2002)

 

A father alleged that a state court failed to provide adequate assistance in his child custody case and then retaliated against him, both in violation of the ADA. He had requested assistance in the form of real-time captioning. Instead, the court provided an FM amplification system; but he had difficulty using it and the headphones gave him an ear infection. After he filed an ADA complaint with DOJ, the court presented him with a choice between going forward with his hearing when scheduled and waiving any discrimination claim against the state, or preserving the claim at the risk of a long delay in the proceedings. He refused either option, and then the hearing did not resume for another year and a half. He brought a Title II case against the state court and obtained a verdict in the district court for $400,000 in compensatory damages, on grounds of inadequate accommodation and retaliation.

 

On appeal, the court found that a jury question was presented as to both issues and remanded the case for retrial on both. (The remand was due largely to a constitutional question not relevant here.) The court found that the jury, based upon these facts, would be entitled to find that forcing Popovich to choose between going forward with the custody hearings and waiving his disability claim – and then upon his refusal to waive, discontinuing the proceedings for a year and a half – could constitute retaliation in violation of the ADA.

 

Duvall v. County of Kitsap, 260 F.3d 1124 (9th Cir. 2001)

 

An individual who was hard of hearing filed suit against the county for failing to provide real-time transcription services (instantaneous captioning displayed on a screen) as an accommodation during his marriage dissolution proceedings. The plaintiff did not use sign language and his primary mode of receiving communication was through the written word. He wore custom hearing aids but found it extremely difficult to follow a conversation in which he was not a participant, resulting in tinnitus and headaches after about 30 minutes. The County provided alternative accommodations, including a courtroom with better acoustics and permission for him to relocate to different parts of the courtroom during the proceedings; but Duvall claimed that neither accommodation was effective. The District Court granted summary judgment for the county administrators.

 

The Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that the record indicated the county should have provided the requested accommodation because the alternative accommodations did not ensure effective communication. The county made no effort to determine whether real-time transcription was available. The County failed to give primary consideration to the request of the individual and to make “a fact-specific investigation” as to what accommodation was reasonable, and Duvall had presented sufficient evidence to create a material issue of fact as to whether the refusal to provide videotext display prevented him from participating equally in the hearings.

 

Memmer v. Marin County Courts, 169 F.3d 630 (9th Cir.1999)

 

Carin Memmer, a litigant with a vision impairment in municipal court proceedings, alleged that the court failed to accommodate her disability by providing a qualified reader for pre-trial and trial proceedings. The presiding judge had denied a reader for pre-trial and had first assigned Anthony Calderon, a person who worked with the court as a Spanish-language interpreter, as the reader for trial. Memmer requested that a particular individual, Sanford Gossman, instead serve as her reader. The presiding judge granted the request but limited Gossman’s participation because in previous cases the judge had observed him to be disruptive. The municipal court ruled against Memmer. In her district court action, she argued that the court violated the ADA because it failed to adopt adequate accommodation procedures for addressing accommodation requests, she was denied a reader for pre-trial, and the offer of a Spanish-language interpreter to assist was not a proper accommodation. The court entered summary judgment for the municipal court.

 

The Ninth Circuit upheld the judgment of the district court. It held first that there were no pretrial activities for which assistance was needed; therefore no accommodation was necessary. Secondly, the services of the court-appointed reader would have been sufficient for this case because no special training was necessary. Memmer could not point out how the services of Calderon would have been inadequate because she had not even consulted with him; to allow her to refuse outright the services of a court-appointed assistant in favor of one who had been deemed vexatious and disruptive would require a “substantial modification” in the way the municipal court runs its system, a drastic result not mandated by the ADA.

 

Gregory v. Administrative Office of the Courts, 168 F.Supp.2d 319 (D.N.J. 2001)

 

A litigant with a hearing impairment (in a case that was administratively pending) brought a Title II and Section 504 action against a state court system when it refused to provide a print-out of the court-reporter’s computer aided real-time transcription (“CART”) of proceedings, at the same $10 fee routinely assessed for audio or videotapes (which are not produced when CART is used). Because of the difficulty in ensuring that he was properly taking in everything being said, when viewing a scrolling screen, he sought the print-out so that he could review it afterward. The court responded that the litigant could purchase an official transcript at $1.50 per page, or come to court to review the computer disk in person. The court held that the Eleventh Amendment did not bar suit under the ADA. Noting that the ADA requires deference to the choice of auxiliary aid made by a person with a disability, the court found it conceivable that a jury could conclude that provision of CART alone, without a print-out, in these circumstances is not “as effective” as the requested accommodation, and the case could proceed.

 

Jurors with disabilities

 

Galloway v. Superior Court of the District of Columbia, 816 F.Supp. 12 (D.D.C. 1993)

 

An individual who was blind brought suit challenging a court's categorical exclusion of blind persons from jury service. Defendants maintained that no blind person is ever "qualified" to serve as a juror, because he or she is not able to assess adequately the veracity or credibility of witnesses or to view physical evidence and thus cannot perform the essential functions of a juror and participate in the fair administration of justice.

 

The court held that defendants' position violated both Section 504 and the ADA. It found that in addition to evidence presented showing that visual observation is not necessarily an essential function of a juror, the plaintiff had introduced substantial evidence to support his individual qualifications to serve competently on a jury. The court emphasized that blindness alone does not disqualify an individual from serving on many juries and that moreover, with reasonable accommodation, the number of cases for which a blind person could be chosen increases even further. The court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.

 

Participation in activities other than judicial proceedings

 

King v. Indiana Supreme Court No. 1:14–cv–01092–JMS, 2015 WL 2092848, (S.D.Ind. May 5, 2015)

 

Plaintiff King was a deaf person who communicated primarily in sign language and was involved in a domestic relations case in a county court. He was initially required to participate in mediation pursuant to the court’s rule. He qualified to participate in the county’s Modest Means Mediation Program, and moved for an ASL interpreter to be appointed at no expense for him for the mediation. The trial court denied the motion but waived King’s obligation to participate, in order to alleviate the need for an interpreter. However, he wanted to participate in mediation and obtained an interpreter at his own expense. After the county court proceeding, he filed suit in federal court against various parties, including the Indiana Supreme Court, the county court, and the administrator of the county court. He charged that they had violated the ADA and Section 504 by refusing to provide auxiliary aids for the mediation, causing him emotional harm, and necessitating that he incur the expense of his own interpreter.

 

The court found that the mediation program was a “judicial service” covered by the ADA. It was established by state statute and maintained by the county defendants; each county in the state was required to develop a plan to carry out the mediation program and to appoint mediators in cases approved for participation in the program. The state defendants claimed sovereign immunity on the grounds that mediation is not a court proceeding and does not implicate the fundamental right of access to the courts. Applying the analysis in Lane v. Tennessee, the court found to the contrary, noting that the ADA reaches not just in-court proceedings but “judicial services” and that mediation is a judicial service — a public program created by statute and approved of by the state defendants. However, King did not allege that any entities other than the county took part in the actual decision to deny his request for an interpreter, and the court dismissed the complaint as to all defendants other than the county court. Mr. King's ADA claim against the county was allowed to proceed.

 

Paulone v. City of Frederick, 787 F.Supp.2d 360 (D.Md. 2011)

 

A county court sentenced Ms. Paulone to probation before judgment on a charge of driving while impaired by alcohol. As conditions of her probation, she was required to attend Victim Impact Panel meetings presented by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and to submit to the Drinking Driving Monitor Program (DDMP) of the state’s parole and probation division. She later filed suit in federal court under the ADA, based on the alleged failure of the state and the board of county commissioners to provide reasonable modifications and auxiliary aids and services.[63]

 

Officials had told Paulone that she was responsible for any interpreter at the Victim Impact Panel meeting. She paid the fee, attended the meeting, and was not provided an interpreter; she was unable to understand anything that transpired and instead read a brochure and sat and waited until the meeting was over.

 

DDMP directed Ms. Paulone to enroll in a state-certified multi-week alcohol education class. DDMP provided Paulone with a list of non-government entities that offered classes. It declined to provide an interpreter and advised her that she was required to make her own arrangements for an interpreter. She tried unsuccessfully to locate a class with an interpreter before her attendance deadline and asked for an extension of time to attend, as an accommodation for her disability. That request was denied, and the Parole Division filed a violation of probation charge against her for failing to enroll. The charge was dropped before her hearing when she found a course taught in sign language that she could attend via videophone.

 

The court found that it was the state’s responsibility to ensure that the victim impact panels and alcohol education classes were accessible to the plaintiff. It held that the state intentionally denied Paulone the reasonable accommodation of sign language at the MADD panel, a component of state court-ordered probation, in violation of the ADA, and granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on this issue. As to the alcohol education classes, the court held that a reasonable finder of fact could conclude that DDMP denied a reasonable accommodation and/or that Paulone bears responsibility for her failure to meet the deadline.

 

Soto v. City of Newark, 72 F.Supp.2d 489 (D.N.J. 1999)

 

Deaf individuals married in a municipal court were not provided with a sign language interpreter for their wedding despite repeated requests. The parties agreed on the facts, but the defendant municipal court claimed that weddings were not a function or service of the court. The court granted summary judgment for plaintiffs, finding that the wedding was a “service” — an opportunity to marry at the courthouse — and the deaf individuals were qualified individuals with disabilities under Title II; the defendant had not provided a reasonable accommodation or effective communication.

 

Rights of non-parties/participants

 

Prakel v. Indiana No. 4:12-cv-00045-SEB-WGH, 2015 WL 1455988 (S.D.Ind. March 30, 2015)

Steven Prakel, a deaf individual who used ASL as his primary means of communication, requested a sign language interpreter for hearings in county courts in which his mother was a party. His requests were denied. His mother eventually paid for an interpreter for her son at several hearings.

 

Prakel and his mother then sued the state of Indiana, three county judges, and others, alleging that the denial of access to a sign language interpreter during his mother’s probation hearing and related hearings violated the ADA and Section 504. They sought reimbursement of the interpreter expenses as part of the lawsuit.

 

Court officials maintained that Prakel was not entitled to a court-funded interpreter because he was not a party to or a participant in the proceedings.

 

The court found that the mother had associational standing to pursue her ADA claim against the county defendant, because she has alleged that she herself was injured by her son’s inability to understand the legal situation she was facing and to provide emotional support, and by her payment of the interpreter fees.

 

The court found that Prakel also had standing to pursue his claim and that it was not barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. It rejected defendants’ contention that Tennessee v. Lane did not extend to this case because it implicated the rights of a spectator as opposed to the rights of a party or other participant. The court found that Lane applies, as it included among the “fundamental rights of access to the Courts” the First Amendment right of access to criminal proceedings (including preliminary hearings) by members of the public.

 

The federal court ruled partially in favor of Prakel and his mother, finding that the defendants had denied Steven Prakel effective communication and the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the state courts’ services, programs, and activities. They dismissed the claims against the state defendants but permitted the damages claims to proceed against the three county judges.

 

Mosier v. Kentucky, 675 F.Supp.2d 693 (E.D.Ky. 2009)

 

A deaf attorney filed a claim under the ADA and Section 504 claiming she was unable to participate fully in court proceedings without appropriate auxiliary aids or services, such as a sign language interpreter. Defendants argued that the court’s interpreting services division had a policy that it did not provide interpreting services for attorneys. The court stated that the controlling question was whether the defendants discriminated against the plaintiff based solely on her disability. The court held there was no support for a finding that the plaintiff did not qualify for the statutes’ protections simply because she was an attorney and not a juror, witness, or observer. However, it was unable to find, as a matter of law, that defendants’ actions, when viewed in their entirety, made court services inaccessible and unusable by individuals such as the plaintiff, or that a reasonable trier of fact must conclude that a violation of the ADA or Section 504 had occurred. These would be issues for the trier of fact in subsequent proceedings.

 

Smoke-free or chemical-free environment

 

Leonard v. Rolette County 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 29732, No. 99-2130 (8th Cir., Nov. 12, 1999)

 

Plaintiff, an individual who claims an allergy to second-hand smoke, alleged that the county courthouse was in violation of the ADA for not maintaining a smoke-free environment. The district court dismissed the case, finding the plaintiff was not a person with a disability. The Circuit Court upheld this decision and found that second-hand smoke did not limit the plaintiff’s access to the courthouse, as she had visited the courthouse more than 2,000 times in the time period during which she claimed it was inaccessible. The court also recognized that the courthouse responded to plaintiff’s complaints and adopted a smoke-free policy, but noted a previous decision of the Eighth Circuit holding the ADA does not require irritant-free environments but only reasonable accommodation.

 

 

McCauley v. Winegarden, 60 F.3d 766 (11th Cir. 1995)

 

An individual with alleged severe chemical sensitivities brought a Title II action against a judge, the Georgia court system, and the state for failure to provide her with a "filtered environment," including "life support systems,” a “life-support bubble,” “required medical aids,” and “additional medical aids” during court proceedings. The district court dismissed the complaint based on DOJ’s Title II regulation, which states that Title II does not require a public entity to provide personal services or devices as accommodations.

 

The Eleventh Circuit upheld the district court’s decision.


Appendix G: Website Accessibility.
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Appendix G: Website Accessibility

 

AccessGA

AccessGA is a joint initiative of the State of Georgia ADA Coordinator's Office, the Georgia Institute of Technology's AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center, and The Georgia Technology Authority. AccessGA's purpose is to support Georgia state agencies with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility, promoting equal and timely access for individuals with a wide range of disabilities. http://accessga.org/

Useful Websites


Department of Justice Seal.U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
A horizontal border.

 

Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites
to People with Disabilities

 


The Internet is dramatically changing the way that American government serves the public. By taking advantage of new technology, many State and local governments are using the web to offer citizens a host of services including:

     corresponding online with local officials;

     providing information about government services;

     renewing library books or driver’s licenses;

     providing tax information and accepting tax returns; and

    applying for jobs or benefits.
These government websites are important because they:

         allow programs and services to be offered in a more dynamic, interactive way, increasing citizen participation;

       increase convenience and speed in obtaining information or services;

       reduce costs in providing programs and information about government services;

       reduce the amount of paperwork; and

       expand the possibilities of reaching new sectors of the community or offering new programs


A screenshot of the official website of the City of Fullerton.

