Friday, March 04, 2005

Strange and Troubling Florida Case

Just out on Westlaw: the opinion of the Florida Court of Appeals for the Fifth District in Department Of Corrections v. Harrison, 2005 WL 430356 (Feb. 25, 2005). In this criminal case, the trial court issued an order of probation that required the defendant to undergo sex offender treatment. The defendant, who has a hearing impairment, said that he could not effectively undergo such treatment without an interpreter, so the trial court ordered the state department of corrections to pay for an interpreter. The Department of Corrections appealed that part of the trial court's order. Sustaining the Department of Corrections' appeal, the appellate court ruled that the trial court's order violated the separation of powers doctrine by requiring DOC to pay for an interpreter. The court did suggest that if the defendant ultimately can't afford an interpreter that he may raise a claim under the ADA or the Constitution, but it seems to me quite troubling that the DOC would resist paying for an interpreter that was necessary for a defendant effectively to comply with a condition of a criminal sentence.


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