Language Access Plan

Gilbert Municipal Court

Limited Access Plan (LAP)

Legal Basis & Purpose

This document serves as the plan for the Gilbert Municipal Court to provide to persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) services that are in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.; 45 C.F.R. § 80.1 et seq.; and 28 C.F.R. § 42.101–42.112). The purpose of this plan is to provide a framework for the provision of timely and reasonable language assistance to LEP persons who come in contact with the Gilbert Municipal Court. 

This language access plan (LAP) was developed to ensure meaningful access to court services for persons with limited English proficiency. Although court interpreters are provided for persons with a hearing loss, access services for them are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act rather than Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and therefore will not be addressed in this plan.

Needs Assessment

Statewide

The State of Arizona provides court services to a wide range of people, including those who speak limited or no English.  From a statewide perspective, the following languages were listed with the greatest number of speakers who spoke English less than “Very Well” in Arizona (according to the American Community Survey estimate report from the U.S. Census Bureau dated April 2012):

1. Spanish

2. Navajo

3. Chinese

4. Vietnamese

Gilbert Municipal Court

The Gilbert Municipal Court will make every effort to provide services to all LEP persons.  However, the following list shows the foreign languages that are most frequently used in this court’s geographic area.

  1. Spanish
  2. Vietnamese
  3. Chinese
  4. Korean

This information is based on data collected from the United States Census Bureau data for Arizona.

Language Assistance Resources

Providing Interpreters in the Courtroom

In the Gilbert Municipal Court, interpreters will be provided at no cost to LEP court customers (including witnesses, victims and parents or guardians) who need such assistance in all courtroom proceedings.  

It is the responsibility of the private attorney, Public Defender or County Attorney to provide qualified interpretation and translation services for witness interviews, pre-trial transcriptions and translations and attorney/client communications during out of court proceedings.

Identifying LEP individuals who need language assistance

Once a language issue is identified it is recorded in the court’s electronic case management system pursuant to Policy and Procedure: GO.22 – Communication Assistance.

Citation/Complaint:

In most instances LEP individuals are identified by the charging authority by their writing the customer’s language on the Arizona Traffic Ticket and Complaint or the long form complaint. As a result, the customer’s language is entered into the court’s case management system at the point of data entry. From that point on languages, other than English, are prominently displayed when working on any case attached to the customer.

Telephone:

Court services staff identify LEP individuals when customers call the court to inquire about their cases or for other assistance. In the case of Spanish speakers the court is able to provide a Spanish speaking representative to assist the caller. In these cases the language is entered into the court’s case management system. In cases involving languages other than Spanish it is most often the case that the court customer has a friend or relative interpret for him/her and once the language is identified it is then entered into the court’s case management system.

Counters and Courtrooms:

Judges and court services staff identify LEP individuals at their first appearance in court. In the case of Spanish speaking individuals once the language is identified it is entered into the court’s case management system and the court is able to provide a Spanish interpreter immediately to assist the individual. For languages other than Spanish, once the language is identified it is entered into the case management system and a subsequent hearing is scheduled with the appropriate interpreter.

Signage throughout the court building indicating interpreter services are available may help to identify LEP individuals.  The Gilbert Municipal Court will display these signs at the following locations: at the entrance to the court facility and on the 2nd floor of the court facility in proximity to the criminal courtrooms.

Language Assistance Measures Outside the Courtroom

The Gilbert Municipal Court is also responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure that LEP individuals have meaningful access to services provided by the court outside the courtroom, including routine contact with court personnel and in situations where LEP litigants are ordered to attend mediation, or a treatment or educational program provided by a court employee or by a private vendor under contract with the court.

The court uses the following resources to facilitate communication with LEP individuals and court staff or providers of court-ordered services:

Direct Assistance:

Staff Interpreter

The court has one part time Spanish interpreter who works limited hours during the court’s operational day and is available via telephone on weekends to assist Spanish speaking in-custody defendants. This interpreter is available for direct assistance for incoming telephone calls, at the service counter and in our courtrooms. This interpreter is also responsible for scheduling the court’s interpreting needs for civil and criminal court proceedings.

Paid Interpreters

The court utilizes interpreting agencies and individual interpreters to ensure an availability of qualified and diverse interpreting services designed to meet our customers’ specific needs.

Bilingual Personnel

 The court has six bilingual Spanish speaking staff members and staff members who speak Portuguese, Italian, Hindi, Urdu and Bengali. These staff members are available to assist customers on the telephone, at the court service counter and in our courtrooms at the initial appearance or arraignment stage of case processing. Our staff members do not provide language assistance to LEP individuals beyond the arraignment stage of case unless it becomes necessary to advise the customer of an inability to proceed due in the rare instance that the interpreter becomes unavailable.

Indirect Assistance:

Telephone

The court’s main line auto-attendant directs Spanish speaking callers to a specific line that is answered by bilingual personnel proficient in Spanish.

Internet

The Court provides access to Spanish versions of the English forms available on its website and publishes a website link from court’s website to the Supreme Court’s Spanish translated webpage for court forms and instructions.

http://www.gilbertaz.gov/departments/court/forms

http://www.azcourts.gov/elcentrodeautoservicio/FormulariosdeAutoservicio.aspx

Texting (Mobile Devices)

The court maintains and monitors an e-mail address dedicated to receiving and responding to SMS (text) messages originating from hearing/speech impaired customers using mobile devices. SMS (text) messages can be sent to gilbertmunicipalcourt@gilbertaz.gov

Training Court Personnel

Acknowledging that preparation and education are paramount to executing a meaningful plan all court personnel are instructed about the court’s LAP plan and how to implement the plan as necessary to serve our customers at new employee orientation and at a minimum every two years. Instructional topics include:

  1. The LAP plan itself and its history
  2. Court policy and procedure concerning access.
  3. Specific assistive measures
  4. How to use the Census Bureau’s “I Speak…” multi-language identification handout
  5. AOC’s Language Access in the Courtroom Training DVD (4/2014)

Providing notice to LEP individuals

Notice is provided through the court’s main line telephone auto attendant, web page, bond card and signage within the court facility and by court personnel when an LEP individual is identified.

Complaints

If an LAP court customer believes meaningful access to the courts was not provided to them, they may choose to file a complaint with the court’s Court Administrator, or designee. The complaint form is available online.

Questions or comments concerning this LAP plan should be directed to:

Court Administration

Gilbert Municipal Court

55 East Civic Center Drive, STE 101

Gilbert, AZ 85296

(480) 635-7843 Voice

(480) 635-7820 Fax, mailto:Adam.Walterson@gilbertaz.gov

AOC Language Access Contact:

Carol Mitchell, Court Access Specialist

Court Services Division
Administrative Office of the Courts
1501 W. Washington Street, Suite 410
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 452-3965, cmitchell@courts.az.gov

 English Complaint Form

 Spanish Complaint Form

Monitoring and updating the plan

The Gilbert Municipal Court will routinely assess whether changes to the LAP are needed. The plan may be changed or updated at any time but reviewed not less frequently than biennially.

Every 2 years the court’s Court Administrator will review the effectiveness of the court’s LAP and update it as necessary. The evaluation will include identification of any problem areas and development of corrective action strategies. From time to time, the court may consider using a survey sampling of data collection for a limited time perior which involves assessing language access requests to assist in the evaluation of the LAP.

LAP Effective Date: June 18, 2014

Approved by:

John E. Hudson, Presiding Judge, Date: June 18, 2014

Adam Walterson, Court Administrator, Date: June 18, 2014