ADA Information En Espanol
Statement of Grievance
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (in Microsoft Word)
Americans with Disabilites Act of 1990 (in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format)
Uniform Accomodation Form Version 3 (in Microsoft Word)
Uniform Accomodation Form Version 3 (in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format)
REQUEST FOR ACCOMMODATIONS
BY PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in a court proceeding or event, you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact Cheryl Alfonso, 302 Fleming Street, Key West, Florida, 33040, (305) 292-3423, at least 7 days before your scheduled court appearance, or immediately upon receiving this notification if the time before the scheduled appearance is less than 7 days: if you are hearing or voice impaired call 711.
In evaluating requests for accommodations by court participants, the State Courts System relies upon the following current definition of disability contained in the Americans with Disabilities Act as interpreted by controlling case law:
An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.
To fully and fairly evaluate a request for accommodations, it may be necessary for the court to require the individual to provide documentation with regard to the impairment, including a statement from a qualified health care provider that identifies the individual's functional limitations and describes how the requested accommodation addresses those limitations.
The Florida State Courts System will generally, upon request, attempt to provide appropriate aids and services to afford effective communication for qualified persons with disabilities to participate equally in court programs, services and activities.
Examples of auxiliary aids or services that the State Courts System may provide for qualified individuals with disabilities may include:
- Assistive listening devices
- Qualified sign language interpreters and oral interpreters
- Real-time transcription services
- Accessible formats such as large print, Braille, on diskette, or audio tapes
- Qualified readers
Examples of aids or services the State Courts System is not required to provide under Title II of the ADA include:
- Transportation to the courthouse
- Legal counsel or advice
- Personal devices such as a wheelchair or hearing aid
- Personal services such as medical or attendant care
Additionally, courts cannot administratively grant requests for extension of time, change of venue, or participation in court proceedings by telephone or videoconferencing as an ADA accommodation. Requests for ADA accommodations that impact court procedures within a specific case must be submitted by written motion to the presiding judge. The judge may consider an individual disability, along with other relevant factors, in granting or denying the motion.
Furthermore, the court cannot exceed the law in granting a request for an accommodation. For example, the court cannot extend the statute of limitations for filing an action because someone claims that he or she could not make it to the court on time due to a disability. The ADA does not require the court system to take any action that would fundamentally alter the nature of court programs, services, or activities, or that would impose an undue financial or administrative burden.
GUIDELINES ON COURTROOM ACCOMMODATIONS FOR ATTORNEYS
Real-Time Court Reporting Services for Attorneys with Disabilities:
Real-time court reporting services will be provided at court expense in county and circuit court criminal trials for attorneys who are deaf or hard of hearing. The provision of real-time court reporting services in other county and circuit court criminal proceedings, in which the court is already providing court reporting services to comply with constitutional requirements, will be considered on a case-by-base basis.
The court system has an obligation to take action in those areas, when necessary, to attempt to afford effective participation in court proceedings by attorneys with disabilities.
Examples of modifications to court policies and procedures and adjustments to facilities that the court may consider for an attorney with a disability in the courtroom setting include:
- Conducting oral arguments, trials, and hearings in accessible facilities, including relocation of a court proceeding if necessary;
- Adjusting schedules of court proceedings, including frequency and length of breaks;
- Where they are available, making the court
- Assistive Listening Devices available to attorneys who are hard of hearing;
- Allowing attorneys with disabilities to have advance access to the courtroom to familiarize themselves with the space, set up their assistive technology, arrange placement of their sign language interpreter or real-time court reporter, or make other appropriate disability-related preparations; and
- Permitting an attorney with a disability to be accompanied by an assistant, attendant or service animal.
PROCESS FOR REQUESTING ACCOMMODATIONS PURSUANT TO TITLE II OF THE ADA IS AS FOLLOWS:
- Requests for accommodations should be made as far in advance as possible but preferably at least five working days before the date of the scheduled event.
- Requests for accommodations may be presented either orally or in written format. Requests for accommodations must include a description of the accommodation requested, along with a description of the individual's disability that necessitates the accommodation.
- Requests should be forwarded to the local court ADA coordinator. In the 16th Circuit that is Cheryl Alfonso, 302 Fleming Street, Key West, FL 33040, Telephone: 305-295-3652.
- If the request is originally presented to a judge or judge office, the judge shall confer with the court ADA coordinator.
- The judge, court ADA coordinator, or other court representative, as appropriate to the circumstances, may engage in an interactive process with the individual to discuss options and determine the appropriate accommodations.
- Communications between the individual and the court ADA coordinator should be limited to the request for accommodations. Individuals with disabilities must refrain from attempting to discuss with the court ADA coordinator the merits of their case.
- After analysis, the judge, court ADA coordinator, or other court representative, as appropriate to the circumstances, will inform the individual whether the request for accommodation is granted or denied as well as the nature of the accommodation to be provided, if any.
Each trial and appellate court in Florida has established grievance procedures that allow for the resolution of complaints without resorting to federal complaint procedures. Those procedures may be used by anyone who wishes to file a complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of services, activities, programs, or benefits by the Florida State Courts System.
For further information about state court grievance procedures, please contact the local court ADA coordinator, the marshal of the applicable appellate court, the court administrator of the applicable trial court, or the ADA coordinator, Office of the State Courts Administrator, 500 S. Duval Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1900; telephone 850-922-5081; fax 850-488-0156; email email@example.com.