Local government websites provide important information and services to citizens

When government is constantly being asked to do more with less, the Internet is playing a vital role in allowing government to better serve all of its citizens.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, if the government entities receive Federal funding, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, generally require that State and local governments provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, or activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of their programs, services, or activities or would impose an undue burden. One way to help meet these requirements is to ensure that government websites have accessible features for people with disabilities, using the simple steps described in this document. An agency with an inaccessible website may also meet its legal obligations by providing an alternative accessible way for citizens to use the programs or services, such as a staffed telephone information line. However, these alternatives are unlikely to provide an equal degree of access in terms of hours of operation, the range of options, and the programs available. For example, job announcements and application forms, if posted on an accessible website, would be available to people with disabilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Online Barriers Faced By People with Disabilities

Many people with disabilities use “assistive technology” to enable them to use computers and access the Internet. Individuals who are blind who cannot see computer monitors may use screen readers – applications that speak the text that would normally appear on a monitor. People who have difficulties using a computer mouse can use voice recognition software to control their computers with verbal commands. People with other types of disabilities may rely on additional assistive technology solutions on the market. New and innovative assistive technologies are being introduced every day.

Poorly designed websites can create unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities, just as poorly designed buildings prevent some individuals from gaining physical access. Designers may not realize how simple features built into a web page can assist someone who, for instance, cannot see a computer monitor or use a mouse.

One example of a barrier would be a photograph of a Mayor on a town website with no text identifying it. Because screen readers cannot interpret images unless there is text associated with it, a blind person would have no way of knowing whether the image is an unidentified photo or logo, artwork, a link to another page, or something else. Simply adding a line of simple hidden computer code to label the photograph “Photograph of Mayor Jane Smith” will allow the individual user who is blind to make sense of the image.


Accessible Design Benefits Everyone

When accessible features are built into web pages, websites are more convenient and more available to everyone – including users with disabilities. Web designers can follow techniques developed by private and government organizations to make even complex web pages more user-friendly for everyone including people with disabilities. For most websites, implementing accessibility features is not difficult and will seldom change the layout or appearance of web pages. These techniques also make web pages more usable both by people using older computers and by people using the latest technologies (e.g., tablets and smartphones).

With the rapid changes in the Internet and in assistive technologies used by people with disabilities accessing computers and electronic devices, private and government organizations have worked to establish flexible guidelines for accessible web pages that permit innovation to continue.

Resources for Web Developers

To make web pages accessible, the web developer needs to know about web page features that can make a web page less accessible or more accessible. Information about such features is easily available and many software developers are adding tools to web development software to make it easier to make web pages accessible.

Two important resources provide guidance for web developers designing accessible web pages. One is the Section 508 Standards, which Federal agencies must follow for their own new web pages. To learn more about the Section 508 Standards:

       The Access Board maintains information on its website at www.access-board.gov and has a useful guide for web developers at www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.22.htm;

The Department of Justice has information about accessible web page design in an April 2000 report to the President. This report is available at http://www.justice.gov/crt/table-contents-information-technology-and-people-disabilities-current-state-federal

       The General Services Administration hosts an online course for web developers interested in accessible web design. This program was developed in conjunction with the Access Board, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Education and provides an interactive demonstration of how to build accessible web pages. This course is available at www.section508.gov, which also provides information about the Federal government’s initiative to make its electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.

A more comprehensive resource is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative. These guidelines help designers make web pages as accessible as possible to the widest range of users, including users with disabilities. The Web Accessibility Initiative is a subgroup of the World Wide Web Consortium — the same organization that standardizes the programming language followed by all web developers.

       Information for web developers interested in making their web pages as accessible as possible, including the current version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (and associated checklists), can be found at https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/ and

       Information about the Web Accessibility Initiative can be found at https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag.


 


A screenshot of the website for the City of Forall.

 


 

Notes:

1. Web pages are written using a language called HTML (or “hypertext markup language”). HTML is a “markup language” that tells a computer program (called a “browser”) how information will appear or will be arranged on a computer screen. HTML tags are specific instructions understood by a web browser or screen reader.
2. All images and graphics need to have an alt tag or long description.
3. Use alt tags for image maps and for graphics associated with the image map so that a person using a screen reader will have access to the links and information.
4. Some photos and images contain content that cannot be described with the limited text of an alt tag. Using a long description tag provides a way to have as much text as necessary to explain the image so it is accessible to a person using a screen reader but not visible on the web page.
5. Text links do not require any additional information or description if the text clearly indicates what the link is supposed to do. Links such as “click here” may confuse a user.
6. When tables with header and row identifiers are used to display information or data, the header and row information should be associated with each data cell by using HTML so a person using a screen reader can understand the information.
7. A link with contact information provides a way for users to request accessible services or to make suggestions.

 

Information about the ADA

The Department of Justice provides technical assistance to help State and local governments understand and comply with the ADA. An important source of ADA information is the Department’s ADA Home Page on the World Wide Web. This extensive website provides access to ADA regulations; all Department ADA technical assistance materials, including newly-released publications; proposed changes in the ADA regulations; and access to Freedom of Information Act materials, including technical assistance letters. The website also provides links to other Federal agencies with ADA responsibilities.

·       ADA Home Page: http://www.ada.gov

 

In addition, the Department of Justice operates a toll-free ADA Information Line that provides access to ADA specialists during business hours.

·       ADA Information Line:
800-514-0301 (voice)
800-514-0383 (TTY)


Appendix H: Other Useful Websites and Information.
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Appendix H: Other Useful Websites and Information

 

National Center for State Courts (NCSC)

ADA Resource Center for State Courts

300 Newport Avenue

Williamsburg, VA 23185

757-259-7590       

757-564-2075 Fax

 

·       Online ADA Resource Guide: www.ncsc.org/Topics/Access-and-Fairness/Americans-with-Disabilities-Act-ADA/Resource-Guide.aspx

·       NCSC also provides a page with links to ADA pages within individual state court websites. This page can be found at: www.ncsc.org/topics/access-and-fairness/americans-with-disabilities-act-ada/state-links.aspx

·       NCSC’s Court Interpretation Resource Guide: www.ncsc.org/Topics/Access-and-Fairness/Language-Access/Resource-Guide.aspx

Communication Access in State and Local Courts (2008) by National Association of the Deaf: www.nad.org/issues/justice/courts/communication-access-state-and-local-courts

ADA National Network by DBTAC

1-800-949-4232 Voice/TTY

www.adata.org

·       Provides information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), tailored to meet the needs of business, government and individuals at local, regional and national levels. The ADA National Network consists of ten Regional ADA National Network Centers located throughout the United States that provides personalized, local assistance to ensure that the ADA is implemented wherever possible.

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section - NYAV
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20530
800-514-0301
202-307-1198 Fax
www.ada.gov


 

United States Access Board
1331 F Street, NW
Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1111
202-272-0080 Voice
800-872-2253 Toll Free Voice
202-272-0082 TTY
800-993-2822 Toll Free TTY
202-272-0081 Fax
info@access-board.gov
www.access-board.gov

·       Guide on accessible courthouse design under the ADA and the ABA. “Justice for All: Designing Accessible Courthouses'' (Nov. 15, 2006), available at: www.access-board.gov/attachments/article/432/report.pdf

American Bar Association

Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law
740 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20005-1019
202-662-1000
www.americanbar.org/groups/disabilityrights.html
cmpdl@abanet.org


Appendix I: Information and Resources Regarding Sign Language Interpreters.
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Appendix I: Information and Resources regarding Sign Language Interpreters

This appendix contains information regarding sign language interpreters in court proceedings. Included within is:

(1)   Bench Card for Judges when working with deaf and hard of hearing persons and sign language interpreters;

(2)   Frequently Asked Questions about sign language interpreters;

(3)   Code of Professional Conduct for sign language interpreters; and

(4)   Questions to ask when establishing a sign language interpreter’s qualifications.


 

A screenshot of the Working with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Persons and Sign Language Interpreters in the Courtroom information.A screenshot of the Working with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Persons and Sign Language Interpreters in the Courtroom information.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Sign Language Interpreters in the Courtroom

 

Are there credentialing and ethics considerations for sign language interpreters?

Yes. According to most states, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID) should certify the designated sign language interpreter in legal settings. RID certified interpreters are bound by the RID’s Code of Professional Conduct. See below for more information on RID’s Code of Professional Conduct. Additionally, the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) “Model Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters in the Judiciary” is used as a guide for interpreter conduct and responsibilities. This resource can be found at: http://contentdm.ncsconline.org/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/accessfair&CISOPTR=118

What is the duty of a certified interpreter?

Sign language interpreters are Officers of the Court who are appointed to provide interpreting services for Court proceedings. The duty of the interpreter is to interpret the spoken and signed proceedings accurately while maintaining the integrity of the communication. The interpreter must execute this role with total absence of bias and must maintain strict confidentiality.

 

How do I locate a certified interpreter?

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf website (www.rid.org) has lists of certified members or you can contact your local RID chapter listed in Appendix E of this manual.

 

How much lead time do I need to locate a certified and experienced legal interpreter?

The shortage of sign language interpreters for any setting is problematic nationally and the scarcity of those who are actually qualified to work in legal and judicial settings is even more severe. Hence, the more lead time an agency has to secure a qualified legal interpreter, the better the chance of finding one. Given the unpredictability of need in legal and judicial settings, it is imperative that attorneys, clerks, law enforcement, etc. inform the Court of the need for an interpreter as soon as possible. Outside of mandated Court hearings that must be held within a specific time frame, flexibility in scheduling Court appearances, trials, hearings, etc., will increase the chances that a qualified interpreter or team of interpreters will be found.

 

Why do I need more than one interpreter?

Because of the length or complexity of most legal assignments, a team of two or more interpreters will be necessary in order to ensure the integrity of the Court’s record.

 

How will a team of interpreters work in court?

When working as a team for the proceedings, interpreters will work in teams of two or more. Interpreting is more mentally and physically demanding than most people realize and the first thing to suffer as a result of interpreter fatigue is accuracy. Therefore, when working as a team, the interpreters will engage in a system of monitoring to ensure the quality of the process. This process requires the support interpreter to provide the working interpreter with small bits of information that may have been missed. However, if a substantive point has been missed, the interpreters will immediately inform the Court of the omission. During the proceedings, the interpreters will utilize written notes to ensure consistency in the process and to provide feedback to one another. At the end of the proceedings, the interpreters will make these notes available to the Court. The interpreters infrequently may also need clarification or repetition from the Court or may need to confer with one another regarding the process and will inform the Court if the need arises.

 

Should the Sign Language Interpreters be administered an Oath?

Yes. Sign Language Interpreters should be administered an Interpreter’s Oath prior to the start of the proceedings and before counsel make their appearance for the record:

 

Suggested Interpreter’s Oath

Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will interpret accurately, completely and impartially, using your best skill and judgment in accordance with the standards prescribed by law and in the Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters, follow all official guidelines established by this Court for legal interpreting, and discharge all of the solemn duties and obligations of legal interpretation?

 

Does an interpreter need to be qualified for a judicial proceeding?

The provision of an interpreter by an agency does not absolve the Court from the requirement to determine whether an interpreter is qualified. Therefore, qualifying the interpreter at this time will ensure the interpreter’s credentials, experience and skills are satisfactory to all parties. This appendix contains a list of questions to consider when qualifying interpreters. During an interpreter’s qualification phase, interpreters should disclose for the record any prior professional and/or social contacts with the person who is deaf.

 

What is American Sign Language (ASL)?

ASL is a naturally occurring language with its own distinct syntax, grammar, and sentential structure. ASL is comparable in complexity and expressiveness to spoken languages. It is not a form of English. Most culturally deaf people regard ASL as their natural language, which reflects their cultural values and keeps their traditions and heritage alive. It is used mainly in North America.

 

How does the sign language interpreting process work?

There are two types of interpreters in a court setting – proceedings interpreters and counsel table interpreters.

 

·       Proceedings Interpreters are on duty throughout the proceedings to interpret the proceedings and function as Officers of the Court. The proceedings interpreters must maintain an appearance of neutrality at all times and avoid unnecessary discussions with counsel, parties, witnesses, and interested parties both inside and outside the courtroom. If others make this problematic for the interpreters, the interpreters will request assistance from the Court regarding possible instructions from the Court to the parties involved. In light of this requirement, the interpreters may need to have a room or place reserved to retire to during breaks to avoid unnecessary interaction with others.

·       Counsel table interpreters may be present during a proceeding in addition to proceedings interpreters. Seated between the attorney and client, the counsel table interpreter will interpret all communications between the attorney and client during the proceedings and will interpret as needed for other non-proceeding interchanges. Counsel table interpreters may or may not serve as monitors of the proceedings interpreters.

 

Proceedings interpreters are occasionally requested by the Court to also serve as interpreters for a defendant who is deaf and his or her attorney or a plaintiff/victim who is deaf and the prosecuting attorney. While this is not an ideal situation, interpreters, as officers of the Court, serve at the Court’s discretion and will make every effort to accommodate the Court. However, there may be situations where serving in a dual capacity would be inappropriate or would pose a potential conflict of interest. If this is the case, the interpreters will inform the Court of the potential conflict.

 

How will the interpreters address the Court?

When the interpreter addresses the Court, the interpreter will speak in third person in order to indicate for the record that he or she is the interpreter speaking. When a person who is deaf addresses the Court in sign language, the interpreter will interpret in spoken English and will use first person to indicate for the record that it is the person who is deaf speaking.

 

It is impossible to sign and speak at the same time when addressing the Court because American Sign Language (ASL) and English are grammatically dissimilar languages. Therefore, if working with a team interpreter, one interpreter will address the Court while the other interpreter will continue interpreting. Depending on the setting, bench conferences may be more appropriate and will be requested as necessary. Courts should hold all bench conferences on the record. If working alone, the interpreter will address the Court without signing. The person who is deaf will have been informed that this situation could occur.

 

Will any interactions during the proceeding not be interpreted?

At times, there will be information that is not interpreted such as the swearing in of the interpreters, sidebar conversations, and attorney-client discussions.

 

What are some of the logistical considerations to keep in mind?

