Being an ex-con is hard enough.
Being an ex-con is hard enough.
Originally posted on CrimeDime:
There are two clear-as-day facts about today’s criminal justice system: our incarceration rate is way, way up and our crime rates are down in serious ways. The relationship between these two is more difficult to tease apart. Without a background in criminology or knowing a great deal about the criminal justice system, it’s tempting to suggest that this correlation has a causal basis. That is to say, that the reason crime is down is because our prison populations are up.
Criminologists know otherwise, and Bruce Western has a great piece in the Boston Review that helps to explain the nuances. Western’s research looks at crime rates in both states that had increasing and states that had decreasing prison populations. Crime rates declined in both situations.
Click through to read the rest of the analysis. Thanks to Daniel at Boston Review for pointing us to this article and image…
View original 1 more word
At the end of his trial, Mark Brackmann heard the verdict: nine years in prison. Shortly thereafter, he was in a jail cell awaiting transfer to the penitentiary. He had never been in a prison before and knew little about what he would face there. He was saddened that he would be separated from his family and friends, and was leaving behind the two successful businesses he had started from scratch. Literacy among state prisoners is typically lower than the general public (“National Assessment,” 2007). Like many educated men entering prison for the first time, Mark thought he would be very much alone and did not think he would find in prison anyone with whom he would have much in common.
Once assigned to prison in Wakula, Florida, Mark began to get acquainted with his fellow inmates, the guards, and other prison officials. He soon discovered that many of the prison inmates he met were similar to persons he had known on the outside. Some had a positive outlook, others were depressed and angry. Some had college degrees, others had only minimal education. Some had led interesting, productive lives on the outside, others had barely scraped by. Despite those differences, Mark learned that most of the men had dreams and ambitions for their futures, just as he did. For example, many who had spent their lives in crime-ravaged neighborhoods wanted to live where it was safe. Some prisoners hoped to spend time with their children, to be employed, and to have a home. Others dreamed of establishing their own businesses.
Few of these individuals had given serious thought as to how they would achieve their goals, nor had they made the effort to implement their future plans. In fact, only a tiny minority had worked out specific, realistic itineraries for their lives following discharge. As time wears on, inmate self-concept may degrade (Walrath, 2001).
Making Time Matter
In numerous correctional institutions, GED and vocational programming is strongly supported and sometimes court-ordered (“National Assessment,” 2007). Given Mark’s background as a college graduate, his first assignment as an inmate was to prepare fellow inmates to take and pass the GED test for their high school diplomas. He proved very effective at this task. About the same time, Mark formed a close friendship with another inmate, Jeff Botward, who had been a banker prior to his incarceration. Both men were appalled that so many of their peers were doing nothing constructive to prepare themselves for life after release from prison. Nor were they getting needed guidance from the prison staff regarding their futures and the hurdles they would face upon release.
It is notable that former inmates struggle more with keeping employment than acquiring a job. Many earn their GEDs, but lack basic social and life skills that are essential to the workplace (Koski, 1998). Rather than commiserate about the problem, Mark and Jeff decided to do something about it. They discussed the issues and proposed solutions to the prison chaplain, Reverend Allison, and to other interested prison officials. These officials were impressed by and supportive of the idea of helping inmates prepare for discharge back into society. Despite initial objections from some of the more traditional officers, the program Mark and Jeff had proposed was started.
Their first step was to write a book, Life Mapping, which was to be the text for their proposed course. The book detailed the specific steps prisoners should take while behind bars, in order to prepare for life outside prison. It also provided guidance on issues ex-convicts would face and how to cope with those problems after release.
After Mark and Jeff finished writing Life Mapping, Reverend Allison and a few other prison officials who saw its value arranged to have the book printed. Once the book was available, classes in Life Mapping were begun despite continuing objections from some prison officials. Fortunately, key authorities supported the program and made it possible for Mark and Jeff to conduct classes using the text they had written.
