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Police Mistreatment of Deaf

A Suspect


Updated January 14, 2011

Then there's: "All deaf persons must be informed of the law enforcement agency's obligation to have a free, qualified interpreter present during all communications." No one even bothered to tell me about this. Not even the officer who came to the house, neither the detectives, neither the officers who do the booking procedures, as well as anyone else out in that area of the holding area. There was not even a mention of an interpreter there at all, no matter where I was.

Next page at the bottom has: "Under the ADA and its regulation, it is clear that local and state law enforcement agencies are required to provide qualified sign language interpreters, and other auxiliary aids to ensure effective communication with the deaf and hard of hearing individuals." What interpreters? There were NONE AT ALL! Auxiliary aids? Yes, there was a TTY in the booking area, as well as one that Det. G. used. That's it! Nothing else. Effective communications? Not. Two pages later: "During every stage of the proceedings against a criminal defendant, a qualified interpreter must be present." WHERE WAS THIS INTERPRETER???

Middle paragraph on the next page: "Failure to provide a deaf person with an interpreter prior to trial severely curtails any possibility of free communication between the attorney and the accused during the pre-trial stage." I have no problem with no interpreter with my attorney, but I do have a HUGE ONE with none with questioning with the two officers! Where was this free communication between me and the officer? WHERE??? There was absolutely no communications, and heavy politics used here! Even the judge knew of my hearing problem, when I talked of an interpreter the first time I showed up in court.

Finally, on the next page: "Under the ADA and its regulation, it is clear that local and state courts are required to provide qualified sign language interpreters and other auxiliary aids, to ensure effective communication with deaf and hard of hearing individuals." The courts and the officers have failed miserably here. So miserably, that this is a very clear violation of my own civil rights as a deaf individual, what with all the deficiencies. This case should not have continued on!

I'm unable to go to my court date of January 19th, due to a heavy 16 inch snowfall, keeping people from doing what needs to be done. I get a call from JB, saying that the court date will be postponed to another time. I later receive a notice saying that my next court date would be on January 31. That day, there's a continuation filed for March 30, to which I will decide either to go through diversion or the 3rd floor Felony Court. Going through the Felony Court would cost me $3,500-5,000 which I did not have.

A week before I go to the next court date, I make a request to the Court Administrator for an interpreter. A few days later, I get a call saying that my court date has been moved. At this court date, [where an interpreter was FINALLY provided] the detective, my lawyer, and I agree on going through diversion. We then sign papers concerning the diversion that I will be going through and discuss what I will be doing and so on. The next court date officially places me in the diversion program. For the next year, til May 10, 1995, I'm in diversion, and have twice-monthly meetings with the caseworker for 3 months, then after that, once a month, either a visit or a phone call. I also have to work 160 hours, and pay a $160 fee.

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