·       Positioning of the Interpreter: Depending on the individual who is deaf and the specific situation, there may be particular linguistic and procedural issues, logistics, positioning, etc. that will need to be addressed with the Court during a brief, pre-trial conference. Sign language interpreters are positioned in the courtroom differently from spoken language interpreters. Because ASL is a visual language, the interpreter must be placed in front of the person for whom they are interpreting. If a team of two interpreters has been appointed, the second interpreter will need to take a position in the sightline of the first interpreter, preferably behind and slightly to the side of the deaf individual. The interpreters request that they be allowed some time prior to the commencement of the proceedings for appropriate positioning to be determined. In doing so, the interpreters will make every effort to ensure that all sightlines in the well of the Court are preserved.

 

·       Timing: As happens when working between spoken languages, occasionally there will be a lack of direct equivalence between English and ASL. Consequently, the interpreter may require a longer period of time to provide an equivalent spoken or signed interpretation. Therefore, if the interpreter is still working after someone has stopped signing or speaking, it is usually a function of this linguistic process. Because of the visual nature of the interpreting process, the interpreters respectfully request that care be given when positioning exhibits or moving about the well of the courtroom to avoid impeding the sightlines.

o   When two interpreters are working as a team, the support interpreter will relieve the working interpreter every twenty minutes or so. The interpreters will make every effort to do this during a natural pause and will do so as inconspicuously as possible.

 

What are the special considerations when interpreting for jury duty?

Interpreters for jury duty are present only to provide interpreting services during preliminary instructions, voir dire, and, upon empanelment, judicial proceedings, instructions, and deliberations. The interpreters are not a party in the case, have no interest in the case, and will remain completely neutral.

 

Interpreters are prohibited from being involved in any manner other than to provide interpreting services as noted above. Interpreters are not allowed to converse with any member of the jury panel outside of the interpreting process. Interpreters are prohibited from engaging in discussions about or commenting on the judicial process or proceedings. All questions will be referred to the appropriate court official.

 

During deliberations, interpreters are present to carry out their responsibilities and duties as Court Interpreters and Officers of the Court. Consequently, they are only permitted to interpret the conversations and discussions among jurors. They are not permitted to interject their opinions, thoughts, or questions. They are not permitted to speak with any of the jurors on their own behalf. Their sole purpose in being present is to interpret.

 

Should a Court provide special instructions when working with a sign language interpreter?

While a Court should be mindful not to call attention to an individual with a disability or the accommodation provided to him or her, it may be useful to inform individuals within a proceeding or members of a jury on the role and responsibilities of a sign language interpreter. Some aspects of an interpreter’s job that a Court may want to note are the interpreter’s role as an officer of the court, the interpreter’s confidentiality, and the additional time that may be needed for an interpreter to interpret accurately and efficiently. Included within “Ensuring Equal Access for People with Disabilities – A Guide for Washington Courts” are sample scripts for a Court to use when explaining the role of an interpreter in a court proceeding or jury deliberation. This guide can be found at: www.wsba.org/Legal-Community/Committees-Boards-and-Other-Groups/Access-to-Justice-Board/ATJBLC/~/media/73292065DB15413D865E7AB3426806F4.ashx.


Sign Language Interpreter’s Code of Professional Conduct

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID) worked with the National Association for the Deaf (NAD) to create a Code of Professional Conduct for interpreters. At the center of this code of conduct are seven tenets. These tenets are:

1.     Interpreters adhere to standards of confidential communication.

2.     Interpreters possess the professional skills and knowledge required for the specific interpreting situation.

3.     Interpreters conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the specific interpreting situation.

4.     Interpreters demonstrate respect for consumers.

5.     Interpreters demonstrate respect for colleagues, interns, and students of the profession.

6.     Interpreters maintain ethical business practices.

7.     Interpreters engage in professional development.

 

In the actual code, each of the seven tenets are followed by guiding principles and illustrations. The code of conduct can be viewed at: www.asli.com/NAD_RID_ETHICS.pdf. Additional information on the Code of Professional Conduct for interpreters is at: www.rid.org/ethics/code-of-professional-conduct


 

Questions to Consider when Establishing an Interpreter’s Qualifications (Possible Responses are listed on the following page)

 

1.               State your full name and address.

2.               Where are you presently employed?

3.               What is your educational background?

4.               How long have you known sign language?

5.               Where did you learn American Sign Language?

6.               Can you communicate fluently in American Sign Language (ASL)?

7.               Are you certified? By whom? What is your certification called?

8.               Please explain the certification process.

9.               What formal interpreter training have you undertaken?

10.            What formal legal interpreter training have you undertaken?

11.            What knowledge and skill areas did you study?

12.            How many times have you interpreted in court and in what kinds of situations have you interpreted?

13.            Please explain the difference between interpreting and transliterating, and between interpreting and translation.

14.            Are you active in any professional organizations?

15.            What is the RID?

16.            What is meant by minimal language skills?

17.            How do you determine the language used by a person who is deaf?

18.            Have you met the person who is deaf in this matter?

19.            Were you able to establish communication?

20.            How could you determine that you were being understood and that communication was established?

21.            What language does the person who is deaf use?

22.            How long will it take you to determine the language the person uses?

23.            Would you consider this person to be ASL-English bilingual?

24.            Is it possible to sign in ASL at the same time you are speaking in English?

25.            As an interpreter, what are significant issues that affect your interpreting in court?

26.            Will the interpretation you provide today be verbatim?

27.            What process would you use to inform the Court of any errors in your interpretation?

28.            Can you explain the difference between simultaneous and consecutive interpretation?

29.            Please explain the major tenets of the Registry of Interpreters Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters.

30.            What does the term relay interpreter mean and what function does that person serve?

 

31.            Why might a Certified Deaf Interpreter be more qualified to communicate with this person than you are?

32.            Please explain to the Court how you will work with the relay interpreter.

 

Possible Responses to Sign Language Interpreter Questions

 

1. & 2. vary by individual

 

3. What is your educational background?

An interpreter might have attended Interpreter Training Programs, taken sign language classes, studied interpreting/transliterating, American Sign Language, legal interpreting, etc. Degrees in interpreting are rare because of the lack of formal degree programs across the country.

 

4. How long have you known sign language?

It generally takes five years or more of formal study for a person to become fluent in any language. Fluency is not guaranteed when parents or family members are deaf. After one becomes fluent in American Sign Language, one must study to obtain the skills necessary to interpret. Being able to communicate with a person who is deaf is not equivalent to being able to interpret effectively and equivalently.

 

5. Where did you learn American Sign Language (ASL)?

Most interpreters have learned ASL through a combination of formal study, professional seminars and workshops, self-study, and interaction with adults who are deaf.

 

6. Can you communicate fluently in ASL?

Interpreters should be able to answer unequivocally yes.

 

7. Are you certified? By whom? What is your certification called?

Certified interpreters should be prepared to provide the Court with proof of certification and credentials along with a current membership card issued by Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).

 

8. Please explain the certification process.

There are two components to the current RID certification process. The written portion is a knowledge test, consisting of multiple-choice questions that evaluate knowledge of interpreter ethics, history of interpreting, deaf culture, interpreting processes, business processes, etc. Once one passes the written test, he or she is then eligible to stand for a performance test. A videotaped stimulus is used and the candidate’s performance is also videotaped. The candidate’s tape is then copied and sent to evaluators who rate the performance on a pass-fail basis, following psychometrically valid and reliable criteria.

 

9. What formal interpreter training have you undertaken?

An interpreter might have taken formal courses on a college or university level without obtaining a degree, since degreed interpreting programs are not widely prevalent.

 

10. What formal legal interpreter training have you undertaken?

Formal legal interpreting training might take the form of seminars from professionals in the field of legal interpreting, self-study, collegial mentoring, court observations, reading, mentoring, study groups, and on-line legal interpreting courses.

 

11. What knowledge and skill areas did you study?

Legal terminology, how language is used in the courtroom, courtroom protocol, ethics in legal interpreting, how to interpret legal texts, and how people who are deaf use ASL to discuss legal topics might be listed.

 

12. How many times have you interpreted in court and in what kinds of situations have you interpreted?

An interpreter should have had a variety of work experience in different courts with different cases over several years.

 

13. Please explain the difference between interpreting and transliterating. Please explain the difference between interpreting and translation.

Interpreting is working between two different languages, such as ASL and English, or Spanish and English. Transliterating is working between different forms of the same language, such as spoken English and signed English. Translation refers to working with written documents in two different languages, such as a Petition for Temporary Protective Order being translated from written English into ASL.

 

14. Are you active in any professional organization?

Some of the professional organizations that interpreters might be involved with or be members of include the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and the National Association of Judicial Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT).

 

15. What is the RID?

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID) is a national membership organization of professionals who provide sign language interpreting/‌transliterating services for deaf and hard of hearing persons. Established in 1964 and incorporated in 1972, RID is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. RID advocates for the increased quality, qualifications, and quantity of interpreters through a triad of services: professional certification through a national testing system, professional development through a certification maintenance program and promoting a Code of Ethics through an Ethical Practices System.

 

16. What is meant by minimal language skills?

Minimal language skills or minimal linguistic competency refers to an individual who is deaf who, for a variety of reasons, has had limited exposure to formal language. He or she has no formal language skills and is not fluent in ASL or English. He or she also does not have an effective gestural communication form that can be used to give or receive information. Oftentimes, the communication skills that he or she has used to get by in society are compromised when contact with those who know that particular communication system, such as family members, is limited.

 

17. How do you determine the language used by a person who is deaf?

An interpreter should be able to respond with some of the grammatical and linguistic features that are indicative of what language or mode of communication a person who is deaf might use. For example, most interpreters look for linguistic features that would indicate the person uses ASL. Features such as subject-object-verb or time-topic-comment sentential structure; time and tense markers that are at or near the beginning of the utterances; adverbs and other grammar would take place on the face and not in separate signs; complex features such as sentential structure that incorporates topic-comment eyebrow markers; rhetorical question eyebrow markers; relative clause eyebrow and head-tilt markers; verbs would incorporate pronouns; and pronouns would be performed by eye-gaze and not by signs. Linguistic features which indicate whether a person uses a more English-like signing system might include features such as signs that follow English word order, more mouth movements that resemble spoken English and initializing of signs.

 

18. Have you met the person who is deaf in this matter?

Interpreters must meet the person who is deaf in order to establish communication. If the interpreter has had prior professional or social contact with the person who is deaf, this should be disclosed on the record and the interpreter questioned as to his or her ability to impartially interpret the proceedings. The interpreter should not disclose or be compelled to disclose details of any prior professional contact. In most situations, interpreters should not interpret for the proceedings and for defense and/or prosecution. If an interpreter has been initially and primarily appointed by the Court to interpret the proceedings, the interpreter is deemed an officer of the Court by that appointment. As such, that interpreter cannot interpret for the defense without breaching the privileged relationship between a defendant and his or her attorney. He or she cannot be an officer of the Court and be an agent of the attorney concomitantly. Real or perceived conflict of interest is also inherent in such a case. Additionally, an interpreter may be subject to prior knowledge unconsciously influencing one’s interpreting, even though all due care and diligence is taken to not allow that to happen.

 

19. Were you able to establish communication?

Time must be allowed for the person who is deaf and the interpreter to establish communication and for the interpreter to describe his or her role and function in the Court proceedings. Ascertaining that communication is continuing during an interpreted event is an ongoing task, but communication groundwork must be established before the interpreted event begins.

 

20. How could you determine that you were being understood and that communication was established?

An interpreter should be able to succinctly explain how he or she makes the determination that communication has indeed been established. For example: When establishing communication, most interpreters follow a standard format by asking open-ended questions on a variety of unrelated topics such as educational background, weather, sports, deaf community events, current events and other neutral content areas. This time of interaction allows the interpreter and person who is deaf to get used to each other’s signing and see if they can understand one another. Most interpreters particularly look for congruency in three areas: content, context, and affect. If content, context, and affect are congruent, then that result is indicative that communication has been established.

 

21. What language does the person who is deaf use?

The majority of interpreters are not linguists, but should be able to respond as to which language or sign system a person who is deaf predominantly uses.

 

22. How long will it take you to determine the language the person uses?

Interpreters generally cannot be specific concerning the amount of time necessary. If no communication difficulties arise, a reasonable amount of time would be necessary. However, if there were communication difficulties, then a considerable amount of time would be necessary.

 

23. Would you consider this person to be ASL-English bilingual?

Since most interpreters are not linguists, most interpreters would not and should not give an opinion. If an interpreter were indeed a professional linguist, then the determination of whether a person who is deaf is ASL-English bilingual would normally require more time and additional resources, including the opportunity to study the written English of the person who is deaf.

 

24. Is it possible to sign in ASL at the same time you are speaking in English?

No. English and ASL are two different languages and each has a very different syntax. Trying to use both languages simultaneously would be like trying to speak in Spanish and sign in French. It just can’t be done. An interpreter should generally not respond to questions from Court personnel in spoken English while signing his or her responses to the person who is deaf.

 

25. As an interpreter, what are significant issues that affect your interpreting in Court?

Generally, lack of accessibility to the case file in order to prepare is a major issue. Technically, placement, lighting, and acoustics will have a major impact on interpreting. Speed of the spoken discourse, such as when someone reads from a text, could present difficulties. Physical and mental exhaustion will have an impact as well.

 

26. Will the interpretation you provide today be verbatim?

The question about the interpretation being verbatim usually goes to the question of whether the interpretation will be accurate. Interpreters normally take an oath that attests that they will faithfully and accurately interpret all the proceedings before the court. An interpreter’s goal is to preserve the integrity of the record by faithfully and accurately conveying the source message in the target message in an appropriate manner, retaining the mood, tone, nuances, and meaning of the speaker. Actually, there is no such thing as a verbatim or word-for-word interpretation since there are few word-for-word equivalents between any two languages. The differences between the languages require interpreters to find dynamic equivalents. Therefore, there is equivalence in meaning, but it is not verbatim.

 

27. What process would you use to inform the Court of any errors in your interpretation?

An interpreter should be able to respond that he or she will notify the Court as soon as errors are made or realized, regardless of when that occurs, by addressing the bench either in open court or if deemed necessary by requesting to approach the bench.