From the beginning, the class proved to be a success. At the conclusion of the Life Mapping class, each student was required to take the poium and share his personalized Life Map.
Mark and Jeff were inundated with requests to open up more classes on Life Mapping. A volunteer professor from Florida State University, Dr. Mike Wallace, observed some of the sessions. Describing them, he said, “They are like a single flower in the desert. It is a miracle that the flower can survive in a harsh, inhospitable prison environment, yet it does. Its beauty is stunning, but even more so because of the austerity that surrounds it.”
Mark and Jeff were excited by Dr. Wallace’s evaluation, but knew they and their fellow inmates had to do more if they were to change the barren culture of the prison system. “We put everything we had into making Life Mapping class a success,” Mark explained.
About the same time Life Mapping classes started, another program was launched by an inmate who had studied how to write a business plan. He now teaches that course to fellow prisoners. His program was effective although rough in spots, and could be improved upon. Another class is currently forming, focused on credit and debt management.
The inmates involved in instructing these classes met and formed a steering committee that included Mark, Jeff, and another prisoner, Darrel Simpson. The committee’s goal is to oversee and plan so that the classes developed by inmates are organized, unique, and effective.
The inmates who did the organizational work wanted to brand what they were doing, so they chose the name Realizing Educational and Financial Smarts (REEFS) for the steering committee and bank of educational programs. As their work continued and time passed, the prison culture did change. By now, 6,000 prisoners have completed REEFS courses.
Ordinarily, as one walks through a prison dorm, the prevalent activities are gambling, card games, arguments, sports talk, or fighting. By contrast, today many of the prisoners in the REEFS Program are discussing business plans and goals, while others are reading about current events in business, religion, marketing, and trade journals.
These are positive changes, but they did not come about easily. For example, there were volunteers who wanted to teach, but were unqualified. Some volunteers sought to take ownership of the REEFS’ program and materials. Inmates found it difficult to say no to volunteers due to their lower social status. While most students in the classes were eager to learn, some presented a challenge to instructors. For instance, some wanted to fight when their academic work was deemed unsatisfactory.
The REEFS Program
The REEFS program has successfully demonstrated a way to improve prison systems nationally, not just in Wakula, Florida. It has been shown that exposing inmates to REEFS programming can effect a change in the attitudes and goals of a significant number of participants, as well as positively impacting the prison environment or atmosphere in general. Disciplinary actions decrease in correctional facilities offering educational and vocational programming (Torre & Fine, 2005). The REEFS participants were transformed from idle inmates with few realistic goals to life planners, using their time in prison for self-improvement and preparation for their return to society.
The REEFS Program addresses three crucial factors that prison administrators in the United States presently face: recidivism, costs, and unproductive use of inmates’ time. To implement the REEFS Program or others like it requires that key officials in state prisons adopt an approach similar to Wakula. Lower recidivism rates are associated with prison-based education programming (Torre & Fine, 2005). The financial savings alone would more than justify any costs associated with implementation of such a program.
In order to make the Wakula program a success, there was a high level of collaboration between prison officials and inmates. Cooperation between these two groups is a key element of building an effective program. Additionally, many prison chaplains value educational and vocational training as an avenue to change for offenders and may be a useful resource in program building (Sundt, Dammer, & Cullen, 2002)
Understandably, inmate-steered programs present a concern for prison officials, who are often hesitant to create opportunities for dangerous offenders to disrupt or take over the proceedings. To avoid this, careful screening of prospective participants is required at Wakula.
Most inmates self-select for educational programs in prison, which is considered a coping strategy (Jackson & Innes, 2001). Among inmates, there is a correlation between lower education levels and lack of participation in educational opportunities, suggesting that encouraging inmates to complete their GEDs may increase their interest in continuing educational pursuits (Jackson & Innes, 2001).
