WHEREAS, pursuant to the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;” and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Article I, section 21, of the Florida Constitution, all persons are entitled to access to the courts; and
WHEREAS, non-English speaking persons or hearing impaired persons, when participating in a court proceeding, cannot be guaranteed due process of law or meaningful access to the courts without the assistance of a foreign language interpreter or sign language interpreter; and
WHEREAS, on July 1, 2006, the Supreme Court of Florida adopted the Florida Rules for Certification and Regulation of Court Interpreters, establishing standards and procedures for qualifications, certification, professional conduct, discipline, and training of foreign language court interpreters who are appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction; and
WHEREAS, by July 1, 2008, Florida courts are mandated to be in compliance with rule 2.560(e), Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, which will require the use of foreign language interpreters under specified circumstances; and
WHEREAS, in order to ensure compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and rule 2.540, Florida Rules of Judicial Administration; and
WHEREAS, to ensure uniform and skilled interpretations, to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest within court proceedings, and in order to meet the Supreme Court of Florida standards and procedures for foreign language court interpreters, it is necessary to establish uniform guidelines for foreign language court interpretation within the Third Judicial Circuit. It is therefore
DEFINITIONS OF APPROVED INTERPRETERS
5. As of March 5, 2007, all foreign language Court Interpreters in the Third Circuit must meet the qualification of a Duly Qualified Interpreter as defined by Rule 14.100, Florida Rules for Certification and Regulation of Court Interpreters, prior to being hired for interpretive needs.
6. By July 1, 2008, pursuant to Fla. R. Jud. Admin. R. 2.073(e), whenever possible, foreign language court interpreters utilized in the Third Circuit must shall be certified pursuant to Rule 14.100, Florida Rules for Certification and Regulation of Court Interpreters or shall have a certificate of Qualification for the Office of the State Courts Administrator in Tallahassee.
7. For interpretive needs of languages rarely encountered in the Third Judicial Circuit, e.g., Farsi or Mandarin Chinese, the Court Interpreter Program may be required to schedule an interpreter who has not met all of the standards under Rule 14.00, Florida Rules for Certification and Regulation of Court Interpreters. The presiding judge must then qualify the language interpreter of the less common languages prior to the utilization of the interpreter, in a manner consistent with rule 2.560(e)(2).
8. Only persons employed as freelance interpreters with the Third Judicial Circuit Court Interpreter Program and scheduled through the Court Interpreter Program are permitted to act as interpreters at court events. Persons who have not entered into a Professional Services Agreement with the Court Interpreter Program are not authorized to act as interpreters at court events, e.g., volunteers, deputies, attorneys, family members, friends, the public, court staff.
9. Approval to serve as a court interpreter within the Third Judicial Circuit may be revoked without cause, at any time, by the Chief Judge.
10. Prior to commencement of each court event, all court interpreters must be qualified by the presiding judge and take an oath pursuant to section 90.606 (3), Florida Statutes.
11. Payment of court interpreters will be made pursuant to the terms outlined in each interpreter’s individual Professional Services Agreement.
12. Persons who request a sign language interpreter must inform the Court Interpreter Program of a cancellation at least two working days prior to the scheduled event. Failure to provide at least two working days notice of cancellation may result in the person or entity requesting the interpreter to be responsible for payment of the interpreter invoice.
13. Persons who request a foreign language interpreter must inform the Court Interpreter Program of a cancellation twenty-four hours prior to the scheduled court event. Failure to provide this notice may result in the person or entity requesting the interpreter to be responsible for payment of the interpreter invoice.
14. Court interpreters will be notified of cancellations by the Court Interpreter Program at the time of the cancellation. If notification of a cancellation is not given until the day of the event, the Court interpreter will be paid for one hour of work whether the event was an in-county or out-of-county event. Cancellations made prior to the day of the event will not result in compensation to the interpreter.
15. A court interpreter must notify the Court Interpreter Program immediately if unable to interpret at a scheduled event. Failure to give advance notice may result in removal from the Court Interpreter Program list.
16. When an interpreter need arises at first appearance or at other court events of brief duration, in an emergency situation, on a holiday or during the weekend, a commercial “language line” may be utilized as an interpretive service and arranged by the Court Operations Manager by calling 386-758-2163 on weekdays; and by paging on the weekends and holidays at: 877-240-3085. For all other court events of longer duration, such as hearings, trials, etc., a court interpreter should be present in the courtroom to interpret.
WEEKEND OR HOLIDAY SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETIVE NEEDS
17. If a Sign Language Interpreter is needed on a weekend of court holiday, the jail shall page the Court Operations Manager at: 877-240-3085.
18. A court interpreter may only interpret for one defendant or party during a proceeding where the appearance of a conflict of interest may be created, e.g., family law case or where due to the duration of the event the interpreter would not receive adequate breaks, e.g., trial with multiple defendants. In those instances, each defendant or party to a proceeding in need of interpretive services shall be assigned an interpreter.
19. This Order rescinds and supersedes Administrative Order No. 2005-018 dated September 7, 2005.
ORDERED on March 6th 2007.