 

28. Can you explain the difference between simultaneous and consecutive interpretation?

Simultaneous interpreting occurs at the same time someone is speaking or signing, i.e. someone is speaking in spoken English and the interpreter is interpreting in ASL at the same time. Thus, two languages are used simultaneously. Consecutive interpreting occurs during consecutive time segments, i.e. the interpreter watches someone signing in ASL and when the person stops signing, the interpreter will begin interpreting in spoken English so that only one language is being used at a time.

 

29. Please explain the major tenets of the Registry for Interpreters Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters.

The seven major tenets of RID’s code of professional responsibility are listed on a previous page of this appendix. Additionally, interpreters working in judicial settings should have a working knowledge and understanding of the state specific code of professional responsibility for interpreters.

 

30. What does the term relay interpreter mean and what function does that person serve?

A relay interpreter might or might not be a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI), who is an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing and has been certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf as an interpreter. However, in addition to excellent general communication skills and general interpreter training, the relay interpreter may also have specialized training and/or experience in use of gesture, mime, props, drawings and other tools to enhance communication. The relay interpreter usually has an extensive knowledge and understanding of deafness, the deaf community, and/or deaf culture which combined with excellent communication skills, can bring added expertise into both routine and uniquely difficult interpreting situations.

 

31. Why might a Certified Deaf Interpreter be more qualified to communicate with this person than you are?

A Certified Deaf Interpreter might be more qualified when the communication mode of a person who is deaf is so unique that interpreters who are hearing cannot adequately access it. Some such situations may involve individuals who: use idiosyncratic non-standard signs or gestures such as those commonly referred to as home signs which are unique to a family; use a foreign sign language; have minimal or limited communication skills; are deaf-blind or deaf with limited vision; use signs particular to a given region, ethnic or age group; and/or have characteristics reflective of deaf culture not familiar to hearing interpreters.

 

32. Please explain to the Court how you will work with the relay interpreter.

In the CDI/hearing interpreter team situation, the CDI transmits message content between a deaf consumer and a hearing interpreter; the hearing interpreter transmits message content between the CDI and a hearing consumer. While this process resembles a message relay, it is more than that. Each interpreter receives the message in one communication mode (or language), processes it linguistically and culturally, and then passes it on through the appropriate communication mode. In even more challenging situations, the CDI and hearing interpreter may work together to understand an individual's message, confer with each other to arrive at their best interpretation, and then convey that interpretation to the hearing party.


Appendix J: Information and Resources Regarding Alternate Document Formats.
Tab image.

Appendix J: Information and Resources Regarding Alternate Document Formats

 

AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center:

AMAC Accessibility provides practical solutions for real challenges faced daily by individuals with disabilities. AMAC offers corporate, governmental, and nonprofit memberships for services, including: disability compliance consultation, Braille, captioning, accessible digital content and assistive technology. Our services are affordable, ensuring your environments become and remain accessible.

 

12 Means Street NW
Suite 250
Atlanta, GA 30318

Phone: 404-894-8000
Toll-Free: 866-279-2964
Fax: 404-894-8323

Website: http://amacusg.org/

Atlanta Braille Volunteers

Atlanta Braille Volunteers is a non-profit organization providing Braille transcription of printed materials for schools, businesses, churches, hospitals, community organizers, or anyone who needs to communicate with blind readers. Our mission is to assist the visually impaired in leading active, productive, and meaningful lives by transcribing a wide variety of materials into Braille. 

 

5065 Vinings Estate Court

Mableton, GA 30126

Website: http://www.georgiabraille.org/

Email: info@georgiabraille.org

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. (APH)

APH is the world's largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are visually impaired.

 

1839 Frankfort Avenue

P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206-0085

Phone: 502-895-2405

Toll Free: 1-800-223-1839 (U.S. and Canada)

Fax: 502-899-2284

Website: www.aph.org

Email: info@aph.org

 

Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI)

The mission of the Center for the Visually Impaired is to empower people impacted by vision loss to live with independence and dignity.

 

739 West Peachtree Street, N.W.

Atlanta, GA 30308

Phone: 404-875-9011

Fax: 404-607-0062

Contact: Anisio Correia

 


Appendix K: Checklist for Identifying Facility-Related Barriers in Existing Courthouses.
Tab image.

Appendix K. Checklist for Identifying Facility-Related Barriers in Existing Courthouses

 

ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities

Priority 1 – Approach & Entrance

Based on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

 

Project

Building

Location 

Date

Surveyors 

Contact Information

 

An accessible route from site arrival points and an accessible entrance should be provided for everyone

 

 

This checklist was produced by the New England ADA Center, a project of the Institute for Human Centered Design and a member of the ADA National Network. 

This checklist was developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133A060092-09A. However the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

 

Questions or comments on the checklist contact the New England ADA Center at 617-695-0085 voice/tty or ADAinfo@NewEnglandADA.org

For the full set of checklists, including the checklists for recreation facilities visit www.ADAchecklist.org.

 

Priority 1 – Approach & Entrance

 

1.1 Is there at least one route from site arrival points (parking, passenger loading zones, public sidewalks and public transportation stops) that does not require the use of stairs?

yes or no

(See 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design – 206.2.1)

If yes, location of route:

Possible Solutions: Add a ramp

Regrade to 1:20 maximum slope

Add a lift if site constraints prevent other solutions

 

Parking

Accessible parking spaces should be identified by size, access aisle and signage.

 

1.2 If parking is provided for the public, are an adequate number of accessible spaces provided? [208.2]

yes or no

number of Total spaces:

number of Accessible spaces:

Total spaces, access aisle

if the total spaces is between 1 - 25 you need 1 accessible space

if the total spaces is between 26 - 50 you need 2 accessible space

if the total spaces is between 51 - 75 you need 3 accessible space

if the total spaces is between 76 - 100 you need 4 accessible space

100+ see 2010 Standards 208.2

Reconfigure by repainting lines

 

1.3 Of the accessible spaces, is at least one a van accessible space? [208.2]

yes or no

(For every 6 or fraction of 6 parking spaces required by the table above, at least 1 should be a van accessible space. If constructed before 3/15/2012, parking is compliant if at least 1 in every 8 accessible spaces is van accessible)

Reconfigure by repainting lines

 

1.4 Are accessible spaces at least 8 feet wide with an access aisle at least 5 feet wide? [502.2,0502.3]

 

Two spaces may share an access aisle. Check state/local requirements; some specify that each space have its own aisle.

Solutions:

yes or no

Measurement:

Reconfigure by repainting lines

 

1.5 Is the van accessible space:

At least 11 feet wide with an access aisle at least 5 feet wide?

yes or no

Measurement:

Or

At least 8 feet wide with an access aisle at least 8 feet wide? [502.5]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Reconfigure to provide van-accessible space(s)

 

1.6 Is at least 98 inches of vertical clearance provided for the van accessible space? [502.5]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Reconfigure to provide van-accessible space(s)

 

1.7 Are the access aisles marked so as to discourage parking in them? [502.3.3]

yes or no

(The marking method and color may be addressed by state/local requirements)

Solution: Mark access aisles

 

1.8 Is the slope of the accessible parking spaces and access aisles no steeper than 1:48 in all directions? [502.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Regrade surface

 

1.9 Do the access aisles adjoin an accessible route?

yes or no [502.3]

Solution: Create accessible route, Relocate accessible space

 

1.10 Are accessible spaces identified with a sign that includes the International Symbol of Accessibility?

yes or no

Is the bottom of the sign at least 60 inches above the ground? [502.6]

yes or no

Measurement:

(The International Symbol of Accessibility is not required on the ground)

Solution: Install signs

 

 

1.11 Are accessible spaces identified with a sign meeting the specifics of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated?

yes or no

An accessible sign reading, Permit Parking Only, Tow-Away Zone.

 [O.C.G.A.40-6-221]

Blue reflective metal sign

yes or no

Min. 12’ wide x 18’ long

yes or no

Min. 84’ above ground

yes or no

Measurement:

White Warnings (Centered)

Solution: Install appropriate signs

               Permit Parking Only

               yes or no

               Tow Away zone

               yes or no

               Int’l Symbol

               yes or no

White Warnings occupy 75% of surface area of the sign.

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Install appropriate signs

 

 

1.12 Are there signs reading “van accessible” at van accessible spaces? [502.6]

yes or no

Solution: install signs

 

1.13 Of the total parking spaces, are the accessible spaces located on the closest accessible route to the accessible entrance(s)?

yes or no

 

Note: if parking serves multiple entrances, accessible parking should be dispersed.

Solutions: reconfigure spaces

 

Exterior Accessible Route

 

1.14 Is the route stable, firm and slip-resistant? [302.1]

yes or no

Solution: repair uneven paving

Fill small bumps and breaks with patches

Replace gravel with asphalt or other surface

 

1.15 Is the route at least 36 inches wide? [403.5.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Note: The accessible route can narrow to 32 inches min. for a max. of 24 inches. These narrower portions of the route must be at least 48 inches from each other.

Solution: change or move landscaping, furnishings or other items

Widen route

 

1.16 If the route is greater than 200 feet in length and less than 60 inches wide, is there a passing space no less than 60x60 inches? [403.5.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Widen route for passing space

1.17 If there are grates or openings on the route, are the openings no larger than ½ inches?

yes or no

Measurement:

Is the long dimension perpendicular to the dominant direction of travel? [302.3]

Yes or no

Solutions: Replace or move grate

 

1.18 Is the running slope no steeper than 1:20, i.e. for every inch of height change there are at least 20 inches of route run? [403.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Note: if the running slope is steeper than 1:20, treat as a ramp and add features such as edge protection and handrails.

Solution: Regrade to 1:20 max.

 

1.19 Is the cross slope no steeper than 1:48? [403.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Regrade to 1:48 max.

 

Curb Ramps

A sidewalk with a curb ramp is shown in perspective.  There is a dashed, arrowed line indicating where the accessible route crosses the curb at the curb ramp.

1.20 If the accessible route crosses a curb, is

there a curb ramp? [402.2]

yes or no

Solution: install curb ramp

 

 

A curb ramp is shown in perspective with an arrow indicating the direction of running slope.  There is a tetrahedron shown in isometric view with a maximum 1:12 slope.

1.21 Is the running slope of the curb ramp no steeper than 1:12, i.e. for every inch of height change there are at least 12 inches of curb ramp run? [406.1,405.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Regrade curb ramp

 

 

A curb ramp is shown in perspective with an arrow indicating the direction of cross slope.  There is a tetrahedron shown in isometric view with a maximum 1:48 slope.

1.22 Is the cross slope of the curb ramp, excluding flares, no steeper than 1:48?

[406.1, 405.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Regrade curb ramp

 

 

Shown in perspective, the minimum clear width of curb ramps is 36 inches.

1.23 Is the curb ramp, excluding flares, at least 36 inches wide? [406.1, 405.5]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Widen curb ramp

 

Shown in perspective, the minimum clear width of curb ramps is 36 inches.  If there are flares,  the slope of the flares must be no steeper than 1:10.

1.24 At the top of the curb ramp is there a level landing (slope no steeper than 1:48 in all directions) that is at least 36 inches long and at least as wide as the curb ramp? [406.4]

yes or no

 

If there are curb ramp flares, are the slopes of the flares no steeper than 1:10, i.e. for every inch of height change there are at least 10 inches of flare run [406.3]?

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Reconfigure, add ramp flares

 

A curb ramp with triangular flared sides is shown.  The flared sides have a maximum 1:12 slope, measured at the curb face.

1.25 If the landing at the top is less than 36 inches long, are there curb ramp flares?

yes or no

 

Are the slopes of the flares no greater than 1:12, i.e. for every inch of height change there

are at least 12 inches of flare run? [406.4]

Yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: add ramp flares, regrade flares

 

Ramps

if any portion of the accessible route is steeper than 1:20, it should be treated as a ramp

 

1.26 If there is a ramp is it at least 36 inches wide? [405.5]

yes or no

Measurement:

Note: If there are handrails, measure between the handrails.

Solution: Alter ramp

 

1.27 Is the surface stable, firm and slip resistant?

yes or no

Solutions: Resurface ramp

 

1.28 For each section of the ramp, is the running slope no greater than 1:12, i.e. for every inch of height change there are at least 12 inches of ramp run? [405.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: Rises no greater than 3 inches with a slope no steeper than 1:8 and rises no greater than 6 inches with a slope no steeper than 1:10 are permitted when such slopes are necessary due to space limitations.

Solution: Relocate ramp, lengthen ramp to decrease slope

 

1.29 Is there a level landing that is at least 60 inches long and at least as wide as the ramp?

At the top of the ramp?

yes or no

Measurement:

At the bottom of the ramp? [405.7.2, 405.7.3]

Yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Alter ramp, relocate ramp

 

 

1.30 Is there a level landing where the ramp changes direction that is at least 60 x 60 inches? [405.7.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Alter ramp, increase landing size

 

1.31 If the ramp has a rise higher than 6 inches, are there handrails on both sides? [405.8]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: Curb ramps are not required to have handrails.

Solution: Add handrails

 

 

1.32 Is the top of handrail gripping surface no less than 34 inches and no greater than 38 inches above the ramp surface? [505.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Reconfigure or replace handrails, adjust handrail height

 

1.33 Is the handrail gripping surface continuous and not obstructed along the top or sides? [505.3]

yes or no

If there are obstructions, is the bottom of the gripping surface obstructed no greater than 20% [505.6]

Yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Reconfigure or replace handrails

 

1.34 If the handrail gripping surface is circular, is it no less than 1 ¼ inches and no greater than 2 inches in perimeter. [505.7.1]
yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Replace handrails

 

One figure shows a handrail with an approximately square cross section and the second figure shows an elliptical cross section.  The perimeter dimension must be 4 to 6 inches.  The largest cross section is 2 ¼ inches.

1.35 If the handrail gripping surface is non-circular:

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Is the perimeter no less than 4 inches and no greater than 6 ¼ inches?

 

Is the cross section no greater than 2 ¼ inches? [505.7.2]

Solutions: Replace handrails

 

Ramp handrails at the top and bottom are shown to extend horizontally above the landing 12 inches minimum from the ramp run.  The extensions return to posts.

1.36 Does the handrail:

Extend at least 12 inches horizontally beyond the top and bottom of the ramp?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Return to a wall, guard, or landing surface? [505.10.1]

yes or no

 

Note: if a 12 inch extension would be a hazard (in circulation path) it is not required. 