Utilizing Peer Resources
Many state prison systems today have sophisticated intake procedures that involve the use of educational achievement testing and data on previous schooling to assess the academic levels of incoming inmates. Some prisons also perform intelligence testing and obtain data on inmates’ work histories. Additionally, all prisons archive details relating to inmates’ criminal records.
While prisoners are outcasts, representative of drug addicts and alcoholics, sex offenders, and violent offenders, the prison population also includes a significant number of well-educated persons in professions and trades such as teacher, professor, business, cleric, physician, accountant, lawyer, and politician. While these inmates have been convicted of various crimes and are consequently serving time, they may also serve as a resource, helping other inmates prepare for the GED test and teaching life skills courses. Walrath’s 2001 study of a peer-run prison program found that in addition to behavioral changes, optimism among inmates was improved as a result of participation.
Because state prison systems do not typically harness inmate potential, a majority of prison inmates leave the system poorly educated and unprepared for life on the outside. Society pays the price in terms of recidivism and enormous criminal justice costs.
Attaining a GED and completing vocational training is not enough. A key problem that may ex-convicts face is not acquiring employment, but maintaining it. Because so many offenders have complex educational deficits, a multidimensional and internally consistent approach to self-improvement that includes life planning is recommended (Koski, 1998). The model that Mark Brackmann and Jeff Botward created at Wakula has proven successful in preparing inmates to re-enter life outside of prison. It provides an outstanding model of prisoners helping prisoners.
Jackson, K.L., & Innes, C.A. (2001). Affective predictors of voluntary inmate
program participation. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 30 (3/4), 1-20
Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage. (Summer 2007). National assessment of adult literacy and literacy among prison inmates. Alaska Justice Forum, 24(2), 2-4
Koski, D.D. (1998) Vocational education in prison. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 27: 3, 151-164
Sundt, J.L., Dammer, H.R., & Cullen, F.T. (2002) The role of the prison chaplain in rehabilitation. Religion, The Community, and the Rehabilitation of Criminal Offenders, 59-86.
Torre, E.T., & Fine, M. (2005). Bar none: Extending Affirmative Action to higher education in prison. Journal of Social Issues, 61(30, 569-594
Walrath, C. (2001). Evaluation of an inmate-run alternatives to violence project: The impact of inmate-to-inmate intervention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16, 697-711.
We’ve been fortunate enough to be receiving some help from Heard. This is a great organization that is dedicated to advancing the rights of the Deaf through education.
If you are Deaf and behind bars, or you know someone who is, please contact Heard. They are building a database of cases, and may serve as a powerful tool in the effort to effect change within this dreadful system.
I’m looking for an update to this story. Will keep you posted.
I found the Q (Cathy from PA) and A (Cecil Adams) commentary The Straight Dope: “In What Language do Deaf People Think” to bring up many fascinating language acquisition and language learning issues that I wanted to make comments on.
I attached an article that I wrote with a Speech Language Pathologist and Audiologist titled Milestones of Language Development For Speech, Hearing & ASL. Readers can refer to this article for an expansion of my commentary. The article explains the ideal situation for language acquistion for deaf children…that is being exposed to ASL from birth.
Cathy comments: “in what language do deaf people think? I think in English, because that is what I speak.
My reply: language is not tied to the mouth and ears. It can be processed by the eye as in sign language. Speech is not necessarily language. For instance, a parrot can be taught to speak but they cannot be taught language.
Cathy’s comment: Would they (deaf people) think in English if they use sign language and read English? How would they do that if they’ve never heard the words, they are signing or reading pronounced? Maybe they just see words in their heads instead of hearing themselves?
My reply: This is a complex question! Deaf people can think even if they do not have a verbal language (English or other). They can think using their nonverbal intelligence. Of course, not having a formalized language will curtail their thinking and be limiting in terms of communicating and understanding complex ideas. Developmentally after acquiring concepts, children acquire language to label these concepts….and then language and thought build on each other. Of course, this depends on home and school exposure to a visual language. Unfortunately, many deaf children are born into families where there is no strong visual language and the child spends a lifetime trying to catch up.
