Court Apologizes to Deaf Woman Denied Interpreter

In News by LJC DK Admin

A deaf woman who sued the District of Columbia Superior Court claiming she was unlawfully denied an interpreter for grand jury service has received an apology from the chief judge.

Michelle Koplitz on Wednesday voluntarily withdrew her lawsuit accusing the court of violating the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. In a letter to Koplitz sent Sept. 19, Chief Judge Lee Satterfield expressed his “profound regret” at what happened.

“Please be assured that it is the policy of the Superior Court—and it has been so for many years—to provid[e] all citizens the ability to perform grand and petit jury service,” Satterfield wrote.

One of Koplitz’s lawyers, Joseph Espo of Brown Goldstein Levy, said on Wednesday that the court and the D.C. government’s “response was very prompt, in no way defensive or attempting to suggest that what happened should have happened or was permissible.

“It just should be a reminder that public entities not only need appropriate policies, but they need to do training sufficient so that everyone who’s involved in implementing those policies implements them properly,” Espo said.

Satterfield said in an interview on Wednesday that the incident was an “unfortunate mistake.” He said there was no indication that the jury office previously told prospective jurors that the court wouldn’t pay for an interpreter. Please see the National Law Journal here to read the full post.