Woman claims judge denied her an interpreter during hearing
June 26, 2019 11:40 AM
UPDATE: A District Court judge has reversed the Metropolitan Court's ruling in this matter.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— An Albuquerque woman, who is deaf, claims a local judge broke the law by refusing to provide her with an interpreter.
Selene Alverio was in court for allegedly not paying her rent.
Judge Daniel Ramcyzk, who is now a District Court judge, heard the case in Metro Court in 2017.
Judge Ramcyzk suggested that an interpreter wasn’t necessary.
“You have stated that you want some sort of sign interpreter,” the judge said. “It is clear to this court, and I've been doing this many, many years, that you understand me and I understand you."
The ACLU is filing a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice on Alverio’s behalf, accusing Judge Ramczyk and Metro Court of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Alverio said while she is able to read lips and hear some things, it’s still beneficial for her to have an interpreter in court.
“There's a lot of people engaged in the conversation,” she said. “It can be very difficult to focus on what's going on.”
Judge Ramcyzk ruled in favor of Alverio’s landlord during the hearing after she repeatedly asked for an interpreter.
“Alright, so, I'm going to find that $675— I'm going to go ahead and enter the judgement,” the judge said. “It's clear to this court that Ms. Alverio has no intention of providing evidence to this court but is here instead to delay the proceedings. You can't do that ma'am."
Judge Ramcyzk declined to comment about the allegations because the original case is under appeal.
However, a court spokesperson said, “The Metropolitan Court is committed to providing access to justice and making reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. As this matter is currently on appeal, the court cannot comment on pending litigation.”
The complaint requests for the judge and Metro Court staff to undergo additional training to make sure they are ADA compliant.
Updated: June 26, 2019 11:40 AM
Created: June 25, 2019 05:59 PM
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