NYC Transit Court to Provide Interpreters by Phone


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NYC Transit Court to Provide Interpreters by Phone

In a change of policy, the New York City transit court has agreed to provide interpreting services to non-English-speaking defendants who request interpreters. "With interpreter services, thousands of subway and bus riders will have a fair chance of defending themselves in the transit court," says New York Civil Liberties Union attorney Christopher T. Dunn, who spearheaded a legal campaign to ensure the availability of interpreters at the court. "We will be watching the court to make sure the services are provided." Transit officials say they are looking for a cost-effective method to offer interpreting services by phone, to be furnished at adjudication hearings and reception windows. They say that interpreters would be offered by year's end. The transit agency stresses that it is not legally mandated to provide an interpreter. However, Martin B. Schnabel, a lawyer for New York City Transit, says, “We do support the view that those individuals who appear for hearings in transit court should be afforded every reasonable opportunity to effectively present their defense.” Dunn says, "They recognize it's an indefensible situation, even if they don't agree it's an illegal situation. I don't have any doubt they are going to implement this."

From "Transit Court to Provide Interpreters by Phone"
New York Times (NY) (11/02/10) Grynbaum, Michael M. 

Source: ATA Newsbriefs - November 2010


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