- Legal Basis and Purpose This document serves as the plan for the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court (PCCJC) 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 PCCJC.
- Needs Assessment
- Pima County Consolidated Justice Court
- Language Assistance Resources
- Interpreters Used in the Courtroom
- Providing Interpreters in the Courtroom
- Determining the Need for an Interpreter in the Courtroom
- AOC Interpretation Resources
- Language Services Outside the Courtroom
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.
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 2014):
The PCCJC is responsible to provide services identified in this plan to all LEP persons. However, the following list shows the foreign languages that are most frequently used in this court's geographic area:
In the PCCJC, court interpreters will be provided in all courtroom proceedings at no cost to all LEP witnesses, litigants, victims, parents, guardians, and family members of minor witnesses, victims, and/or litigants; as well as any other person whose presence or participation is necessary or appropriate as determined by the judicial officer.
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.
The PCCJC may determine whether a court customer has limited English proficiency. Identification of language needs at the earliest point of contact is highly recommended. The need for a court interpreter may be identified prior to a court proceeding by the LEP person or on the LEP person's behalf by counter staff, initial appearance clerks or outside justice partners such as the probation officers, attorneys, social workers or pretrial services. Once it is determined that a court interpreter is needed for a LEP individual, the court clerk will enter the appropriate language into the court's case management system. The court's interpreters receive a daily calendar (Calendared Interpreter Cases) that identifies the language needs for upcoming calendar events based on the entries into the case management system.
Signage throughout the court building indicating interpreter services are available may also help to identify LEP individuals. The PCCJC displays signs in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Arabic at the following locations:
Near the calendar display monitors located on the first, second, fourth and fifth floors.
The need for an interpreter also may be made known in the courtroom at the time of the proceeding. In a case where the court is mandated to provide an interpreter, but one is not available at the time of the proceeding, even after the court has made all reasonable efforts to locate one, as previously outlined in this plan, the case will be postponed and continued on a date when an interpreter can be provided.
Court Interpreter Registry and Listserv
The AOC maintains a statewide roster of individuals who indicate they have interpreting experience and have expressed interest in working in the courts. The court using interpreting services will determine the competence of the persons listed. This roster is available to court staff on the Internet at http://www.interpreters.courts.az.gov.
Additionally, AOC created a statewide listserv to allow courts to communicate via email on court interpreter-related matters. The listserv is an excellent resource to locate referrals for specific language needs. Access codes and instructions to join the listserv, may be obtained from the AOC language access contact person.
Video Remote Interpreting
The AOC has installed video conferencing equipment at the State Courts building that will allow courts with compatible technology to remotely conference an interpreter from the Phoenix metro area or from another court jurisdiction into their court to improve resource allocation and reduce time and costs associated with interpreter travel. Contact the AOC LAP contact for more information on VRI connectivity and checklist for court proceedings most appropriate for video.
The PCCJC is also responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure that LEP individuals have meaningful access to all court services and programs outside the courtroom. Court services and programs include but are not limited to self-help centers, clerk offices, intake officers, cashiers, and records room.
1. Assistance to Understand Court Procedures and Policies
Services offered by the court generally to English-speaking customers pursuant to the Employee Code of Conduct (ACJA § 1-303) must also be provided to LEP litigants in their
2. Assistance to Fill-out Court Forms and Pleadings
The PCCJC will assist in the filling-out of court forms for those LEP court customers who are unable to do so either by themselves or with the assistance of another competent adult proficient in English and able to render assistance in a timely manner. This assistance for LEP court customers may take various forms:
a. Engaging an interpreter (in person or remotely) to interpret between a court staff person and the court customer, thus allowing the court staff person to transcribe verbatim the customer's answers to form questions. In this instance, a notation should be added to the form indicating to the court how the information on the form was obtained, thereby allowing the creation of an oral record in open court confirming the form's content matches the LEP person's intended meaning. Whenever possible, the court staff person transcribing onto the form should not be the same staff person accepting the filing.