Solutions: Alter handrails

 

 

1.37 To prevent wheelchair casters and crutch tips from falling off:

 

Does the surface of the ramp extend at least 12 inches beyond the inside face of the handrail?

yes or no

Measurement:

Or

Is there a curb or barrier that prevents the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere? [405.9.1, 405.9.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Add curb, add barrier, extend ramp width

 

Entrance

1.38 Is the main entrance accessible?

yes or no

Solutions: Redesign to make it accessible

 

1.39 If the main entrance is not accessible, is there an alternative accessible entrance?

yes or no

 

Note: Because court facilities are regularly raised above the surrounding ground this issue should be carefully reviewed. If needed can the alternative accessible entrance be used independently and during the same hours as the main entrance?

Yes or no

Solutions: Designate an entrance and make it accessible, ensure that accessible entrance can be used independently and during the same hours as the main entrance

 

1.40 Do all inaccessible entrances have signs indicating the location of the nearest accessible entrance?

yes or no

Solutions: Install signs, install signs on route before people get to inaccessible entrances so that people do not have to turn around and retrace route

 

1.41 If not all entrances are accessible, is there a sign at the accessible entrance with the International Symbol of Accessibility? [216.6]

yes or no

Solutions: Install sign

 

1.42 Are all primary pedestrian entrances accessible?

[O.C.G.A. 30-3-2(10)(B)]

yes or no

Note: This is required for all facilities newly constructed in Georgia since July, 1987.

Solutions: Identify future planning

 

Shown in plan view is a hinged door open 90 degrees with a clear opening width 32 inches minimum, measured from the face of the door to the opposite stop.

 

1.43 Is the clear opening width of the accessible entrance door at least 32 inches, between the face of the door and the stop, when the door is open 90 degrees?[404.2.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Alter door, install offset hinges

 

 

1.44 If there is a front approach to the pull side of the door, is there at least 18 inches of maneuvering clearance beyond the latch side plus at least 60 inches clear depth?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: See 2010 Standards 404.2.4 for maneuvering clearance requirements on the push side of the door and side approaches to the pull side of the door

 

On both sides of the door, is the ground or floor surface of the maneuvering clearance level (no steeper than 1:48)? [404.2.4]

Yes or no

Measurement:

 

Solutions: Remove obstructions, Reconfigure walls

Add automatic door opener

 

A threshold that is a fourth of an inch high.

1.45 If the threshold is vertical is the no more than ¼ inch high?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Or

A threshold that is half an inch high.

No more than ½ inch high with the top ¼ inch

beveled no steeper than 1:2, if the threshold was installed on or after the 1991 ADA Standards went into effect (1/2/93)?

Yes or no

Measurement:

A threshold that is three fourths of an inch high.

Or

No more than ¾ inch high with the top ½ inch beveled no steeper than 1:2, if the threshold was installed before the 1991 ADA Standards went into effect (1/26/93)? [404.25.5, 303.2]

Yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: The first ¼ inch threshold may be vertical; the rest must be beveled. 

Solution: Remove or replace threshold

 

Three perspective drawings of a loosely closed fist operating different door hardware.  The first shows U-shaped hardware; the second shows lever hardware; the third shows a panic/emergency bar.

1.46 Is the door equipped with hardware that is operable with one hand and does not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist?

yes or no

 

Door handle?

 

Lock (if provided)? [404.2.7]

Solution: Replace inaccessible knob with lever, loop or push hardware, add automatic door opener

 

1.47 Are the operable parts of the door hardware no less than 34 inches and no greater than 48 inches above the floor or ground surface? [404.2.7]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Change hardware height

 

1.48 Are swinging doors surfaces smooth within 10 inches of the first 10’from the floor or ground? [404.2.10]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Adjust or place kick plate

 

Shown in plan view is a hinged door open 12 degrees with a speed of 5 seconds minimum from a 90 degree position.

1.49 If the door has a closer, does it take at least 5 seconds to close from an open position

of 90 degrees to a position of 12 degrees from

the latch? [404.2.8]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Adjust closer

 

 

1.50 If there are two doors in a series, e.g. vestibule, is the distance between the doors at least 48 inches plus the width of the doors when swinging into the space? [404.2.6]

Yes or no

Measurement

Solution: remove inner door, change door swing

Plan view of two doors in a series which swing into the space between the doors.  The space between the doors when open must be at least 48 inches long.

Plan view of two doors in a series which swing away from the space between the doors.  The space separating the doors must be at least 48 inches long.

Plan view of two doors in a series which swing in the same direction.  Space between the doors must be at least 48 inches minimum plus the width of the in-swinging door.

Section view of carpet pile with padding and substrate underneath.  The height of the carpet pile must be no greater ½ inch.

1.51 If provided at the building entrance, are carpets or mats no higher than ½ inch thick? [302.2]

Yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: replace or remove mats

 

1.52 Are edges of carpets mats securely attached to minimize tripping hazards? [302.2]

Yes or no

Measurement

Solution: Secure carpeting or mats at edges

 


 

ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities

Priority 2 – Access to Goods and Services

Based on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

 

Project

Building

Location 

Date

Surveyors 

Contact Information

 

The layout of the building should allow people with disabilities to obtain goods and services and to participate in activities without assistance.

 

This checklist was produced by the New England ADA Center, a project of the Institute for Human Centered Design and a member of the ADA National Network. The checklist was developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133a060092-09a. However the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

 

Questions or comments on the checklist contact the New England ADA Center at 617-695-0085 voice/tty or ADAinfo@NewEnglandADA.org

For the full set of checklists,including the checklists for recreation facilities visit www.ADAchecklist.org.

 

 

Priority 2 Access to Goods & Services

 

2.1 Does the accessible entrance provide direct access to the main floor, lobby and elevator?

yes or no

[See 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design – 206.4]

Solution: Create accessible route

 

Interior Accessible Route

 

2.2 Are all public spaces on at least one accessible route? [206.2.4]

yes or no

Solution: Create accessible route

 

2.3 Is the route stable, firm and slip-resistant? [40.2, 302.1]

yes or no

Solution: Repair uneven surfaces

 

2.4 Is the route at least 36 inches wide? [403.5.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

(The accessible route can narrow to 32 inches min. for a max. of 24 inches.  These narrower portions of the route must be at least 48 inches from each other.)

Solution: Widen route

 

2.5 If the route is greater than 200 feet in length and no less than 60 inches wide, is there a passing space no less than 60 x 60 inches? [403.5.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Widen route for passing space

 

2.6 Is the running slope no steeper than 1:20, i.e. for every inch of height change there are at least 20 inches of route run?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: If the running slope is steeper than 1:20, treat as a ramp and add features such as edge protection and handrails.

Solutions: Regrade

 

2.7 Is the cross slope no steeper than 1:48? [403.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Regrade

 

2.8 Do all objects on circulation paths through public areas, e.g. fire extinguishers, drinking fountains, signs, etc., protrude no more than 4 inches into the path?

yes or no

Measurement:

Or

If an object protrudes more than 4 inches, is the bottom leading edge at 27 inches or lower above the floor?

yes or no

Measurement:

Or

Is the bottom leading edge at 80 inches or higher above the floor? [307.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Remove object

Add tactile warning such as permanent planter or partial walls

 

2.9 Are there elevators or platform lifts to all public stories?

yes or no

 

(Vertical access is not required in new construction or alterations if a facility is less than three stories or has less than 3,000 square feet per story, unless the facility is a shopping center, shopping mall, professional office of a health care provider, transportation terminal, state facility or local government facility 

Solutions: Install if necessary

Offer goods and services on accessible story

 

Ramps

 

2.10 If there is a ramp, is it at least 36 inches wide? [405.5]

 

Note: If there are handrails, measure between the handrails.

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Alter ramp

 

2.11 Is the surface stable, firm and slip resistant? [405.4]

yes or no

Solution: Resurface ramp

 

2.12 For each section of the ramp, is the running slope no greater than 1:12, i.e. for every inch of height change there are at least 12 inches of ramp run? [405.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Note: Rises no greater than 3 inches with a slope no steeper than 1:8 and rises no greater than 6 inches with a slope no steeper than 1:10 are permitted when due to space limitations.

Solutions: Lengthen ramp to decrease slope, relocate ramp

 

2.13 Is there a level landing that is at least 60 inches long and at least as wide as the ramp:

 

At the top of the ramp?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

At the bottom of the ramp? [405.7.2, 405.7.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Alter ramp, relocate ramp

 

2.14 Is there a level landing where the ramp changes direction that is at least 60 x 60 inches? [405.7.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Increase landing size

 

2.15 If the ramp has a rise higher than 6 inches are there handrails on both sides? [405.8]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Add handrails

 

2.16 Is the top of the handrail gripping surface no less than 34 inches and no greater than 38 inches above the ramp surface? [505.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Adjust handrail height

 

2.17 Is the handrail gripping surface continuous and not obstructed along the top or sides? [505.3]

yes or no

 

If there are obstructions, is the bottom of the handrail gripping surface obstructed by no more than 20%? [505.6]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Reconfigure or replace handrails

 

2.18 If the handrail gripping surface is circular, is it no less than 1 ¼ inches and no greater than 2 inches in diameter? [505.7.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Replace handrails

 

One figure shows a handrail with an approximately square cross section and the second figure shows an elliptical cross section.  The perimeter dimension must be 4 to 6 inches.  The largest cross section is 2 ¼ inches.

2.19 If the handrail gripping surface is non-circular,

Is the perimeter no less than 4 inches and no greater than 6 ¼ inches?

yes or no

Measurement:

Is the cross section no greater than 2 ¼ inches? [505.7.2]

yes or no

Measurement

 

Ramp handrails at the top and bottom are shown to extend horizontally above the landing 12 inches minimum from the ramp run.  The extensions return to posts.

2.20 Does the handrail:

Extend at least 12 inches horizontally beyond the top and bottom of the ramp?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Return to a wall, guard, or landing surface?

yes or no

(If 12” extension would be hazardous (in circulation path), it is not required)

 

Note: If a 12’ extension would be hazardous (in circulation path), it is not required.

Solution: Alter handrails

 

2.21 To prevent wheelchair casters and crutch tips from falling off:

Does the surface of the ramp extend at least 12 inches beyond the inside face of the handrail? 

yes or no

Measurement:

Or

Is there a curb or barrier that prevents the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere? [405.9.1,0405.9.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Add curb, add barrier, extend ramp width

 

Elevators-Full Size & LULA (limited use, limited application)

LULA elevators are often used in alterations.

 

2.22 If there is a full size or LULA elevator, are the call buttons no higher than 54 inches above the floor? [407.2.1.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Change call button height

 

2.23 If there is a full size or LULA elevator, does the sliding door reopen automatically when obstructed by an object or person? [407.3.3]

yes or no

 

Note: (If constructed before 3/15/2012 and manually operated, the door is not required to reopen automatically)

Solution: Install opener

 

2.24 If there is a LULA elevator with a swinging door:

Is the door power- operated?

yes or no

 

Does the door remain open for at least 20 seconds when activated? [403.3.2]

yes or no

time :

Solutions: Add power operated door

Adjust opening time

 

2.25 If there is a full size elevator:

Is the interior at least 54 inches deep by at least 36 inches wide with at least 16 sq. ft. of clear floor area?

yes or no

Measurement:

Is the door opening width at least 32 inches? [407.4.1 Exception]

yes or no

Measurement:

2.26 If there is a LULA elevator, is the interior:

At least 51 inches deep by 51 inches wide with a door opening width of at least 36 inches?

yes or no

Measurement:

Or

At least 54 inches deep by at least 36 inches wide with at least 15 sq. ft. of clear floor area and a door opening width of at least 32 inches? [408.4.1 Exceptions 1 and 2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Replace elevator

 

2.27 If there is a full size or LULA elevator, are the in-car controls:

No less than 15 inches and no greater 48 inches above the floor?

yes or no

Measurement:

Or

Up to 54 inches above the floor for a parallel approach? [408.4.6, 407.4.6.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Change control height

 

2.28 If there is a LULA elevator, are the in-car controls centered on a side wall? [408.4.6]

yes or no

Solution: Reconfigure controls

 

2.29 If there is a full size or LULA elevator:

Are the car control buttons designated with raised characters?

yes or no

 

Are the car control buttons designated with Braille? [407.4.7.1, 703.2]]

yes or no

Solutions: Add raised characters, add Braille

 

2.30 If there is a full size or LULA elevator, are there audible signals which sound as the car passes or is about to stop at a floor? [407.4.8]

yes or no

Solution: Install audible signals

 

2.31 If there is a full size or LULA elevator:

Is there a sign on both door jambs at every floor identifying the floor?

yes or no

Is there a tactile star on both jambs at the main entry level?

yes or no

 

Do text characters contrast with their backgrounds?

yes or no

Are text characters raised?

yes or no

Is there Braille?

yes or no

Is the sign mounted between 48 inches to the baseline of the lowest character and 60 inches to the baseline of the highest character above the floor?*

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: If constructed before 3/15/2012 and mounted no higher than 60 inches to the centerline of the sign, relocation is not required

Solutions: Install signs, change sign height

 

Platform lifts

 

2.32 If a lift is provided, can it be used without assistance from others?

[410.1]

yes or no

Solution: Reconfigure so independently operable

 

2.33 Is there a clear floor space at least 30 inches wide by at least 48 inches long for a person using a wheelchair to approach and reach the controls to use the lift? [410.5]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Remove obstructions

 

2.34 Are the lift controls no less than 15 inches and no greater than 48 inches above the floor?

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Change control height

 

2.35 Is there a clear floor space at least 30 inches wide by at least 48 inches long inside the lift?

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Replace lift

A doorway with measurements of 32 inches in the opening.

 

2.36 If there is an end door, is the clear opening width at least 32 inches? [410.6]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Alter door width

 

 

A doorway with measurements of 42 inches in the opening.

2.37 If there is a side door, is the clear opening width at least 42 inches?

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Alter door width

 

Signs

“Tactile characters” are read using

touch, i.e. raised characters and Braille.

