Colorado Courts to Offer Free Interpreters

By Don Knox and Ali McNally, LAW WEEK COLORADO
Posted on 29 June 2011

Colorado’s courts must begin offering free interpreters for all court proceedings as part of agreement with the U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday.

The courts also must submit to a three-year monitoring program examine many aspects of services it provides to persons with “limited English deficiency.” An amended directive issued today by Chief Justice Michael Bender resolves complaints that Colorado courts were not complying with federal laws that prohibit discrimination.

The DOJ began its investigation of Colorado judicial after an individual filed a complaint with the agency in 2004, said judicial spokesman Rob McCallum. He didn’t know who the individual was, but noted it was “someone who didn’t have a case before the system but was looking at our rules.” The courts currently offer free interpreter services for all criminal and juvenile cases, and for civil cases involving indigent parties.

The court will use its current interpreter fund of $3.7 million to fund its additional services. Currently, state judicial employs 25 full-time interpreters and about 300 independent contractors, all of which represent about 75 different languages.

Read the rest of the story in Law Week Colorado.