Champaign County Circuit Court
Honorable Thomas J. Difanis, Presiding Judge

Policy on Access for Persons with Disabilities

Introduction

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal civil rights statute for individuals with disabilities, requires all state and local governmental entities, including the courts, to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities to ensure equal access to court activities, programs, and services (programs). The Champaign County Circuit Court (Court) has adopted the following policy and procedures to ensure reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services to persons with disabilities who wish to participate in Court programs.

Policy

It is the policy of the Court to ensure that communications with and accommodations for individuals with disabilities and without disabilities are equally effective, consistent with the requirements of Title II of the ADA. Whenever necessary, the Court will provide, free of charge, the appropriate auxiliary aids and services to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from any court program. This policy applies to all members of the public who seek to participate in the Court's programs.

Services and Accomodations

Auxiliary aids and services include a wide range of services and devices that promote effective communication with persons with disabilities. Examples of auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities include qualified sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices, and real-time transcription services. The Court may also provide any other reasonable accommodation necessary to permit a person with impairments or disabilities to fully and equally participate in or to observe court programs.

Notice That Accomodations Are Available

The Court Disability Coordinator (CDC) shall provide notice that appropriate accommodations are available to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in court programs by posting the following Notice of Accomodation Availability in the Champaign County Circuit Clerk's office.

NOTICE OF ACCOMMODATION AVAILABILITY

DO YOU NEED ACCOMMODATION FOR A DISABILITY?

Hearing, Visual, and other assistance can be arranged

Contact the Court Disability Coordinator:

It is the policy of the Champaign County Circuit Court that

  • communications with individuals with disabilities are as effective as communications with individuals without disabilities;
  • individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from all Court activities.

If you require accommodations, auxiliary aids, or other services in order to participate in court activities, please make your request to the Court Disability Coordinator.

Requests shall be made in writing on forms provided by the Court.

Copies of the following documents are available upon request in the Champaign County Circuit Clerk’s Office:

Request for Accommodations

The CDC shall provide a Request for Accommodations Form to individuals who wish to request services or accommodations for persons with disabilities. The Request for Accommodations Form shall be available in the Champaign County Circuit Clerk's office.

Whenever possible, a request for accommodation or services shall be made fourteen (14) days in advance of the proceeding or program. The request shall be as specific as possible and include a description of the accommodation sought and the date the accommodation is needed. The request shall be mailed to the Champaign County Court Disability Coordinator. The Champaign County Court Disability Coordinator shall respond in writing, and, where appropriate, in a format accessible to the requestor, within seven (7) days from the date the request was received.

The CDC will give "primary consideration" to the request of individuals with disabilities. "Primary consideration" means that the Court will honor the choice of the individual, unless it demonstrates that another equally effective accommodation is available, or that the requested accommodation would result in a fundamental alteration of court activities or undue financial and administrative burdens.

Grievance Procedures

Individuals have the right to file a grievance when they believe the Court and its employees have not complied with the provisions of this policy or the request for accommodations procedure. The grievance shall be filed within seven (7) days after the person filing the complaint becomes aware of the action or inaction. A complaint shall be in writing, using the Court's grievance form. The grievance shall contain the name and address of the person filing the complaint, and briefly describe the alleged violation. The complaint may be mailed or e-mailed to the attention of the Presiding Judge.

Within seven (7) days after receipt of a grievance, the Presiding Judge or a designee may meet with the grievant, either in person or by telephone, to discuss the complaint and possible resolutions, if the Presiding Judge or designee determines such a meeting would be helpful to a determination. Within seven (7) days after the meeting, or within fourteen (14) days after receipt of the complaint if there is no meeting, the CDC shall respond in writing, and, where appropriate, in a format accessible to the grievant.

If the response by the Presiding Judge does not resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the grievant, the grievant may, within seven (7) days of the date of the Presiding Judge's written response, appeal the decision to the Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, c/o the Administrative Assistant, at the mail or e-mail address provided: Jeff Waite, Administrative Assistant, Moultrie County Courthouse, 10 South Main Street, Suite 12, Sullivan, Illinois 61951 or jwaite550@me.com. Any appeal shall be in writing. Within fourteen (14) days after receipt of the appeal, the Chief Judge will respond in writing to the grievant with a final resolution of the grievance or complaint.

This policy is effective immediately.

Adopted the 26th day of October, 2016

Thomas J. Difanis, Presiding Judge
Chammpaign County Circuit Court