 

2.38 If there are signs designating permanent rooms and spaces not likely to change over time, e.g. room numbers and letters, room names, and exit signs:[216.2]

Do text characters contrast with their backgrounds? [703.5]

yes or no

Are text characters raised? [703.2]

yes or no

Is there Braille? [703.3]

yes or no

Is the sign mounted on the wall on the latch side of the door? [703.4.2]

yes or no

 

Note: Signs are permitted on the push side of doors with closers and without hold-open devices.

 

With clear floor space beyond the arc of the door swing between the closed position and 45-degree open position, at least 18x18 inches centered on the tactile characters? [703.4.2]

A person using a sign that is centered on tactile characters. It is a minimum of 18 inches from the right side of the doorway and a minimum of 18 inches up from the floor. The person stands at a 45 degree angle from the doorway.

 

So the baseline of the lowest character is at least 48 inches above the floor and the baseline of the highest character is no more than 60 inches above the floor? [703.4.1]

Yes or no

Measurement

 

Note: If the sign is at double doors with one active leaf, the sign should be on the inactive leaf; if both leaves are active, the sign should be on the wall to the right of the right leaf.

Encountering protruding objects or standing within the door swing, relocation not required

Solution: If constructed before 3/15/2012 and mounted no higher than 60 inches to the centerline of the sign, relocation not required.

 

2.39 If there are there signs that provide direction to or information about interior spaces:

 

Do text characters contrast with their backgrounds? [703.5.1]

yes or no

Is the sign mounted so that characters are at least 40 inches above the floor? [703.5.6]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: Raised characters and Braille are not required

Solutions: Install signs with contrasting characters

Change sign height

 

Interior Doors –

to classrooms, medical exam rooms, conference rooms, etc.

Shown in plan view is a hinged door open 90 degrees with a clear opening width 32 inches minimum, measured from the face of the door to the opposite stop.

2.40 Is the door opening width at least 32 inches clear, between the face of the door and the stop, when the door is open 90 degrees? [404.2.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Install offset hinges, alter door

 

2.41 If there is a front approach to the pull side of the door, is there at least 18 inches of maneuvering clearance beyond the latch side plus at least 60 inches clear depth?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: See 2010 Standards 404.2.4 for maneuvering clearance requirements on the push side of the door and side approaches to the pull side of the door.

 

On both sides of the door, is the floor surface of the maneuvering clearance level (no steeper than 1:48)? [404.2.4]

Yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: remove obstructions, reconfigure walls, add automatic floor opener

A threshold that is a maximum of one fourth of an inch high.

2.42 If the threshold is vertical is it no more than ¼ inch high?

yes or no

Measurement:

Or

No more than ½ inch high with the top ¼ inch beveled no steeper than 1:2, if the threshold was installed on or after the 1991 ADA Standards went into effect (1/26/93)?

yes or no

Measurement:

A threshold that is a maximum of one half of an inch high.  

 

Or

No more than ¾ inch high with the top ½ inch beveled no steeper than 1:2, if the threshold was installed before the 1991 ADA Standards went in effort (1/26/93)?  [404.2.5, 303.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Note: The first ¼ inch of the ½ or ¾ inch threshold may be vertical; the rest must be beveled.

Solution: Remove or replace threshold

 

A threshold that is a maximum of three fourths of an inch high.

 

Three perspective drawings of a loosely closed fist operating different door hardware.  The first shows U-shaped hardware; the second shows lever hardware; the third shows a panic/emergency bar.

2.43 Is the door equipped with hardware that is operable with one hand and does not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist?

yes or no

 

Door handle?

yes or no

 

Lock (if provided)? [4040.2.7]

yes or no

 

Solutions: Replace inaccessible knob with lever, loop or push hardware

Add automatic door opener

 

2.44 Are the operable parts of the hardware no less than 34 inches and no greater than 48 inches above the floor? [404.2.7]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Change hardware height

 

2.45 Can the door be opened easily (5 pounds maximum force)? [404.2.9]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: You can use a pressure gauge or fish scale to measure force.  If you do not have one you will need to judge whether the door is easy to open

Note: Because the size of doors in court buildings typically is larger this requires additional attention in the design, construction and maintenance of these facilities.

Solution: Adjust or replace closers, install lighter doors, install power-assisted or automatic door openers

 

2.46 Are swinging doors surfaces smooth within 10 inches of the first 10’ inches of the first 10’ from the floor? [404.2.10]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Adjust or place kick plate

Shown in plan view is a hinged door open 12 degrees with a speed of 5 seconds minimum from a 90 degree position.

2.47 If the door has a closer, does it take at least 5 seconds to close from an open position of 90 degrees to a position of 12 degrees from the latch? [404.2.8.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Adjust closer

Rooms and Spaces – stores, supermarkets, libraries, etc.

 

2.48 Are aisles and pathways to goods and services, and to one of each type of sales and service counters, at least 36 inches wide? [403.5.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Rearrange goods, equipment and furniture

 

2.49 Are floor surfaces stable, firm and slip resistant? [302.1]

yes or no

Solution: Change floor surface

Detailed section of carpet pile with substrate.  The carpet must be no higher than a half inch from the top of the substrate.

2.50 If there is carpet:

Is it no higher than ½ inch?

yes or no

Measurement

 

Is it securely attached along the edges? [302.2]

Yes or no

Solution: Replace carpet

 

Controls – light switches, security and intercom systems, emergency/alarm boxes, etc.

 

2.51 Is there a clear floor space at least 30 least 30 inches wide by at least48 inches long for a forward or parallel approach? [305.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Are the operable parts no higher than 48 inches above the floor?*

Yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Change height of control, if constructed before 3/5/2012 and a parallel approach is provided; controls can be 54 inches above the floor

 

2.52 Can the control be operated with one hand and without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist? [309.4]

yes or no

Solution: Replace control

Seating: Assembly Areas and Courtrooms, etc.

 

2.53 Are an adequate number of wheelchair spaces provided? [221.2.1]

yes or no

# of Seats

Wheelchair Spaces

4 - 25

1

26 - 50

2

51 - 150

4

151 - 300

5

300+

see 2010 Standards 221.2.1.

 

Total#:

Wheelchair#:

Solution: Reconfigure to add wheelchair spaces

 

Seating area with various wheelchair spaces in the front, sides, and back.

 

2.54 Are wheelchair spaces dispersed

to allow location choices and viewing angles equivalent to other seating, including specialty seating areas that provide distinct services and amenities? [221.2.3]

yes or no

Solution: Reconfigure to disperse wheelchair spaces

 

A single wheelchair space is shown in plan.  The width of the space is 36 inches minimum.

2.55 If there is a single wheelchair space, is it at least 36 inches wide? [802.1.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Alter space

 

Two adjacent wheelchair spaces are shown in plan view.  The width of each space is 33 inches minimum.

2.56 If there are two adjacent wheelchair spaces, are they each at least 33 inches wide? [802.1.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Alter space

A plan view shows a wheelchair space with standard spaces on 3 sides.  The wheelchair space can be entered from the front and is 48 inches deep minimum.

2.57 If the wheelchair space can be entered from the front or rear, is it at least 48 inches deep? [802.1.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Alter space

 

 

A plan view shows a wheelchair space with standard spaces on 3 sides.  The wheelchair space can be entered from the side and is 60 inches deep minimum.

2.58 If the wheelchair space can only be entered from the side, is it at least 60 inches deep?

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Alter space

 

A seating area with an accessible route that is a minimum of 36 inches.

2.59 Do wheelchair spaces adjoin, but not overlap, accessible routes? [802.1.4]

yes or no

Solution: Alter space

 

2.60 Is there at least one companion seat for each wheelchair space? [221.3]

yes or no

Solution: Add companion seats

A plan view shows a wheelchair space next to an adjacent standard companion space.  The companion seat is should-to-shoulder with the wheelchair space.

 

2.61 Is the companion seat located so the companion is shoulder-to-shoulder with the person in a wheelchair? [802.3.1]

yes or no

Solution: Alter seating

 

 

2.62 Is the companion seat equivalent in size, quality, comfort and amenities to seating in

the immediate area? [802.3.2]

yes or no

Solution: Add equivalent seating

 

2.63 Are at least 5% of the total number of aisle seats, designated for use by individuals with difficulty walking? ....

yes or no

 

provided with removable armrests (if provided) [221.4, 802.4]

yes or no

Solution: Add removable armrests, add designation

 

Seating: At dining surfaces (restaurants, cafeterias, bars, etc.) and non-employee work surfaces (libraries, conference rooms, etc.)

 

2.64 Are at least 5%, but no fewer than one, of seating and standing spaces accessible for people who use wheelchairs? [226.1]

yes or no

Total #:

Wheelchair#:

Solution: Alter to provide accessible spaces

 

2.65 Is there a route at least36 inches wide to accessible seating? [403.5.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Widen route

 

2.66 At the accessible space(s), is the top of the accessible surface no less than 28 inches and no greater than 34 inches above the floor? [902.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: If for children, the top should be no less than 26 inches and no greater than 30 inches above the floor

Solutions: Alter surface height

 

 

Seating: General-reception areas, waiting rooms, etc.

 

2.67 Is there a clear floor space at least 30 inches wide by at least 48 inches long for a forward approach? [305.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Does it extend no less than 17 inches and no greater than 25 inches under the surface?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Is there knee space at least 27 inches high and at least 30 inches wide?

[306.2, 306.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: If for children, the knee space may be 24 inches high

Solution: Alter table or work surface, add accessible table or work surface

 

2.68 Is there at least one space at least 36 inches wide by at least 48 inches long for a person in a wheelchair? [802.1.2, 802.1.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Move furniture and equipment to provide space

 

Benches – In locker rooms, dressing rooms, fitting rooms

This section does not apply to any other benches.

 

2.69 In locker rooms, dressing rooms and fitting rooms, is there at least one room with a bench? [222.1, 803.4]

yes or no

Solution: Add bench

 

2.70 Is there a clear floor space at least 30 inches wide by at least 48 inches long at the end of the bench and parallel to the short axis of the bench?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Is the bench seat at least 42 inches long and no less than 20 inches and no greater than 24 inches deep?

yes or no

Measurement

 

Does the bench have back support or is it affixed to a wall?

yes or no

Measurement

 

Is the top of the bench seat no less than 17 inches and no greater than 19 inches above the floor? [903]

yes or no

Measurement

Solution: Move bench, replace bench, affix bench to wall

 

 

Service Counters

 

2.71 Is there a portion of at least one of each type of counter that is:

 

No higher than 36 inches above the floor?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

At least 36 inches long? [904.4.1]

yes or no

Measurement

Solutions: Lower section of counter, lengthen section of counter

 

2.72 Does the accessible portion of the counter extend the same depth as the counter top? [904.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Alter accessible portion

 

2.73 Is there a clear floor space at least 30 inches wide by at least 48 inches long for a forward or parallel approach? [904.4]

yes or no

Parallel

Measurement:

Forward

Measurement:

Solution: Reconfigure to provide a parallel or forward approach

 

2.74 For a parallel approach, is the clear floor space positioned with the 48 inches adjacent to the accessible length of counter? [904.4.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: If a parallel approach is not possible, a forward approach is required

 

2.75 For a forward approach:

Do no less than 17 and no greater than 25 inches of the clear floor space extend under the accessible length of the counter? [306.2.2, 306.2.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Is there at least 27 inches clearance from the floor to the bottom of the counter?

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Reconfigure to provide knee clearance

 

 

Food Service Lines – in cafeterias, salad bars, eat-in fast food establishments, etc.

 

2.76 Does at least one of each type of self-service shelf or dispensing device for tableware, dishware, condiments, food and beverages have a forward or parallel approach? [904.55.1]

yes or no

Forward

Parallel

Solution: Reconfigure to provide approach

 

Perspective drawing shows a self-service dispensing device on a counter. The operable parts of the device must be no higher than 48 inches above the floor.

2.77 If there is an unobstructed parallel approach, is the shelf or dispensing device no higher 48 inches above the floor? [308.3.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Lower shelf and/or dispensing device

 

 

Perspective drawing shows a self-service dispensing device on a counter with an obstruction less than 10 inches deep. The operable parts of the device must be no higher than 48 inches above the floor.

2.78 If there is a shallow obstruction no deeper than 10 inches with a parallel approach, is the shelf or dispensing device no higher than 48 inches above the floor? [308.3.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Lower shelf and/or dispensing device

 

 

Perspective drawing shows a self-service dispensing device on a counter with an obstruction 10 to 24 inches deep. The operable parts of the device must be no higher than 46 inches above the floor.

2.79 If there is an obstruction no less than 10 inches and no greater than 24 inches deep with a parallel approach, is the shelf or dispensing device no higher than 46 inches above the floor? [308.3.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Lower shelf and/or dispensing device

 

Perspective drawing shows a self-service dispensing device on a counter with no obstruction. The operable parts of the device must be no higher than 48 inches above the floor.

2.80 If there is an unobstructed forward approach, is the shelf or dispensing device no higher than 48 inches above the floor? [308.2.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Lower shelf and/or dispensing device

 

 

Perspective drawing shows a self-service dispensing device on a counter no more than 20 inches deep with room for a forward approach.  The clear floor space extends under the counter the same depth as the counter.  The operable parts of the device must be no higher than 48 inches above the floor.

2.81 If there is an obstruction no deeper than 20 inches with a forward approach:

Does clear floor space extend under the obstruction that is at least the same depth as the obstruction?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Is the shelf or dispensing device no higher than 48 inches above the floor?

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Reconfigure to provide knee space, lower shelf and/or dispensing device

 

Perspective drawing shows a self-service dispensing device on a counter 20 to 25  inches deep with room for a forward approach.  The clear floor space extends under the counter the same depth as the counter.  The operable parts of the device must be no higher than 44 inches above the floor.

2.82 If the obstruction is no less than 20 inches and no greater than 25 inches deep with a forward approach?

 

Does clear floor space extend under the obstruction that is at least the same depth as the obstruction?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

 

Is the shelf or dispensing device no higher than 44 inches above the floor? [904.5.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Reconfigure to provide knee space, lower shelf and/or dispensing device

 

Perspective drawing shows a self-service dispensing device on a counter with a tray slide.  The top of the tray slide must be 28 to 34 inches above the floor.

2.83 If there is a tray slide, is the top no less than 28 inches and no greater than 34 inches above the floor?

yes or no 

Measurement:

Solution: Reconfigure

 

 

Justice Facilities-in courtrooms, jury service, inmate handling, visitation, etc.

