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States Ranked on Court Accessibility

November 25, 2014
Source: Disability Scoop

A new ranking finds that access to the courts for people with disabilities varies significantly from one state to the next.

In a review of court websites, statutes and regulations from each state, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota and Tennessee all achieved perfect scores when it comes to legal access for those with disabilities.

Meanwhile, Indiana came in dead last, with Idaho, Missouri, Wyoming and Georgia also filling out the rankings bottom five.

The Justice Index, put together by the National Center for Access to Justice with the aid of law firms and law students at the University of Pennsylvania and the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, looks at how accessible courts are across the country for people with disabilities and other underserved groups.

States were graded based on how many legal aid attorneys were available and if information about how to request accommodations or file a complaint was readily available on the state judiciarys website.

The ranking also factored whether laws in each state addressed service dogs in court and if those with disabilities could be charged for sign-language interpreters, among other issues.

Overall, three-quarters of states specify that service animals should be allowed in court and 71 percent of states provide information on their websites about how to request accommodations, the Justice Index found.

Whats more, most states prohibit charging those who are deaf for interpreter services, though just a third give preference to interpreters with training specific to legal settings, according to the review.

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