Wednesday, March 22, 2006

NM Magistrate Who Issued Warrant for Interpreter Steps Down

Free New Mexican
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 22, 2006

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - Dona Ana County Magistrate Susana Chaparro has resigned, the same day many people expected she would be filing for re-election.

Chaparro, 44, said Tuesday she will spend more time with her family and pursue personal interests.

Her last day on the bench will be April 16.

Chaparro, who was first elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2002, was twice disciplined by the state Supreme Court _ once for interfering with her son's traffic case and once for improperly issuing an arrest warrant for a court interpreter who ignored her orders during a hearing.

Fellow Magistrate Olivia N. Garcia said Chaparro has been an excellent judge.

"I've watched her, I've sat with her in court, she has mentored me, and she's just great," Garcia said.

She and Chaparro went to the county courthouse together just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, and Garcia thought both were going to file for re-election. She said she was surprised when Chaparro told her she wasn't going to run again, and dropped her off.

Gov. Bill Richardson will appoint a replacement who will serve until the end of the year. Two people filed for the post Tuesday, and whoever is elected will take office in January.

Arraignment delayed for need of interpreter

Saturday, March 18, 2006
The Oregonian
VANCOUVER -- The arraignment of a Vancouver man facing 19 charges in a bank fraud scheme was postponed until Monday because he asked for the assistance of a Russian translator.

Dan A. Orlovskiy, 26, was scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Clark County Superior Court on 10 counts of second-degree identity theft and nine counts of unlawful possession of payment instruments.

But Todd Pascoe, Orlovskiy's attorney, asked Judge John F. Nichols to delay the hearing so an interpreter could be present. Nichols rescheduled the arraignment for 9 a.m. Monday.

Orlovskiy, a native of Moldova, has lived in the Vancouver area for 15 years, according to court records.

Police in Oregon and Vancouver say he is the leader of a bank fraud scheme that used homeless people to open fake accounts. The scheme spanned three states and netted about $300,000, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Orlovskiy is being held in the Clark County Jail on $50,000 bail.

-- Holley Gilbert

MA Medical interpreter program expanded

The Republican
Medical interpreter program expanded
Wednesday, March 22, 2006


HOLYOKE - From keeping patients' families informed of diagnoses and procedures all the way through insuring patients get the best in pain management, Holyoke Medical Center has always done its utmost to make overall patient care one of its top priorities.

And nothing speaks more to that commitment than the hospital's expansion of its Medical Interpreter Program.

In October of last year, Holyoke Medical Center more than doubled the number of medical interpreters on its staff, going from three to eight. This not only allowed more patients to have access to this service but also increased the scope of hours the service is available.

"It's a very important step and it reinforces how seriously Holyoke Medical Center is committed to patient care," said Xenia Rosado-Merced, manager of the hospital's Community Outreach Department.

The Community Outreach Department provides a medical interpreter to patients who are not fluent in English. Holyoke Medical Center is committed to insuring that those patients who do not speak English get the same level of care as those who do. For patients who speak other languages, Holyoke Medical Center has contracts with several interpreter services and can provide interpreters for up to 148 languages, such as Polish, Russian, Portuguese, etc., Rosado-Merced said.

The expansion came on the heels of a great honor: Last year, Holyoke Medical Center's senior interpreter Rafael Mojica gave the hospital some much-deserved attention on this subject by winning the state's Medical Interpreter of the Year Award of 2005. Now Mojica and his colleagues Janet Gonzalez and Diana Garcia have been joined by five new additions to the staff: Gladys Betancourt, Iris Colon, Aida DeJesus, Rebecca Shultz and Arida Rivera.

"Last year we provided about 10,000 interpreting services," Rosado-Merced said. "Now we hope to dramatically increase that number and insure all Hispanic patients and any patients with limited English skills have this service available to them."

