The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal civil rights statute for individuals with disabilities, requires all state and local governmental entities, including the courts, to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities to ensure equal access to court activities, programs and services. The Circuit Court of the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Court) has adopted the following protocol and procedures for ensuring effective communications for individuals with hearing loss.
It is the policy of the Court to ensure that communications with individuals with hearing loss in its proceedings are as effective as communications with individuals without disabilities, consistent with the requirements of Title II of the ADA. This applies to all types of court proceedings including both civil and criminal.
To meet this obligation, the Court will provide, free of charge, the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, whenever necessary to ensure that individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from any program, services and activities.
The policy applies to all members of the public who seek to participate in the court’s proceedings, programs, services and activities, including parties to legal proceedings, witnesses, jurors and spectators.
III. DESCRIPTION OF AUXILIARY AIDS AND SERVICES
Auxiliary aids and services include a wide range of services and devices that promote
Examples of auxiliary aids and services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing include qualified interpreters, notetakers, computer-aided transcription services, written materials, telephone handset amplifiers, assistive listening systems, telephones compatible with hearing aids, closed caption decoders, open and closed captioning, telecommunications devises for deaf persons (TTY’s), videotext displays, and exchange of written notes.
IV. NOTICE TO DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING OF THE PROTOCOL AND AUXILIARY AIDS AND SERVICES
The Court Disability Coordinator (CDC) shall provide notice of availability of appropriate auxiliary aids and services to ensure that individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing have an equal opportunity to participate in court proceedings by posting a form of notice in the office of the Circuit Clerk, outside courtrooms, on the Circuit Clerk’s website and at such locations in the courthouse where visitors typically seek information or assistance.
V. REQUESTS FOR AUXILIARY AIDS AND SERVICES
The Court Disability Coordinator (CDC) will provide a form upon request to any individual to request any needed auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication. Whenever possible, the request shall be made ten (10) days in advance of the proceedings. The request shall be given to the designated Court Disability Coordinator. Attached is a listing of CDC by county. Attached is the form to request services entitled Request for Communication Access to the Courts for Individuals with Hearing Loss.
The CDC will make a decision granting, denying or altering the type of auxiliary aid or service requested within 3 days of receiving the request. The CDC will inform the person making the request for auxiliary aids or services within 3 days of the decision. In the event that auxiliary aids or services cannot be secured per the CDC decision, the proceedings will be rescheduled to a date the auxiliary aids and services can be provided. All parties shall be promptly informed of any schedule changes.
If the CDC response is to provide alternate services or denies the request, the person making the request can appeal the decision to the Chief Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit (hereinafter Chief Judge) within 5 days. All appeals shall be sent to:
Office of the Chief Judge
Fayette County Courthouse
221 South 7th Street
Vandalia, IL 62471
If the individual making the request indicates to the CDC they would like to appeal their decision, the CDC shall forward all information to the Chief Judge for his/her decision. The Chief Judge shall timely review the materials and rule on the request. The Chief Judge shall thereafter inform the individual and CDC of his/her decision.
The CDC will be responsible for recording and maintaining the request for auxiliary aids and services. This information will be confidential and kept in a secure location, but other than in the individual’s court file.
VI. ARRANGING AUXILIARY AIDS AND SERVICES
The CDC will give “primary consideration” to the request of the deaf or hard of hearing
individual. “Primary consideration” means that the public entity must honor the choice, unless it can demonstrate that another equally effective means of communication is available, or that use of the means chosen would result in a fundamental alteration in the service, program, or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens.
The CDC shall consult with the individual to determine the most appropriate auxiliary aid or service because the individual with a disability is most familiar with his or her disability and is in the best position to determine what type of aid or service will be effective.
Any interpreter provided shall be licensed under the Illinois Interpreter for the Deaf Licensure Act of 2007. If the legal proceedings involve criminal felony charges, major civil cases, juvenile/family court or any trial the interpreter must possess either an Advance or Master level designation. Using two interpreters, in a team approach, may be appropriate due to a number of factors, including: length and complexity of the assignment; unique needs of the person being served; and, physical and emotional dynamics of the setting. A listing of licensed interpreters in the State of Illinois is located on IDHHC’s website at http://www.idhhc.state.il.us/interpreter/interpreter.htm.
The Court may not ask or require friends or family members to interpret for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
This protocol is adopted by the Circuit Court of the Fourth Judicial Circuit on this 22nd day of September, 2011.
-Kimberly G. Koester, Chief Judge
P.O. Box 617
Taylorville, IL 62568
Office (217) 824-4966
Fax (217) 824-5030
P.O. Box 100
Louisville, IL 62858
Office (618) 665-3523
Fax (618) 665-3543
Carlyle, IL 62231
Office (618) 594-6615
Fax (618) 594-0197
Effingham County Government Center
120 W. Jefferson – Suite 101
Effingham, IL 62401
Office (217) 342-4065
Fax (217) 342-6183
Vandalia, IL 62471
Office (618) 283-5009
Fax (618) 283-4490
Newton, IL 62448
Office (618) 783-2524
Fax (618) 783-8626
Salem, IL 62881
Office (618) 548-3856
Fax (618) 740-0118
Hillsboro, IL 62049
Office (217) 532-9546
Fax (217) 532-9614
Shelbyville, IL 62565
Office (217) 774-4212
Fax (217) 774-4109