Small courts in Pennsylvania are not consistently using professional interpreters, according to a recent report on 19 magisterial district courts in Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties.
This spring, Temple and Villanova law students spent 70 hours observing judges and court staff in districts with a large number of residents who are not fluent in English.
During the course of their field work, the students observed lapses that included everything from obscured signage — intended to inform parties of their rights to an interpreter — to a judge holding a hearing in English when a litigant said he understood only "a little." When the man's case was dismissed, he didn't understand, so the judge gave a thumbs up and said "bueno," according to a subsequent report.
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Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to ensuring that all Pennsylvanians can come to our courts with confidence that they will be heard by qualified, fair, and impartial judges