b. Engaging a court staff interpreter to assist the LEP person to complete the form by writing a complete and accurate English translation of the LEP person's answers to form questions. In this instance, a notation should be added to the form indicating to the court how the information on the form was obtained thereby allowing the creation of an oral record in open court confirming the form's content matches the LEP person's intended meaning. Whenever possible, the staff interpreter translating information onto the form should not be the same interpreter assisting the LEP person in court during a hearing.
c. Waiving the requirement that a form be filed, where appropriate. In this instance the LEP person should be taken into the courtroom, sworn, and examined to create an oral record of what would otherwise have been filed in writing via the form. If necessary, that record can then be transcribed verbatim into the corresponding form fields. A notation should be added to the form indicating how the information on it was obtained.
3. Court-ordered Services and Programs
The court also is responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure that LEP individuals have meaningful access to all court-ordered services and programs. Court-ordered services and program include but is not limited to mediation, treatment or educational programs provided by a court employee or a private vendor under contract with the court. Contracts with vendors that provide direct services to court users must include the requirement that the vendor provide language services, including interpreters, for all LEP individuals.
The court uses the following resources to facilitate communication with LEP individuals and court staff or providers of court-ordered services:
- Staff court interpreters and independent per diem interpreters
- Bilingual employees
- "I Speak" cards, to identify the individual's primary language (attached)
- Multilingual signage throughout courthouse locations in Spanish, English, Vietnamese and Arabic
- Telephonic interpreter services through Languageline
- An interactive voice response (IVR) telephone system with key instructions and court services provided in Spanish and English
- Public Website with frequently asked information translated into Spanish
- Cards for front counter staff the state in Spanish "I do not speak Spanish, someone who does will help you in a moment"
- Slides in Spanish informing customers how to request an interpreter placed multiple times throughout the lobby power point slideshow
- Video remote interpreting services, where available
To provide linguistically accessible services for LEP individuals, the PCCJC provides the following:
- Website link from court's website to the Supreme Court's Spanish translated webpage for court forms and instructions
- The court's LAP and complaint form are available online in Spanish and English
The PCCJC also shall ensure that court appointed or supervised personnel, including but not limited to child advocates, guardians ad litem, court psychologists and doctors provide language services, including interpreters as part of their service delivery system to LEP individuals.
The Arizona courts understand the importance of translating forms and documents so that LEP individuals have greater access to the courts' services. The PCCJC currently uses forms and instructional materials translated into Spanish.
The Court has translated the following documents into Spanish:
- Payment contracts
- Emergency eviction resource list for tenants
- Uniform conditions of supervised probation
- Change of Address
- Notice of Civil Traffic Trial
- Civil Answer
- Eviction Summons and Complaint
- Extension Form
- Bond Card
- Fingerprint Instructions Form
- Special Event flyers (Warrant Resolution Court and Night Court)
These documents are available in the courtroom and front counter at 240 N Stone Ave., Tucson AZ 85701 and at www.jp.pima.gov and http://www.azcourts.gov/elcentrodeautoservicio/Home.aspx.
- Sight Translation
The court will provide assistance so LEP persons may understand court-issued documents provided in English through sight translation or other reasonable means.
Sight translation of court-issued forms, instructions, and other vital documents should be performed by a qualified court interpreter. In the event one is not available, or if the document does not lend itself to sight translation due to its length, complexity, or legibility, other reasonable means may be employed to ensure meaningful access for the LEP person. These include, but are not limited to the following:
a. Explanation of the contents of the document by a competent bilingual court employee;
b. Engaging a remote interpreting service to relay a court staff member's explanation of the document's contents;
c. Submission of the document for a timely written translation, as appropriate.
The PCCJC website, http://www.jp.pima.gov, has a notice posted in Spanish on the home page regarding the availability of language services, as follows:
- AVISO - Servicios de interpretación
Si usted no habla ingles y necesita realizar negocios en el tribunal puede solicitar un interprete para ayudarle. Si necesita interprete, favor de Hamar al (520)724-3171.
