TWENTIETH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT COURT
ST. CLAIR COUNTY, ILLINOIS
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
GOVERNING COURT ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Policy Statement
It is the policy of this Court to assure that qualified individuals with disabilities have
equal and full access to the judicial system including Court proceedings, services,
programs, and activities. This Court is proactive in providing equal access for people
with disabilities whether they are jurors, parties, attorneys, witnesses, guardians of
minors, spectators, or other interested persons. Nothing in this policy shall be
construed to impose limitations or to invalidate the remedies, rights, and procedures
accorded to any qualified individuals with disabilities under state or federal law.
There is no charge for any service provided.
Section I - Requests for Accommodation
A. Definitions
The following definitions shall apply under this section:
1. "Qualified individuals with disabilities" means persons covered by the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.) and other
related state and federal laws; and includes individuals who have a physical or mental
impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities; have a
record of such an impairment; or are regarded as having such an impairment. Persons
with temporary impairments generally are not considered to have a disability.
2. "Applicant" means any lawyer, party, witness, juror, spectator, or any
other individual with an interest in attending any proceeding of any Court in this
Circuit.
3. "Accommodations(s)" may include, but are not limited to, making
reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures; furnishing, at no
charge to the qualified individuals with disabilities, auxiliary aids and services, which
are not limited to equipment, devices, materials in alternative formats, and qualified
interpreters or readers; and making each service, program or activity, when viewed in
its entirety, readily accessible to and usable by qualified individuals with disabilities
requesting accommodations. Individuals who use service animals also have the right
to be accompanied by a service dog or a service dog in training. While not requiring
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that each existing facility be accessible, this standard, know as "program
accessibility", must be provided by methods including alteration of existing facilities,
acquisition or construction of additional facilities, acquisition or construction of
additional facilities, relocation of a service or program to an accessible facility, or
provision of services at alternate sites.
4. The term "section" means requests for accommodations in the Courts of
the Twentieth Judicial Circuit by qualified individuals with disabilities.
B. Court Initiatives for Those with Special Needs
Among the many possible accommodations the Court will provide to qualified
individuals, the Court provides assisted listening devices for the courtroom. In
addition, whenever a deaf person is a party to any legal proceedings, chosen as a
juror, or called as a witness, the Court will appoint a qualified, certified interpreter of
sign language to interpret the proceedings. If the deaf person does not understand
sign language, the Court will seek to provide other accommodations. In the case of a
deaf juror, the interpreter shall be available throughout the actual trial and may
accompany and communicate with such juror throughout any period during which the
jury is deliberating.
C. Process
Use the request form or submit a similar request to the coordinator to request a
reasonable modification, auxiliary aids and services and/or physical access. If there
are any questions please feel free to call the Court Disability Coordinator (CDC) at
618-825-2550 or 618-825-2557.
1. Requests for accommodation(s) pursuant to this rule may be presented
ex parte (i.e., done on behalf of one party only and without notice to an opposing
party) in writing to the Court or to the Court Disability Coordinator or in person as
the Court may allow.
2. An applicant may make ex parte communications with the Court.
Representation or presence of an attorney is not required. Such communications shall
deal only with the accommodations(s) the applicant's disability requires and shall not
deal in any manner with the subject matter or merits of the proceedings before the
Court. Any judge, clerk, arbitration coordinator or other court individual who
receives a request for accommodation pursuant to this rule shall forward the request
to the Court Disability Coordinator for processing within three (3) days.
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3. All requests for accommodations may be on the form supplied by the
Courts. Forms may be accessed at the County Law Library on the First Floor of the
Courthouse or from the Court Disability Coordinator. Upon request, the form can be
made available in an alternative format or assistance can be provided to help fill out
the form. An alternative method of request will be accepted. The request shall
include the full name, address and contact information of the person making the
request. The date of the proceeding, case number, and whether it is a civil or criminal
case should be included. A description of the accommodation sought, along with a
statement of the impairment that necessitates such accommodation should be
included. The Court may require the applicant to provide additional information
about the qualifying impairment.
4. Applications should be made as far in advance of the requested
implementation date as possible and in any event should be made no less than ten
(10) court days prior to the requested implementation date. The Court Disability
Coordinator may waive this requirement for good cause.
5. The Court Disability Coordinator will be responsible for maintaining the
requests for auxiliary aids and services. This information will be confidential and
kept in a secure location separate from court files.
D. Grant of Accommodation
The Court Disability Coordinator will grant an accommodation as follows:
1. In determining whether to grant an accommodation and what
accommodation to grant, the coordinator shall consider, but is not limited by, the
provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and related state and
federal laws.
2. The Coordinator may grant accommodations for a particular appearance,
for all appearances for a party or for indefinite periods of time.
3. The applicant will be informed of the decision whether the request for
accommodations is granted or denied, in whole or in part, and the nature of the
accommodation(s) to be provided, if any. It is possible the proceeding will need to be
rescheduled to a date the auxiliary aids and services can be provided if approved. All
parties shall be promptly informed of any schedule changes.
E. Denial of Accommodation/Grievance Procedure
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An application may be denied if the Court Disability Coordinator finds that:
1. The applicant has failed to satisfy the requirements of this policy; or
2. The requested accommodations(s) would create an undue financial or
administrative burden on the Court; or
3. The requested accommodation(s) would fundamentally alter the nature
of the service, program or Court related activity.
4. If the Court Disability Coordinator denies the request or the decision is
to provide an alternative service other than the service requested, the person making
the request can appeal the decision or file a grievance complaint to the Chief Judge
within ten (10) days of the response. All appeals or grievances shall be sent to the
Office of the Chief Judge, St. Clair County Court House, #10 Public Square,
Belleville, IL 62220. The grievance and appeal form is available from the office of
the Chief Judge. Alternative means of filing a complaint, such as a tape recording of
the complaint, will be made available for a person with a disability upon request.
5, The Chief Judge, or a person or persons appointed by the Chief Judge,
shall review the appeal or the grievance and advise the applicant in writing of the
determination. If the individual making the request appeals the decisions or files a
grievance, the Court Disability Coordinator shall forward the initial request for
accommodations and any attachments or other information to the Chief Judge for the
review as part of the process.
F. Mailing Address and Contract Information for the Court Disability
Coordinators
Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court Disability Coordinator
St. Clair County Court House
#10 Public Square
Belleville, IL 62220
618-825-2550
618-825-2558
mary.berneking@co.st-clair.il.us
alma.funk@co.st-clair.il.us