One of the recently added staff members, Gladys Betancourt, loves her new job. Betancourt started working at Holyoke Medical Center's cafeteria and later moved to the Emergency Department as a customer liaison. Customer liaisons "basically make sure patients get where they need to be," Betancourt said. But she also was able to provide some interpreting skills in that job when needed, she added. In a fortunate bit of timing, the expansion of the interpreter program occurred just when her patient liaison job ended.

"I just love helping people, so it's a perfect job for me," she said. "I know that I helped make their stay here better and they leave a lot happier."

Holyoke Medical Center has also been able to expand interpreter services for non-English speaking families who are dealing with the end-of-life process. This was made possible by a grant from the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, Rosado-Merced said. One of the original interpreters, Diana Garcia, handles this sensitive but crucial part of the interpreter program.

"I was very interested since I first heard about it, "Garcia said. "It's very special for me to be able to help families in this way. I help families in the Hispanic community understand the concept of a health care proxy and end-of-life decisions, which can be very confusing."

Garcia said because of the strong sense of family in the Hispanic community, families sometimes feel pressure to do it all themselves, but at the same time are hesitant to allow a terminally ill family member to get hospice care.

"I try to help them understand what hospice care is, and what it can do for them and their loved ones. I want to help alleviate any pressures they may feel." Garcia also welcomes the additional assistance provided by her five new team members.

"The expansion of the program really gives us a lot of help with an always growing demand" she said. "Our goal is to make sure everyone gets the same level of care no matter what language they speak."

For more information on Holyoke Medical Center's Medical Interpreter Program, please call the Community Outreach Department at (413) 534-2607. (Submitted by Holyoke Medical Center.)

EEOC Claims Victory

From the Deaf Law Blog:

EEOC Claims Victory
Congratulations to the EEOC attorneys who received a jury verdict on behalf of a deaf employee at Federal Express who was denied sign language interpreters for employment-related communications.

Mr. Lockhart repeatedly asked for sign language interpreters which the company refused to provide. The EEOC filed suit and the jury agreed to the tune of $108,000.00. The EEOC provides a great deal of public information regarding its enforcement efforts on its website.

It seems that the package and mail delivery companies are facing more and more complaints from deaf employees and facing losses in the legal system. Several years ago, a class action was successfully lodged by deaf workers against UPS, and now the EEOC has taken on Federal Express. Federal deaf workers have been fighting the USPS for sign language interpreters for many years and have suits pending in the EEOC as well as in the federal courts.

From Business and Legal Reports:

Court: Deaf Employee Had a Right to Interpreter

A federal jury has awarded $108,000 in punitive and compensatory damages to a deaf package handler who accused Federal Express Corporation of failing to provide him with a reasonable accommodation in the form of American Sign Language interpreters at the company’s Baltimore Ramp. In a lawsuit on behalf of Ronald Lockhart, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) by failing to provide reasonable accommodations to Lockhart, despite his repeated requests.

“This verdict sends victims and their employers a big message,” says EEOC regional attorney Jacqueline McNair. “Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. It is the employer’s responsibility to demonstrate that it is committed to fully adhere to the requirements of the ADA on behalf of disabled employees, and that they are not to be treated like second-class citizens.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

California: New Legislation Would Require Interpreters For Civil Matters

AB 2302 has been introduced by the Assembly Judiciary Committee that will ensure interpreters are provided in all civil court cases. The bill as written would extend the right to an interpreter in civil as in criminal proceedings and require the Court to provided interpreters.

A recent State Bar’s equal access commission report on language barriers to justice underscored the need for interpreters in civil matters. The report indicated that there was a serious unmet need for interpreters for people without means to hire an interpreter in family law, unlawful detainer and small claims proceedings. The bill would attempt to bridge the difference between having no interpreter, or using a family member, and actually getting a professional court interpreter. As written, the bill would provide for state-funded interpreters contracted by the court as under current law.

Existing law requires that in any action or proceeding pursuant to specified provisions of law, an interpreter be provided by the court for a party who is incapable of understanding or speaking the English language to interpret the proceedings in a language that the party understands and to assist communication between the party and his or her attorney.