- The PCCJC website also has a hyperlink to the Arizona Supreme Court's Spanish-translated webpage at http://www.azcourts.gov/elcentrodeautoservicio/FormulariosdeAutoservicio.aspx
- Recruitment of Bilingual Staff for Language Access
The PCCJC is an equal opportunity employer and recruits and hires bilingual staff to serve its LEP constituents. Primary examples include but are not limited to:
- Court interpreter serves as permanent employee of the court;
- Created a library of resources for court and per diem interpreters;
- Bilingual staff to serve at public counters and the court's call center; and
- Bilingual staff available on call to assist with contacts from LEP individuals, as needed.
The court has created an internship program for students of Pima Community College. The interns provide voluntary interpreter services to the court's LEP customers.
The PCCJC is committed to providing language access training opportunities for all judicial officers and staff members. Training and learning opportunities currently offered will be expanded or continued as needed. Those opportunities include:
- Diversity Training;
- Cultural competency training;
- LAP training;
- New employee orientation training;
- Judicial officer orientation on the use of court interpreters and language competency provided by the AOC;
- The court’s full time interpreter is a member of ACIA which provides quarterly continuous educational training; and
- Mandatory Title VI training for all court employees
To communicate with the court's LEP constituents on various legal issues of importance to the community and to make them aware of services available to all language speakers, the PCCJC provides community outreach and education and seeks input from its LEP constituency to further improve services. Outreach and education efforts include:
- In partnership with Pima Community College
to provide information regarding access to court
services at the annual bilingual fair
- The court's full time interpreter forms part
of the Translations Studies Program Advisory
Committee which make recommendations how to best
reach and serve the LEP community
- In collaboration with the City of Tucson, the court participates on the City of Tucson Oral Interpretation Services Written/ Audio Translation & Transcriptions Services to provide the LEP community adequate interpreter services
New public-facing videos designed to assist litigants or the public more broadly shall be in English and Spanish. The PCCJC will take reasonable steps to translate the customer service lobby powerpoint into Spanish within the next 12 months. Those videos, webinars, and instructional materials currently in existence which are deemed to be "vital" shall be made available in Spanish. Currently, the PCCJC does not have videos or webinars. The court will determine whether any existing instructional materials should be made available in languages other than English and Spanish by considering the Department of Justice's fourfactor analysis.
If an LEP court customer believes meaningful access to the courts was not provided to them, they may choose to file a complaint with the court's Language Access Plan Coordinator. If a complaint is filed, the Court Administrator will respond to any complaint within 30 days and the records will be maintained as public records.
- The complaint may be filed as follows:
- In writing
- The Court has attached the complaint form (English/Spanish) to the LAP which is available at www.jp.pima.gov
- The court will ensure that translated versions of the complaint form are available in multiple locations, including, but not limited to:
- Forms posted on the court's website, and
- Hard copy forms available at the counters.
- LAP Approval and Notification
- Annual Evaluation of the LAP
The PCCJC's LAP is approved by the presiding judge and court executive officer. Upon approval, please forward a copy to the AOC Court Services Division. Any revisions to the plan will be submitted to the presiding judge and court executive officer for approval, and then forwarded to the AOC. Copies of PCCJC's LAP will be provided to the public on request. Copies of the PCCJC's LAP are available on our website at www.jp.pima.gov and will be provided to the public on request.
The PCCJC 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 once per year.
Every year the court's Deputy 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.
Elements of the evaluation will include:
- Number of LEP persons requesting court interpreters and language assistance;
- Assessment of current language needs to determine if additional services or translated materials should be provided;
- Assessment of whether court staff adequately understand LEP policies and procedures and how to carry them out;
- Review of feedback from court employee training sessions; and,
- Customer satisfaction feedback as indicated on the access fairness survey, if administered by the court during this time period.
- Review any language access complaints received during this time period.
Micci Tilton, Deputy Court Administrator
240 N. Stone Ave.
Tucson AZ 85701
Court Services Division
Administrative Office of the Courts
1501 W. Washington Street, Suite 410
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 452-3965, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Bacal, Chief Administrative Judge