Improvements to Court Access Sought

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, February 27, 2006

Rosemary Reposar speaks pretty good English, but the Fillipino domestic violence victim says language was still a barrier when she faced her attacker in court: 

 “having an interpreter in the courtroom was very much comforting, and perhaps feeling like I could rely on.”

Interpreters are not required in many civil cases – and legislation by Democratic Assemblyman Dave Jones would change that, he says: 

“People who need the assistance of our courts the most are deprived access to justice because they can’t access the court, they can’t speak the language that allows them to communicate effectively or have the court communicate to them.”

Jones also proposes funding for self-help services to aid those with no attorney in navigating the system, and a program by which attorneys would assist the funding of legal aid organizations.  Jones says he’s not sure yet how much it would all cost…but he has some bipartisan support. Republican Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi of Lodi is a co-author of the court interpreter bill.