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The CNMI Judiciary is committed to providing equal access consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and other local and federal laws. If you have a disability that may restrict your ability to meaningfully participate in court proceedings, programs, activities, or services, we will provide you with reasonable and appropriate accommodations at no cost to you.

ADA Accommodations

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.

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

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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. If you need an accommodation for a disability when participating in a court program, service, or activity, please contact the ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator Kelsey G. Aldan as far in advance as possible to allow us adequately prepare the needed accommodation.

 

You are also welcome to send an e-mail to Kelsey.George@nmijudiciary.com; or complete the Disability Accommodation Request Form. The ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator will try to provide, but cannot guarantee, the requested auxiliary aid, service, or accommodation.

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 activities, 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.

What kinds of accommodations are available?

Accommodations may include:

  • making reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures (such as alternative time schedules, telephone conferences, telephone appearances, elimination of distractions, rest breaks, presentation of information in an alternative format)

  • relocation of a service or program to an accessible site

  • providing auxiliary aids and services (qualified interpreters)

 

Required accommodations do not include:

  • attorney services or legal research and advice

  • personal equipment or services such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, personal attendant care, transportation or lodging

  • accommodations that impair the neutrality or functioning of the court, such as continuing matters indefinitely.

How do I get an accommodation?

 

You must notify the court or program that you need a disability related accommodation and suggest the accommodation that best suits your situation. If you need an accommodation for a disability when participating in a court program, service, or activity, please contact the ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator as far in advance as possible to allow time to provide an accommodation.

You are also welcome to send an e-mail to Kelsey.George@nmijudiciary.com; or complete the Disability Accommodation Request Form. The ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator will try to provide, but cannot guarantee, the requested auxiliary aid, service, or accommodation. Requests for accommodations may be oral or in writing. You may be asked to complete a Request for Accommodation Form so the court can have a full understanding of your request.

If you are unable to fill out the form, you may request a clerk or other court personnel to assist you in writing down the information. The ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator will act as the facilitator for your request. In most circumstances you will not need to provide additional medical information, but the court may request supporting documents in order to make a decision.

Sometimes the ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator and/or court clerk do not have the authority to grant or deny the request for accommodation. For example, a request to continue a hearing or appear by telephone should be directed to the judge who is in charge of the case. The clerk or ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator may request that you file a motion with the court rather than fill out the request for accommodation form.

Do I need to provide verification of my disability?

A request or motion for accommodation that includes a description of the nature of your disability, e.g., loss of hearing, is generally sufficient, and it is not necessary to submit documentation of the disability. However, you may be asked to provide additional information if the nature of the disability is not clear or if it is necessary to determine an appropriate accommodation.

How do I request a sign language interpreter?

 

You may request a sign language interpreter by contacting the LEP Coordinator assigned to the building where your court proceeding, activity, or program is scheduled. If you need an accommodation for a disability when participating in a court program, service, or activity, please contact the LEP Coordinator as far in advance as possible to allow time to provide an accommodation.

 

You are also welcome to send an e-mail to Vivian.Delacruz@nmijudiciary.com; or complete the Disability Accommodation Request Form. The LEP Coordinator will try to provide, but cannot guarantee, the requested auxiliary aid, service, or accommodation. 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.

May I bring a Service Animal?

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 proceedings, facilities, activities, services, and programs. With very limited exceptions, only dogs qualify as service animals. Service dogs are sometimes used to guide a blind person, alert a deaf person to sounds, assist a person during a seizure, or pick up things for a person with mobility limitations. Under the ADAAA, a service dog must be individually trained to perform tasks that relate directly to the disability in order to qualify as a service dog. The provision of emotional support or comfort is not covered by this definition. 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? The Judiciary may exclude any service dog 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 service dog that is not housebroken (for example, a dog that urinates on the floor). You are not required to notify the court in advance if you use a service dog.

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When should I ask for an accommodation?

If you need an accommodation for a disability when participating in a court program, service, or activity, please contact the ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator as far in advance as possible to allow time to provide an accommodation.

You are also welcome to send an e-mail to Kelsey.George@nmijudiciary.com; or complete the Disability Accommodation Request Form. The ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator will try to provide, but cannot guarantee, the requested auxiliary aid, service, or accommodation

May the court deny my request for an accommodation?

The court is required to find an accommodation that will effectively allow full participation in the court proceedings, program, or activity. Determining an appropriate accommodation requires an interactive process between you and the ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator during which your input and suggestions are welcome and important. However, the accommodation provided may not necessarily be your first choice. 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. 

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

The court is required to find an accommodation that will effectively allow full participation in the court proceedings, program, or activity. Determining an appropriate accommodation requires an interactive process between you and the ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator during which your input and suggestions are welcome and important. However, the accommodation provided may not necessarily be your first choice. 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. 

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

You may fill out a complaint form available from the ADA Contact Person/Complaint Coordinator assigned to the building where your court proceeding or program is scheduled.

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.