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Justice Department: NC Court System Discriminates Against Non-English Speakers

Justice Department: NC Court System Discriminates Against Non-English Speakers

The U.S. Justice Department today released findings of an investigation showing that North Carolina's court system routinely discriminates against people who do not speak English, in violation of Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin by state courts.

In a letter to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, the Justice Department “determined after a comprehensive investigation that the AOC's policies and practices discriminate on the basis of national origin, in violation of federal law, by failing to provide limited English proficient (LEP) individuals with meaningful access to state court proceedings and operations.”

Katy Parker, Legal Director of the ACLU of NC Legal Foundation, said the findings were a step in the right direction.

“We thank the Justice Department for its thorough investigation and urge the Administrative Office of the Courts to take any and all actions necessary to comply with the law by providing limited-English speakers with the proper resources to access state court proceedings," Parker said. "A person’s right to due process and equal access to our legal system should in no way depend on their national origin or ability to speak English. In order to ensure that we are all equal before the law, North Carolina’s courts must be equally accessible to everyone.”

Read the entire letter online here.