Eliminating Barriers to Justice III: Language Access, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Georgia’s Criminal and Civil Justice Systems

Conference Highlights included:

  • Access to Justice & the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) – An introductory discussion of professionalism issues within the contexts of a court’s legal responsibility to provide auxiliary aids, services, and other reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities (including and beyond interpretation services) involved in civil and criminal legal proceedings. This module also included a discussion of Georgia’s ADA Handbook for Georgia courts currently under revision.
  • Access to Justice and the Criminal Justice System – A discussion of the importance of the use of qualified interpreters in criminal matters and the risk of reversible error on appeal when the use of an unqualified or no interpreter occurs, as established by Supreme Court of Georgia precedent. This module discussed possible ethical implications for attorneys (including those working in District Attorney, Solicitor General, and Public Defender offices) and judges when criminal litigants, witnesses or other court participants, particularly those who are LEP/DHH, are not provided with meaningful access to the justice system.
  • Judicial Roundtable – “The Essence of Due Process is the Opportunity to Be Heard” featuring Hon. Keith Blackwell, Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia; Hon. Harold Melton, then Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia; Hon. Sara Doyle, former Chief Justice, Georgia Court of Appeals; Hon. Horace Johnson, Judge, Superior Court (Alcovy Circuit); Hon. Kristina Hammer Blum, Chief Magistrate Judge, Gwinnett County Magistrate Court.