This bill would revise the above provision to specify that in any civil action or proceeding, including, but not limited to, any family court proceeding or service, any juvenile court proceeding, any action involving a traffic or other infraction, any small claims court proceeding, any proceeding to determine the mental competency of a person, or any court-ordered or court-provided alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, in which a party does not proficiently speak or understand the English language, an interpreter be present to interpret the proceedings, as specified. The bill would also require a court to provide the interpreter, unless a party has notified the court that he or she has made arrangements for a private interpreter. The bill would also make related changes to that provision of law and would set forth findings and declarations of the Legislature.

You can read the bill at: http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/AB_2302

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT
Assistant Professor of Practice in Translation and Interpretation
University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is seeking a distinguished practitioner to teach core courses for the newly developed concentration in Translation and Interpretation (Spanish/English) in the Departments of Spanish and Mexican American Studies. This non-tenure track position, with a multi-year appointment of 3 years, will be renewable upon review; 9-month academic appointment. Salary is commensurate with experience; benefits eligible. Requirements: Substantial Experience in the Practice of Medical and Legal Interpretation and Translation; FCCI Certification required; Credentials in Interpretation and/or Translation (legal/medical); Evidence of Teaching Excellence (legal/medical interp. and trans.). Position open until filled. To apply, submit on-line application for job number 34105 at http://www.uacareertrack.com. Be prepared to attach a letter of interest, resume, and writing samples upon submission of application.

Please write letter of interest to:

Dr Roseann Dueñas González, Search Committee Chair
Director, National Center for Interpretation
P.O. Box 210432
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721

For more information, please write to rgonzale@u.arizona.edu
520-621-3615 or 520-624-3153

*Note: Review of applicants began February 15, 2006.

The University of Arizona is an EEO/AA - M/W/D/V Employer

Couple pleads not guilty in sauna case

"Proceedings moved forward haltingly Monday as a Korean interpreter attempted to speak to both Kim and a noticeably frustrated Judge Gene Hamilton.“Whatever’s said in the courtroom, you have to interpret at the time,” Hamilton told the interpreter at one point." http://columbiamissourian.com/news/story.php?ID=18994

Couple pleads not guilty in sauna case
Promoting prostitution is alleged.
By NATE BIRT
A couple charged with second-degree promoting prostitution pleaded not guilty Monday in Boone County Circuit Court.

Ok Hee Kim and her husband, Semsettin Gogebakan, were arrested Dec. 10 at VIP Sauna, a Columbia massage parlor at 5210 N. Missouri 763. Condoms, paperwork and money were taken from the location, and two other people were arrested on suspicion of prostitution. All were released on bond.

Detective Clark Luntsford, of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, said in an earlier Missourian article that officials had “always” been monitoring the sauna. The arrests were made after people living near the sauna alleged that prostitution was taking place there. Officials said a landlord alleged in March that prostitution was taking place at the sauna, but no arrests were made at that time.
Jeffrey Kays, defense attorney for Kim and Gogebakan, said Gogebakan is a naturalized American citizen, but it is unclear whether Kim is.

Proceedings moved forward haltingly Monday as a Korean interpreter attempted to speak to both Kim and a noticeably frustrated Judge Gene Hamilton.
“Whatever’s said in the courtroom, you have to interpret at the time,” Hamilton told the interpreter at one point. Gogebakan entered his not guilty plea after Kim and did not require an interpreter.

A jury trial for Kim and Gogebakan has been scheduled for May 17.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Language Becoming an Issue for Health Insurers

When she learned the cost of an operation that opened her husband's clogged arteries last fall, Maria Rodriguez was glad she had signed the couple up for health coverage several weeks earlier. But then Blue Cross of California said Raudel Rodriguez, a 53-year-old self-employed scrap-metal hauler, had failed to disclose preexisting conditions — including chest pain — that made him uninsurable. The company canceled his coverage, returned $1,700 in premiums and left the couple instead with a $130,000 hospital bill.

