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Frequently Asked Questions


 

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Q. What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

A. The Americans with Disabilities Act gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.

 

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Q. Who is a person with a disability?

A. As defined by the ADA, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity such as walking, seeing, hearing, learning, breathing, caring for oneself, or working. The ADA also protects people who have a record of such an impairment or who are regarded as having an impairment, whether or not they actually have one, if being perceived as having one results in discrimination.

 

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Q. How do I request an accommodation?

A. Each court has a key person who has been designated to help facilitate disability accommodation requests. The "Court Clerk or Justice" will accept contacts made in person, in writing or over the telephone from individuals who need an ADA accommodation.

To ensure that the court will be able to make appropriate arrangements, requests should be made, whenever possible, well in advance of the court appearance date. Requests should be as specific as possible. In addition to the type of accommodation needed, please provide relevant information regarding the court appearance (i.e., court facility address, name of the case, name of the justice, part number, date of the appearance(s), and estimated length of the proceeding).

 

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Q. How will the accommodation request be handled?

The Court Clerk or Justice, or other appropriate court personnel, will notify you if the court is able to provide the requested accommodation, or requires further information. The Court Clerk or Justice may also, in consultation with the Office of the Justice Court Support, propose an alternative form of accommodation. If the court finds it necessary to deny the requested accommodation and an alternative cannot be mutually agreed upon, you will be provided with a written explanation for the denial. A final decision to deny an accommodation can only be made by the Court Clerk or Justice.

 

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Q. How will I know if my request has been denied?

UCS policy is to accommodate persons with disabilities to the fullest extent possible. If for some reason(s) a request is denied and a suitable alternative accommodation cannot be reached, the Court Clerk or Justice will provide you with a written explanation for your denial.

If the denial of an accommodation comes from a Justice, it is a judicial determination and not an administrative one, and may be subject to judicial, rather than administrative, review.

 

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Q. How does the court system accommodate jurors?

A. Juror questionnaires ask whether an ADA accommodation will be needed. Once a prospective juror has identified him/herself as wanting an accommodation, the jury office reviews the request and provides such reasonable accommodation as will satisfy the need of the individual. In certain instances, the justice needs to make a ruling as to whether a particular juror, even if given an accommodation, is qualified to serve.

 

 

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Q. How does the court system assist people with disabilities who are self-represented?

A. In addition to the other ADA accommodations that are available to all court users, in appropriate situations court clerks may assist a disabled self-represented litigant by completing court forms if the litigant's disability limits his/her ability to do this task on his/her own. In providing the assistance, court clerks act solely as scribes, recording on the court forms the information provided by the self-represented litigant; court clerks cannot provide legal advice.

 

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Q. Can the court system provide an accommodation to a spectator of a court proceeding?

A. The court, when asked, must provide reasonable accommodations so people with disabilities, including spectators, may take part in our programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodation should be directed to the Court Clerk or Justice to ensure that an appropriate reasonable accommodation is provided to meet the need of the individual.

 

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Q. Can the court store medication if a juror, witness or litigant requests the accommodation?

A. Courts are permitted to keep medication and related supplies in an appropriate area for individuals who are using the courts and present verifiable medical documentation. A request should be directed to the appropriate Court Clerk or Justice.

 

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Q. Are service animals allowed in the courthouse?

A. Service animals are permitted in all areas where members of the public participate in the services, programs, or activities of the court. As defined in the ADA, these animals are individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. Therefore, service animals are classified as working animals, not pets. Though a person with a disability is not required to provide any verbal or written confirmation to establish the existence or extent of his or her disability, they may be asked certain questions regarding their service animal. If not immediately evident, qualified individuals may be asked whether their animal is a service animal and, if so, what services it has been trained to provide. Service animals must be kept on a leash, harness, or tether (unless using one is not possible due to the handler's disability, or interferes with the service animal's performance) and be within the control of the individual with a disability at all times. For the security and safety of all court users, if at any time the animal becomes unruly or aggressive, the court may ask that the animal be removed from the facility.

 

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Q. Can the court system transport individuals with a disability who are coming to court or have them met at the curb?

A. The court's responsibility to court users begins at the door of the courthouse. If a municipal transport service for disabled individuals exists in a locale, however, the court may be able to provide the telephone number as a service.

 

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Q. Can the court system provide wheelchairs for individuals with disabilities? 

A. No. The court system does not provide personal medical equipment such as wheelchairs or canes, or personally prescribed items such as eyeglasses or hearing aids. The court system also does not provide services of a purely personal nature, such as a personal attendant to assist with eating, toileting or dressing.

 

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Q. Does the court system provide parking for people with disabilities?

A. Not all of our courthouses have public parking facilities and those that do are usually not operated by the court system. If you are visiting a facility that provides parking for the public, there should be some spaces reserved for people with disabilities. You should contact the local Court Clerk or Justice to find out what is available at the courthouse you will be visiting.

 

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Q. Can teleconferencing be considered as an accommodation for a hearing or other court proceeding?

A. Decisions involving court proceedings must be at the discretion of the justice over the case. On a case-by-case basis, and with approval of the justice, telephone conferencing has been used as a way to accommodate people who cannot leave their homes or who will have difficulty accessing the court building.

 

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Q. How do you assist a person with a hearing impairment?

A. Some possible accommodations for individuals with a hearing impairment are an assistive listening device, realtime reporting, telephone relay services, and sign language interpreting.

 

 

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