 

2.84 Are raised or depressed areas accessed by ramps or platform lifts (or planned for them) provided them with unobstructed turning space? [206.2.4, 304, 808.2]

yes or no

Built in

Planned for

Solution: Reconfigure to provide unobstructed turning

 

 

2.85 Does each jury box and witness stand have clear floor space for wheelchair access? [305, 808.3]

yes or no

Solutions: Reconfigure to provide clear floor space

 

2.86 Do all judges benches and courtroom stations have clear floor space and knee and toe clearance for wheelchair access? [203.9, 305, 306, 902]

yes or no

yes or no

yes or no

Solutions: Reconfigure to provide

 

2.87 Does the main aisle of the courtroom have a firm, stable, and slip resistant level surface with a minimum 36” clear aisle width?...and if possible 44”? [303, 403]

yes or no

yes or no

yes or no

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Reconfigure

 

A woman and a man in a seating area. The man sits in a wheelchair next to the woman.

2.88 Is shoulder alignment possible at all wheelchair designated space in the courtroom and general assembly areas? [802.3.1]

yes or no

Solutions: Reconfigure


 

Assistive listening devices.

2.89 Does the jury deliberation space have at least 36” clear access width around the table when in use? [403]

yes or no

Solutions: Reconfigure

 

 

2.90 Do all courtrooms have an assistive listening system? [219.2, 706]

yes or no 

Solutions: Add assistive listening system

 

Assistive listening devices.

2.91 Do all assembly areas with audio amplification have an assistive listening system? [219.2, 706]

yes or no

Solutions: Add assistive listening system

 

 

Pictogram with the shape of an ear and a bar diagonally across the shape.

2.92 Do all courtrooms, and assembly areas with audio amplification, have signage indicating assistive listening system availability with instructions for its use. [703.7.2.4]

yes or no

Solutions: Add assistive listening signage

 

 

2.93 Is there an accessible secure entry to the building for inmate handling?

[206.4.9]

yes or no

Solutions: Reconfigure

 

2.94 Is there an accessible holding cell for each type of secure holding? [232.2]

yes or no

Solutions: Reconfigure

 

2.95 If provided, are there at least 5% of the visiting areas that are inmate and visitor accessible? [232.5]

yes or no

Accessible:

Total Provided:

Solutions: Reconfigure


 

ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities

Priority 3 – Toilet Rooms

Based on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

 

Project

Building

Location 

Date

Surveyors 

Contact Information

 

When toilet rooms are open to the public they should be accessible to people with disabilities

 

This checklist was produced by the New England ADA Center, a project of the Institute for Human Centered Design and a member of the ADA National Network. The checklist was developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133a060092-09a. However the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

 

Questions or comments on the checklist contact the New England ADA Center at 617-695-0085 voice/tty or ADAinfo@NewEnglandADA.org

For the full set of checklists,including the checklists for recreation facilities visit www.ADAchecklist.org.

 

 

Priority 3 – Toilet Rooms

 

3.1 If toilet rooms are available to the public, is at least one toilet room accessible?

(Either one for each sex, or one unisex.)

yes or no

Note: If toilet rooms are chiefly for children, e.g., in elementary schools and day care centers, use the children’s specifications in Toilets -604.1, 604.8, 604.9, 609.4 and Lavatories and Sinks 606.2]

Solutions: Reconfigure toilet rooms

Combine toilet rooms to create one unisex accessible toilet room

 

3.2 Are there signs at inaccessible toilet rooms that give directions to accessible toilet rooms? [See 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design – 216.8]

yes or no

Solutions: Install signs

 

3.3 If not all toilet rooms are accessible, is there a sign at the accessible toilet room with the International Symbol of Accessibility? [216.8]

yes or no

Solutions: Install signs

 

Accessible Route

 

3.4 Is there an accessible route to the accessible toilet room? [206.2.4]

yes or no

Solution: Alter route

Signs at Toilet Rooms

 

3.5 Do text characters contrast with their backgrounds? [703.5]

yes or no

Are text characters raised? [703.2]

yes or no

Is there Braille? [703.3]

yes or no

Is the sign mounted:

On the wall on the latch side of the door? [703.4.2]

yes or no

Note: Signs are permitted on the push side of doors with closers and without hold-open devices.

Image of a man using a visual cane reading a door sign tactilely.  The sign is on the latch side of the door, 18 inches from the door swing centered on the tactile characters, and 48 to 60 inches from the baseline of the text to the floor.

 

With clear floor space beyond the arc of the door swing between the closed position and 45-degree open position, at least 18 x 18 inches centered on the tactile characters? [703.4.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

 

Image of a man using a visual cane reading a door sign tactilely.  The sign must be at least 48 inches to the baseline of the lowest tactile character and at least 60 inches to the baseline of the highest tactile character above the floor.

So the baseline of the lowest

character is at least 48 inches above

the floor and the baseline of the

highest character is more than 60

inches above the floor?* [703.4.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

 

Note: If the sign is at double doors with one active leaf, the sign should be on the inactive leaf; if both leaves are active, the sign should be on the wall to the right of the right leaf.

 

 

*If constructed before 3/15/2012 and a person may approach within 3 inches of the sign without protruding objects or standing within the door swing, relocation not required

*If constructed before 3/15/2012 and mounted no higher than 60 inches to the centerline of the sign, relocation is not required

Solution: Relocate signs

 

Entrance

 

3.6 Is the door opening width at least 32 inches clear, between the face of the door and the stop, when the door is open 90 degrees? [404.2.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Install offset hinges, alter the doorway

 

3.7 If there is a front approach to the pull side of the door is there at least 18 inches of maneuvering clearance beyond the latch side plus 60 inches clear depth?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: See 2010 Standards 404.2.4 for other maneuvering clearance requirements on the push side of the door side approaches to the pull side of the door

 

On both sides of the door, is the floor surface of the maneuvering clearance level (no steeper than 1:48)? [404.2.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Remove obstructions, reconfigure walls, add automatic door opener

A threshold that is a fourth of an inch high.

3.8 If the threshold is vertical is it no more than ¼ inch high?

Or

No more than ½ inch high with the top ¼ inch beveled no steeper than 1:2, if the threshold was installed on or after the 1991 ADA Standards went into effect (1/26/93)

yes or no

Measurement:

A threshold that is half an inch high.

Or

 

No more than ¾ inch high with the top ½ inch beveled no steeper than 1:2, if the threshold was installed before the 1991 ADA Standards went into effect (1/26/1993)? [404.2.5, 303.2]

 

A threshold that is three fourths of an inch high.

Note: The first ¼ inch of the ½ or ¾ inch threshold may be vertical; the rest must be beveled.

Solution: Remove obstructions, reconfigure walls,

add automatic door opener

 

 

Three perspective drawings of a loosely closed fist operating different door hardware.  The first shows U-shaped hardware; the second shows lever hardware; the third shows a panic/emergency bar.

3.9 Is the door equipped with hardware that is operable with one hand and does not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist?

Door handle?

Lock (if provided)? [404.2.7]

yes or no

Solution: Replace inaccessible knob with lever, loop

or push hardware, add automatic door opener

 

3.10 Are the operable parts of the door hardware mounted no less than 34 inches and no greater than 48 inches above the floor? [404.2.7]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Change hardware height

 

3.11 Can the door be opened easily (5 pounds maximum force)? [404.2.9]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: You can use a pressure gauge or fish scale to measure force. If you do not have one you will need to judge whether the door is easy to open.

 

Note: Because the size of doors in court buildings typically is larger this requires additional attention in the design construction and maintenance of these facilities.

Solution: Adjust or replace closers, install lighter doors, install power-assisted or automatic door openers

 

3.12 Are swinging doors surfaces smooth within 10 inches of the first 10” from the floor? [404.2.10]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Adjust or place kick plate

 

Shown in plan view is a hinged door open 12 degrees with a speed of 5 seconds minimum from a 90 degree position.

3.13 If the door has a closer, does it take at least 5 seconds to close from an open position of 90 degrees to a position of 12 degrees from the latch? [404.2.8.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Adjust closer

 

 

Plan view of two doors in a series which swing into the space between the doors.  The space between the doors when open must be at least 48 inches long.

3.14 If there are two doors in a series, e.g. vestibule is the distance between the doors at least 48 inches plus the width of the doors when swinging into the space? [404.2.6]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Remove inner door, change door swing

Plan view of two doors in a series which swing in the same direction.  Space between the doors must be at least 48 inches minimum plus the width of the in-swinging door.

 

Plan view of two doors in a series which swing away from the space between the doors.  The space separating the doors must be at least 48 inches long.

3.15 If there is a privacy wall and the door swings out, is there at least 24 inches of maneuvering clearance beyond the door latch side and 42 inches to the privacy wall? [404.2.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Shown in plan view, a toilet room door swings out of the room and there is a privacy wall on the inside of the room. There must be at least 24 inches of maneuvering clearance beyond the door latch side interior and at least 42 inches to the privacy wall.

Solution: Reconfigure space

 

Shown in plan view, a toilet room door swings into the room and there is a privacy wall on the inside of the room. There must be at least 24 inches of maneuvering clearance beyond the door latch side interior and at least 48 inches to the privacy wall if the door has no closer. If the door has a closer there must be at least 54 inches to the privacy wall.

3.16 If there is a privacy wall and the door swings in, is there at least 24 inches of maneuvering clearance beyond the door latch side and at least 48 inches to the  privacy wall if there is no door closer or at least 54 inches if there is a door closer? [404.2.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Reconfigure space

 

In the Toilet Room

 

3.17 Is there a clear path to at least one of each type of fixture, e.g. lavatory, hand dryer, etc., that is at least 36 inches wide? [403.5.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Remove obstructions

 

3.18 Is there clear floor space available for a person in a wheelchair to turn around, i.e. a circle at least 60 inches in diameter or a T-shaped space within a 60-inches square? [603.2.3 Exception 2]

yes or no

Measurement:

A toilet room with a floor space of thirty by forty eight inches beyond the swing of the door.

Solutions: Move or remove partitions, fixtures or objects such as trash cans

 

3.19 In a single user toilet room if the door swings in and over a clear floor space at an accessible fixture, is there a clear floor space at least 30 X 48 inches beyond the swing of the door? [603.2.3 Exception 2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Reverse door swing, alter toilet room

 

3.20 If the mirror is over a lavatory or countertop, is the bottom edge of the reflecting surface no higher than 40 inches above the floor?

yes or no

Measurement:

Or

If the mirror is not over the lavatory or countertop, is the bottom edge of the reflecting surface no higher than 35 inches above the floor? [603.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: If installed before 3/15/2012 and the bottom edge of the reflecting surface is no higher than 40 inches is not required, lower the mirror, add another

 

3.21 If there is a coat hook, is it no less than 15 inches and no greater than 48 inches above the floor?* [603.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Adjust hook, replace with or provide additional accessible hook, if installed before 3/15/2010 and the clear floor space allows a parallel approach, the coat hook may be 54 inches above the floor.

 

Lavatories

The 2010 Standards refer to sinks in toilet rooms as lavatories

 

3.22 Does at least one lavatory have a clear floor space for a forward approach at least 30 inches wide and 48 inches long? [606.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Alter lavatory, replace lavatory

 

3.23 Do no less than 17 inches and no greater than 25 inches of the clear floor space extend under the lavatory so that a person using a wheelchair can get close enough to reach the faucet? [306.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Alter lavatory, replace lavatory

 

3.24 Is the front of the lavatory or counter surface, whichever is higher, no more than 34 inches above the floor?  [606.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Alter lavatory, replace lavatory

 

3.25 is there at least 27 inches clearance from the floor to the bottom of the lavatory that extends at least 8 inches under the lavatory for knee clearance? [306.3.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Alter lavatory, replace lavatory

 

3.26 Is there toe clearance at least 9 inches high? [306.3.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: Space extending greater than 6 inches beyond the available toe clearance at 9 inches above the floor is not considered toe clearance

Solutions: Alter lavatory, replace lavatory

 

3.27 Are pipes below the lavatory insulated or otherwise configured to protect against contact? [606.5]

yes or no

Solution: Install insulation, install cover panel

 

3.28 Can the faucet be operated without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist?

yes or no

 

Is the force required to activate the faucet no greater than 5 pounds? [606.4]

yes or no

Solutions: Adjust faucet, replace faucet

 

Soap Dispensers and Hand Dryers

 

3.29 Are the operable parts of the soap dispenser within one of the following reach ranges:

 

Above lavatories or counters no less than 20 inches and no greater than 25 inches deep: no higher than 44 inches above the floor? [308.2.2] 

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Above lavatories less than 20 inches deep: no higher than 48 inches above the floor?

 

Not over an obstruction: no higher than 48 inches above the floor? [308.2]

Yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Adjust dispensers, replace with or provide accessible dispensers

 

3.30 Are the operable parts of the hand dryer or towel dispenser within one of the following reach ranges:

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Above lavatories or counters no less than 20 inches and no greater than 25 inches deep: no higher than 44 inches above the floor?

yes or no

Measurement:

Above lavatories less than 20 inches deep: no higher than 48 inches above the floor?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Can the operable parts of the hand dryer or towel dispenser be operated without tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist?

 

Is the force required to activate the hand dryer or towel dispenser no greater than 5 pounds? [309.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Adjust dispensers, replace with or provide additional accessible dispensers

 

Water Closets in Single-User Toilet Rooms and Compartments (Stalls)

The 2010 Standards refer to toilets as water closets.

 

3.31 Is the centerline of the water closet no less than 16 inches and no greater than 18 inches from the side wall or partition? [604.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Move toilet, replace toilet, move partition

 

3.32 is clearance provided around the water closet measuring at least 60 inches from the side wall and at least 56 inches from the rear wall?* [604.3.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

The height of the top of a water closet seat is shown in plan view to be no less than 17 inches and no greater than 19 inches above the floor.