The Rodriguezes insist they answered the Blue Cross salesman's questions honestly in a telephone conversation in Spanish. If anything was amiss with the husband's application, they say, the fault lies with Blue Cross because the company filled out their applications in English, a language they do not understand."What we want is the deal they promised us — if we paid them, we were covered," Maria said in Spanish.Blue Cross, a unit of WellPoint Inc., declined to comment.

With a lawsuit accusing Blue Cross of reneging, the Santa Ana couple has raised an issue that experts say could plague the health insurance industry in coming years as it increasingly reaches out to cover immigrants: Insurers could face legal problems unless they make sure they are doing business with customers in a language they understand. The case "could have a very dramatic impact in terms of elevating awareness on the part of [health] plans to make sure that they are communicating in the appropriate language with all their members and not just assuming contracts in English are going to be understood," said Gerald Kominski, a professor at the UCLA School of Public Health.

Kominski is an author of a new study that found that as many as 10% of HMO members in California speak no English or have limited proficiency. "They pay their premiums," he said, "and they are entitled to the same level of service as English-speaking members. "Under current law, however, non-English speakers have fewer safeguards when buying health coverage than they do when buying a car or renting an apartment.

Auto dealers and other retailers that sell products with financing long have been required to put contracts in Spanish if that is the language used to make the deal, said Alejandra Cedillo, a Los Angeles County Neighborhood Legal Services lawyer.

That protection recently was expanded to consumers who speak Asian languages. "There's nothing that would apply to health insurance," she said. That's about to change. The state Department of Managed Health Care expects to finalize rules this year that would require health plans to put key documents in the consumer's primary language and to pay for interpreters to accompany patients to doctors' offices and hospitals. For Maria Rodriguez, it was a Spanish-language television commercial that prompted her call to Blue Cross last summer. She said she spoke to an agent who described the plan and asked questions about the couple's medical history — all in Spanish.

The couple said Raudel had complained of chest pain early last year. But his physician had diagnosed heartburn, and they had no reason to believe it was anything more significant. Applications for coverage — one for each of them — arrived in the mail already filled out in English, making it impossible for them to verify the accuracy of the responses. The couple said they signed nonetheless. They began paying premiums of more than $500 every other month on Raudel's policy, which took effect Aug. 1. (The couple pays almost $500 every other month on a separate policy for Maria, which remains in effect.)A couple of weeks later, Raudel felt chest pain again and went to the doctor. The physician ordered tests but found nothing wrong, the Rodriguezes said. Finally, after the pains continued, a cardiologist ordered a test that showed for the first time, the couple said, that he had coronary problems. The cardiologist told the couple that if Raudel did not have surgery, he could have a heart attack."I told my husband, 'Thank God we got that policy,' " Maria said. "We were scared [about the operation]…. But at least it was going to be covered."

Raudel had the operation in mid-September, spent three days in the hospital and went home. A few days before Christmas, Blue Cross canceled their coverage retroactively, citing information it had discovered in Raudel's medical records. The couple had no idea what the notification letter was about because it was in English. It was not until Raudel went in for a follow-up visit with his physician that they learned that he no longer was covered.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

COURSE OF SPANISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE FOR POLICE AND LAW

The University of Salamanca, oldest University in Spain, which has earneda reputation internationally for teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language,offers the COURSE OF SPANISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE FOR POLICE AND LAW at its Campus of Avila, the first Spanish city to be declared World Heritageby UNESCO, located just one hour from Madrid and its airport. Avila hoststhe world-known Training Center of the Spanish National Police Corps.

