Indianapolis, Indiana – A federal court has ruled that three Indiana judges discriminated against a deaf citizen, Steve Prakel, who sought to attend court proceedings involving his mother. Prakel wanted to attend his mother’s court hearings. He requested that the courts provide interpreters. However, despite his multiple requests, the judges refused to provide interpreters for Prakel.
As a result, Prakel filed a lawsuit alleging that the judges discriminated against Prakel in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The defendants moved to throw out Prakel’s case on the ground that he was not a litigant, juror, or witness involved with his mother’s hearings.
The United States District Court rejected that argument and decided that the judges’ refusal to provide interpreters discriminated against Prakel on the basis of disability.
The three Indiana judges will now face a trial by jury, in which the jury will determine whether the judges were deliberately indifferent to Prakel’s requests for access. The United States Department of Justice filed an amicus brief on Prakel’s behalf in this matter.
Attorney Matthew W. Lorch is a proud supporter of the pursuit of protecting the rights of those with disabilities.
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by, and for, deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States.
Stein & Vargas, LLP is a civil rights firm committed to the principle that all people have full and equal access to all parts of society.
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National Association of the Deaf
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