Solutions: If constructed before 3/15/2012, clearances around water closets in single user toilet rooms can be 48 inches wide by 66 inches long or 48 inches wide by 56 inches long ( depending on the approach to the water closet, see 1991 Standards Figure 28) and the lavatory may overlap that clearance if the door to the room does not swing into the required clearances at fixtures (such as lavatories, water closet and urinals) and the edge of the lavatory is at least 18 inches from the centerline of the water closet. Alter room/compartment for clearance

 

3.33 Is the height of the water closet no less than 17 inches and no greater than 19 inches above the floor measured to the top of the seat? [604.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Adjust toilet height, replace toilet

The length of a grab bar on the side wall of a water closet is shown in elevation to be no less than 48 inches long. The leading end of the grab bar is no less than 54 inches from the rear wall and the other end is no more than 12 inches from the rear wall.

3.34 Is there a grab bar at least 42 inches long on the side wall?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Is it located no more than 12 inches from the rear wall?

yes or no

Measurement:

Does it extend at least 54 inches from the rear wall?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

The height of a grab bar on the side wall of a water closet is shown in elevation to be no less than 33 inches and no greater than 36 inches from the floor, measured to the top of the gripping surface.

Is it mounted no less than 33 inches and no greater than 36 inches above the floor to the top of the gripping surface? [609.4

yes or no

Elevation detail shows the bottom edge of a toilet paper dispenser at least 12 inches above a side wall grab bar, and the top edge of a trash receptacle at least 1-1/2 inches below a side wall grab bar.

Measurement:

 

Is there at least 12 inches clearance between the grab bar and protruding objects above?*

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Is there at least 1 ½ inches clearance between the grab bar and projecting objects below?*

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Is the space between the wall and the grab bar 1 ½ inches? [609.3]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Install grab bar, relocate grab bar, relocate objects. *If constructed before 3/15/2012 grab bars do not need to be relocated: there are no space requirements above and below grab bars in the 1991 Standards

 

The length of a grab bar on the rear wall of a water closet is shown in elevation to be no less than 36 inches long. Measured from the centerline of the water closet, the end of the grab bar leading into open space is no less than 24 inches from the centerline and the other end leading into the side wall is at least 12 inches from the centerline.

3.35 Is there a grab bar at least 36 inches long

on the rear wall?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Does it extend at least 12 inches from the centerline of the water closet on one side (side wall)?

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Does it extend at least 24 inches on the other (open) side?

[604.5.2]

yes or no

The height of a grab bar on the rear wall of a water closet is shown in elevation to be no less than 33 inches and no greater than 36 inches from the floor, measured to the top of the gripping surface.

Measurement:

 

Is it mounted no less than 33 inches above the floor to the top of the gripping surface?

[609.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Are there at least 12 inches clearance between

the grab bar and protruding objects above?*

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Are there at least 1½ inches clearance between the grab bar and projecting objects below?*

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Is the space between the wall and the grab bar 1½ inches?

[609.3

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Install grab bar, relocate grab bar, relocate objects

*If constructed before 3/15/2012 grab bars do not need to be relocated; there are no space requirements above and below grab bars in the 1991 Standards 

3.36 If the flush control is hand operated, is the operable part located no higher than 48 inches above the floor?

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Move control, install sensor with override button no higher than 48 inches

 

3.37 If the flush control is hand operated, can it be operated with one hand and without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the twist?

yes or no

 

Is the force required to activate the flush control no greater than 5 pounds?

[605.4]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Change control, adjust control

 

3.38 Is the flush control on the open side of the water closet?

[604.6]

yes or no

Solution: Move control

 

Elevation drawing shows the centerline of the toilet paper dispenser to be 7 to 9 inches in front of the water closet.

3.39 Is the toilet paper dispenser located no less than 7 inches and no greater than 9 inches from the front of the water closet to the centerline of the dispenser?*

[604.7]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: If constructed before 3/15/2012 dispenser does not need to be relocated if the is within reach from the water closet seat; the 1991 Standards do not specify distance from the front of the water closet; relocate dispenser

 

Elevation drawing shows the outlet of the toilet paper dispenser 15 inches minimum and 48 inches maximum above the floor.

3.40 Is the outlet of the dispenser:

Located no less than 15 inches and no greater than 48 inches above the floor?

yes or no

Measurement:

Not located behind grab bars?

[604.7]

yes or no

Solution: Relocate dispenser

 

3.41 Does the dispenser allow continuous paper flow?

[604.7]

yes or no

Solutions: Adjust dispenser, replace dispenser

 

Toilet Compartments (Stalls)

 

3.42 Is the door opening width at least 32 inches clear, between the face of the door and the stop, when the door is open 90 degrees?

604.8.1.2]?

yes or no

Measurement

Solution: Widen door width

 

3.43 If there is a front approach to the pull side of the door, is there at least 18 inches of maneuvering clearance beyond the latch side plus 60 inches clear depth?

[604.8.1.2]

yes or no

Measurement:

 

Note: See 2010 Standards 604.8.1.2] Doors for maneuvering clearance requirements on the push side of the door and side approaches to the pull side of the door

Solution: Remove obstructions

 

3.44 Is the door self-closing?

[604.8.1.2]

yes or no

Solution: Add closer, replace door

 

3.45 Are there door pulls on both sides of the door that are operable with one hand and do not require tight grasping pinching or twisting of the wrist?*

yes or no

Solution: If constructed before 3/15/2012 door pulls do not need to be added; door pulls are not required in the 1991 Standards; replace hardware

 

3.46 Is the lock operable with one hand and without tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist?

yes or no

Solution: Replace lock

 

3.47 Are the operable parts of the door hardware mounted no less than 34 inches and no greater than 48 inches above the floor?

[404.2.7]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solution: Relocate hardware

 

3.48 Is the compartment at least 60 inches wide?

[604.8.1.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Widen compartment

 

3.49 If the water closet is wall hung, is the compartment at least 56 inches deep?

[604.8.1.1]

yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Widen compartment

 

3.50 If the water closet is floor mounted, is the compartment at least 59 inches deep?

[604.5.1.1]

yes or no

Measurement

Solutions: Alter compartment

The size of a water closet compartment beyond the swing of an in-swinging door is shown no less than 60 inches wide and no less than 56 inches deep if there is a wall hung water closet or no less than 59 inches if there is a floor mounted water closet.

3.51 If the door swings in, is the minimum required compartment area provided beyond the swing of the door (60 inches x 56 inches if water closet is wall hung or 59 inches if water closet is floor mounted)

[604.8.1.1]

Yes or no

Measurement:

Solutions: Reverse door swing, alter compartment


The back cover of the handbook with the Judicial Council of Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts logo. The Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee, Judicial Council of Georgia. The address for the Administrative Office of the Courts is 244 Washington Street Southwest, Suite 300. Atlanta, Georgia 30334.



[1] 541 U.S. 509, 536 (2004).

[2] The guide generally does not address certain legal principles, such as sovereign immunity, or the obligations of judges and court personnel under the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct, requiring judges, among other things, to perform the duties of judicial office, including administrative duties, without bias or prejudice.  Rule 2.3 (a).  www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_code_of_judicial_conduct.html

[3] 42 U.S.C. § 12101(b)(1).

[4] 42 U.S,C. § 12101(a)(8).

[5] Pub. Law 110-325.

[6] 29 U.S.C. § 794(a).

[7] The Supreme Court decided in Tennessee v. Lane in 2004 (above, footnote 1) that states are subject to lawsuits filed in federal court under Title II for money damages, injunctive relief, and declaratory relief; Congress had appropriately abrogated sovereign immunity when it enacted the ADA, specifically as to “judicial services.”  See case description, App. F, p. 1.

[8] 42 USC § 12102(1).  A person is also protected if he or she has a relationship or association with a person with a disability.

[9] 28 C.F.R. § 35.104.

[10] Id.

[11] 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2)(A).

[12] 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2)(B).

[13] A qualified individual with a disability is defined under Title II of the ADA at 42 U.S.C. § 12131(2).

[14] See Prakel v. Indiana, App. F, p. 10.

[15] See Galloway v. Superior Court of the District of Columbia, App. F, p. 7.

[16] See King v. Indiana Supreme Court, App. F, p. 8.

[17] See Soto v. City of Newark, App. F, p. 9.

[18] See Prakel v. Indiana, App. F, p. 9.

[19] See Mosier v. Kentucky, App. F, p. 10.

[20] 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.

[21] Protecting the Rights of Parents and Prospective Parents with Disabilities:

Technical Assistance for State and Local Child Welfare Agencies and Courts under

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act www.ada.gov/doj_hhs_ta/child_welfare_ta.pdf, issued by DOJ and the Department of Health and Human Services, August 2015, Question 5.

[22] 28 C.F.R. §35.130(d).

[23] See WebAIM,  www.webaim.org/articles/cognitive.

[24] For more information see National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions.

[25] Supplementary information for Title II regulation, 75 Fed Reg 56164 at 56200, col. 3 (Sept. 15, 2010).

[26] Revised ADA Requirements: Effective Communication | PDF (2014)www.ada.gov/effective-comm.htm

[27] Support Service Providers for People who are Deaf-Blind (2006),

www.aadb.org/information/ssp/white_paper_ssp.html.

[28] The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

[29] www.thearc.org/document.doc?id=3669  The Arc’s Justice Advocacy Guide: An Advocate’s Guide on Assisting Victims and Suspects with Intellectual Disabilities, 2006. 

[30] The State of Washington formally recognizes the role of support person in criminal proceedings where “dependent persons” are victims or witnesses, allowing dependent persons to be accompanied by an advocate or support person.  See the State of Washington’s law on the rights of “dependent persons" (one who, because of physical or mental disability, or because of extreme advanced age, is dependent upon another person to provide the basic necessities of life) to be accompanied by such a person, be provided a secure waiting area, and request a preliminary hearing for the purpose of establishing accommodations.  WA ST T. 7, Ch. 7.69B.020.

[31] Protecting the Rights of Parents and Prospective Parents with Disabilities:

Technical Assistance for State and Local Child Welfare Agencies and Courts under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act www.ada.gov/doj_hhs_ta/child_welfare_ta.pdf, issued by DOJ and the Department of Health and Human Services, August 2015, Question 5.

[32] Florida accommodation form, www.flcourts.org/core/fileparse.php/243/urlt/ADA-Model-Request-Form.pdf; State of Washington’s General Court Rule 33, www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.display&group=ga&set=GR&ruleid=gagr33; California court rules, Cal. Rules of Court, rule 1.100 (2014),  www.courts.ca.gov/cms/rules/index.cfm?title=one&linkid=rule1_100

[33] See DOJ settlement agreement with Orange County Clerk of Courts, Florida, App. D, p. 2. 

[34] See Marks v. Tennessee, App. F, p. 1.

[35] See In Re McDonough, 457 Mass. 512, 522 (2010), setting out procedural guidelines where resolution of a witness’ request for accommodation for a disability is disputed.

[36] See State of Washington forms: Sealed Medical and Health Information Cover Sheet under GR 33

GR 33 Request, Request for Reasonable Accommodation  www.courts.wa.gov/forms/?fa=forms.contribute&formID=71

[37] Id.

[38] See Section-by-Section Analysis of Title II rule, Subpart E – Communication.  www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_regulations.htm

[39] ADA Update: A Primer for State and Local Governments, http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/title_ii_primer.html, from DOJ, June 2015.

[40] See Paulone v. City of Frederick, App. F, p. 8.

[41] Private entities involved in court activities may also be public accommodations with their own obligations under Title III of the ADA.

[42] King v. Indiana Supreme Court, App. F, p. 8.  See also Paulone v. City of Frederick, App. F, p. 8, where there was no contractual relationship between the city and private entities participating in alcohol awareness education required for probationers, but Title II claim against city for failing to provide interpreters was allowed to proceed.

[43] Duvall v. County of Kitsap, App. F, p. 6; Gregory v. Administrative Office of the Courts, App. F, p. 7.

[44] However, see the discussion in the prior section, Activities other than Judicial Proceedings (Including Those Carried out by Third Parties) about judicial activities that may not be court proceedings and/or that may be carried out by third parties, explaining ADA coverage of these.

[45] A lawyer’s office is considered a place of public accommodation and must accommodate people with disabilities in accordance with Title III or the ADA. 42 USC § 12182.

[46] See collection of Georgia statutes and rules in App. E.

[47] See July 3, 2012 Supreme Court Order, App. E.

[48]  Id.

[49] See Ling v. State, 288 Ga. 299; 702 S.E.2d 881 (2010); See also Ramos v. Terry, 279 Ga. 889, 622 S.E.2d 339 (2005) (holding the use of qualified interpreters is necessary to preserve meaningful access to the legal system for persons who speak and understand only languages other than English); and “Is It Reversible Error? Due Process and Access to Justice for LEP and DHH Individuals,” Georgia Courts Journal, Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper, Esq., 2015.

[50] See bench card, App. I, p. 2.

[51] See Georgia Commission on Interpreters Instructions for Use of Non-Licensed Interpreters, App. E.

[52] See O.C.G.A. § 24-6-652, App. E, p. 1.

[53] See https://www.georgiaadvocates.org/library/folder.555579-SESSION_1_Language_Access_Nuts_Bolts_101_Legal_Obligations_and_Practical_C

[54] See the next section, Other Electronic and Information Technology, as to electronic filing and associated records.

[55] These agreements are part of DOJ’s Project Civic Access, a wide-ranging effort to ensure that counties, cities, towns, and villages comply with the ADA by eliminating physical and communication barriers.  DOJ conducts comprehensive reviews of the activities of a public entity and generally resolves the issues through a formal settlement agreement.  See, for example, agreement with Monroe County (Pennsylvania), App. D, p. 10.

[56] See agreements with Atlanta and Glynn County (Georgia), App. D, p. 7.

[57] See agreement with Galveston County (Texas), 2015, www.ada.gov/galveston‌_tx_pca‌/galveston_tx_sa.html.

[58] See http://www.ada.gov/websites2.htm

[59] See Tennessee v. Lane, App. F, p. 1, Matthews v. Jefferson, App. F, p. 3. 

[60] U.S. Department of Justice, ADA Title II Technical Assistance Manual, www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/taman2.html, sections II-5.1000 and II-5.2000.

[61] Appendix K of the electronic version of this guide provides additional information for conducting a self-evaluation and transition plan to meet the ADA’s program access requirements.

[62] www.ada.gov/2010ADAstandards_index.htm. 

[63] The case cited several allegations of violations of the ADA and Section 504 by other defendants, some of which are not relevant here.