The Course is developed in collaboration by the University of Salamanca and the Spanish National Police Corps, with professors from the two institutions, at the Avila facilities of both.The Course is addressed to members of police forces and to those who workat juridical jobs (judges, lawyers and law students, court interpreters, judiciary translators, prison workers...) all over the world, interested in acquiring or improving their knowledge of Spanish Language for SpecificPurposes related to their professions.It is a two-week course in the summer months (June, July or September). Two levels, beginners and intermediate-advanced. 40 hours of lessons + a program of extracurricular and cultural activities. Price: 380 euros (includes classes, materials, program of activities and medical insurance). Accommodation (not included in price) can be provided infamilies, dormitories, hotels or apartments (whole or shared).The Avila Campus of the University of Salamanca can also program special courses for organized groups, at any time of year, taking into account thespecific needs of the students (contents, level, calendar and timetable). The minimum number of students required is 7. If the group comes with aprofessor, we offer him/her very special conditions of accommodation. The Course is complemented by a variety of extracurricular and cultural activities, like guided tours of Avila, visits to several places related to police and law (such as a prison, a police station, a Court, etc.), meetings with members of the police and juridical professions in Spain. All the information can be gathered from our web page, www.usal.es/turismo, or directly from the link http://www3.usal.es/~turismo/pdfs/para_policias.pdf The Avila Campus of the University of Salamanca also offers Courses of Spanish Language and Culture and the Superior Course for Teachers of Spanish as a Foreign Language (with internships in local schools).
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you should have any questions, orif you wish to receive the brochure of the course by postal mail or on a pdf file.

Best regards,
Prof. Sonsoles Sanchez-Reyes
Ph. D.Director of Spanish Courses Avila Campus - University of Salamanca, Spain
Calle Madrigal, 305003 Avila (Spain)
Telf: (34) 920 353 600, Fax (34) 920 353 601

Court translator stole from Spanish-speaking defendants, officials say

From the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman:

Court translator stole from Spanish-speaking defendants, officials say Part-time worker charged with theft for collecting fees from clients in addition to pay.
By Katie HumphreyAMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Saturday, March 18, 2006
A man who translated for Spanish-speaking defendants in Williamson County courts stole from the people he was helping, officials say.
John Mosquedo, 73, of Georgetown told some Spanish-speaking defendants that they needed to pay him $200 for his translation services or for court fees, according to an affidavit. He did not tell them that Williamson County paid him $200 a day to translate in the county Courts-at-Law.

WILCO SHERIFF'S OFFICE
(enlarge photo)
John Mosquedo Translator cheated more than 15 defendants, investigators claim.
Williamson County sheriff's deputies arrested Mosquedo on Friday and charged him with theft, a state jail felony. The charge carries a penalty of 180 days to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
He was released from custody after posting $50,000 in bail and could not be reached for comment.
The affidavit lists four people who paid Mosquedo $200 in cash or by money order, but investigators have identified more than 15 victims, Williamson District Attorney John Bradley said.
"It's difficult though, because you have defendants who are Spanish-speaking, and many of them are not U.S. citizens," Bradley said. "They are difficult to find and locate."
Mosquedo began translating in the courts in 2003, said Judge Don Higginbotham of County Court-at-Law No. 3.
Mosquedo rotated among three county Courts-at-Law, translating each Wednesday and Thursday.
The courts needed an interpreter to help with an increased number of Spanish-speaking defendants. And Mosquedo, a licensed court interpreter who was willing to work part time, seemed like a good choice, Higginbotham said.
According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Web site, there are no violations listed on Mosquedo's license.
Investigators think that Mosquedo, who resigned after learning that he was being investigated, stole from Spanish-speaking defendants from July to December of last year, Bradley said.
Mosquedo told the Spanish-speaking defendants, many of whom had no legal representation, about the $200 fee when he talked to them outside the courtroom, Bradley said.
"He was supposed to tell them what they were charged with and what the punishment range was," Bradley said. "But apparently, the discussion was a little more wide-ranging than that."
The county attorney's office, which prosecutes cases in the Williamson Courts-at-Law, declined to comment on how Mosquedo's arrest would affect the cases of Spanish-speaking defendants for whom Mosquedo had translated.