Texas Disability Law - Accommodations for Jurors, Witnesses and Offenders
- Provides for a plan for meeting the treatment, rehabilitative, and educational needs of offenders with medical or mental impairments including development of community-based alternatives to incarceration.
- Defines a process for determining criminal competency and how to apply it consistently across the state.
- Provides that a party or witness who is deaf or hard of hearing is entitled to a qualified court-appointed sign language interpreter in civil and criminal cases.
- Requires the Department of Assistive and Rehabilative Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services to maintain a list of sign language interpreters and specialists in communication access time captioning (CART) who are qualified to provide services in courtroom settings.
- Provides that persons who are blind or who are deaf or hard of hearing are not disqualified from jury service because of disability. A court may choose to disqualify a person with a visual or hearing impairment from jury service if the judge finds that the individual's disability makes him or her unqualified to serve as a juror in a particular case.
- Provides that courts are responsible for providing qualified sign language interpreters for jurors who are deaf.
- Provides that courts are responsible for providing a communication access real time captioning (CART) specialist if requested by a party or a witness in a civil or criminal court proceeding. DARS is required to provide the list of certified CART specialists to a person or court on request.
Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments:
Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 614
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 21 (civil cases)
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 38.31 (criminal cases)
Texas Government Code, Chapter 57 (CART and licensing of court interpreters)
Relevant Federal Laws
Americans with Disabilities Act: U.S. Department of Justice
(800) 514-0301; (800) 514-0383 (TTY)