ADA Accommodations

ADA LogoThe Hawai`i State Judiciary is committed to providing equal access consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and other state and federal laws. If you have a disability that may restrict your ability to meaningfully participate in court proceedings, we will provide you with reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

What are the state and federal laws regarding individuals with disabilities?

Hawai`i Revised Statutes §368-1.5 requires that no otherwise qualified individual be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by state agencies, including the court system, solely on the basis of a disability.

The ADA and the ADAAA are federal civil rights statutes that require state and local governments, including the court system, to accommodate the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.

In accordance with the ADA and the ADAAA, the Judiciary pays the costs associated with accommodations that are provided to the person with the disability. This includes, for example, the cost of providing sign language interpreters or computer assisted real-time transcription for persons who are deaf or who have a hearing impairment. Further, if a sign language interpreter is requested, the court will give preference to sign language interpreters who have training in how to interpret in a legal setting. You may request an accommodation by contacting the Disability Accommodations Coordinator assigned to the building where your court proceeding is scheduled. A request for an accommodation may be made at any time. We ask, however, that you notify the court at least 10 business days in advance.

Who qualifies for accommodations?

A person with a disability may receive an accommodation (such as: sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices) if the individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Major life activities include and are not limited to caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

How do I get an accommodation?

You may request an accommodation by contacting the Disability Accommodations Coordinator assigned to the building where your court proceeding is scheduled. Requests for accommodations may be oral or in writing. The Disability Accommodations Coordinator will complete a Request for Accommodation Form and act as the facilitator for your request.

After you complete the form, you will be asked to sign the form attesting that everything stated in the form is true to the best of your knowledge.

How do I request a sign language interpreter?

You may request a sign language interpreter by contacting the Disability Accommodations Coordinator assigned to the building where your court proceeding is scheduled. A request for an accommodation may be made at any time. We ask, however, that you notify the court at least 10 business days in advance. If a sign language interpreter is requested, the court will give preference to sign language interpreters who have training in how to interpret in a legal setting. In accordance with the ADA and the ADAAA, the Judiciary pays the costs associated with accommodations that are provided to the person with the disability (e.g. the cost of providing sign language interpreters or computer assisted real-time transcription for persons who are deaf or who have a hearing impairment).

What about Service Animals?

You are not required to notify the court in advance if you use a service animal (dog). Athena the Therapy Dog Helps local veterans during court visits People with disabilities are allowed to bring their service animals into all areas where court clients are usually allowed to go and service animals will be allowed access to Judiciary facilities, activities, services, and programs. The Judiciary may exclude any service animal when the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog that barks repeatedly in court) or request the removal of any animal that is not housebroken (for example, a dog that urinates on the floor). The Judiciary staff and/or security staff may ask the following questions to determine if the animal is a service animal or a pet: 1. is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and 2. what work or task has the service animal been trained to perform?

 When should I ask for an accommodation?

A request for an accommodation may be made at any time. We ask, however, that you notify the court at least 10 business days in advance.

May the court deny my request for an accommodation?

Yes. The court may deny your request if the request is for a personal or individually prescribed device, or if the modification will fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity of the court or program. If you disagree with the denial of your request, you may submit a complaint form.

If the court suggests a different accommodation, do I have to accept an alternative accommodation?

The court may offer a different or alternative accommodation. For example, if a juror is blind and requests written material introduced at trial to be transcribed in Braille, the court may consider alternatives such as providing a reader or tape recorded transcript of the written material.

The court is required to find an accommodation that will effectively allow full participation in the court proceedings. The court is not required to provide the best accommodation, but must provide an effective one. Therefore, the accommodation provided may not necessarily be your first choice. Determining an appropriate accommodation requires an interactive process between you and the Disability Accommodations Coordinator during which your input and suggestions are welcome and important.

How do I file a complaint if I am not satisfied with the accommodation?

You may fill out a complaint form available from the Disability Accommodations Coordinator assigned to the building where your court proceeding or program is scheduled or from Beth Tarter, EEO/ADA Officer at 808-539-4336 (Voice) or email adarequest@courts.hawaii.gov

 

Disclaimer

This information is not intended to be a complete or full statement of the state and federal laws governing persons with disabilities and is not intended to be, or to substitute for, legal advice.

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