There are some highly functioning bilingual deaf adults who tell me they read and think in English (Deaf grad students). They may codeswitch to ASL when they come across a word they do not understand. But like other highly proficient bilinguals, they go directly to their L2 (English) to comprehend it.
Many deaf adults bypasss the phonological system and learn to read by visually comprehending print. So they don’t need to hear the words or pronounce them to comprehend them. After many deaf adults will silently mouth the words as they are reading so they are using an articulation/lipreading strategy to decode print. Others read by translating the printed words into ASL to comprehend them. This depends on many family and educational factors.
Cecil Adams comment: Can you think without language? Nope, at least not at the level humans are accustomed to.
My reply: Deaf people can think without having mastered a formal language–either English or ASL. The research shows that deaf people have the same intelligence levels that hearing people do. In other words there are some very bright deaf, mostly average deaf, and some very low cognitive functioning deaf people—the same as intelligence is distributed in the hearing population. To be able to think, you do not necessarily have to have a formal language system. However, not having the language does curtail how you can express your thinking, build on your thinking with more complex ideas and understand and interact in your world. There are deaf people in prison who have no language but they can think.
Cecil Adams comments: The critical age range seems to be a 21 to 36 month. During this period children pick up the basics of language easily, and in so doing establish essential cognitive infrastructue. Later on its far more difficult.
My reply: While the critical period (CP hypothesis) also called the sensitive period or optimal period for a first langauge acquisiton is birth to three years, there are many deaf adults who acquired their L1 later and do just fine! So in effect, deaf adults are an “experiment in nature” regarding this CP hypothesis. Deaf adults acquire ASL at different time periods of their lives…early or late childhood, early or late adolescence or even early adulthood. The ASL is fully visually accessible to them so ASL becomes their dominant or most preferred language (their L1) and they continue to learn English as a second language (L2).speech hearing ASL development
Now many deaf adults who get caught up in the criminal justice system are weak in their L1 and L12 and this makes obtaining their Constitutional Rights extremely difficult or near impossible.
Why competent interpreters are so essential within the Deaf community, and especially in prison environments. It’s not just a matter of communication, but rather of understanding. It is possible for example for a Deaf inmate to not even fully comprehend why he’s in prison, in the first place.
Mandi Steele/FULTON SUN photo: Missouri School for the Deaf students Catherine Slinkard and Michael Miller help take care of Sparky, a deaf dachshund the school recently adopted.
Deaf prisoners at Missouri facility trained a rescued puppy (also deaf) to respond to ASL commands, then turn the animal over to a local school for deaf children. The students at the school went on to teach the dog several more signs, and now the school is preparing to take on more deaf dogs.
[Editor's Note: Although this pertains to the Felix Garcia case, I wanted Pat to post it on the scroll, because I believe we can all benefit from any insight as to the inner workings of the Court system. After all, forewarned is forearmed, and where the Courts are concerned, there but for the grace of God...]
[Author's Note: This is sort of a monotonous time for most everyone involved. I say most as you still have those attorneys who find every aspect of the trial process exciting. At the September 25, 1981 hearing where Felix was given court appointed counsel, Attorney Raul Palomino entered a Not Guilty Plea on behalf of his client/defendant. With that, the pre-trial motions start. I will highlight some of them that I hope will give you, the reader, some insight into the motion aspect of a trial. I will leave out mentioning the Criminal Rule numbers, Constitutional amendments, any mundane speech, to try to make it informative yet not boring.]
1. Demand For Discovery.
This is where the defense demands the State to disclose within 15 days all the information they have against his client. It is pretty standard in every one:
A) Names of all persons of interest relevant to the offense charged and to any defense with respect thereto.
B) Any statements made by any person listed in preceding paragraph.
C) Any oral or written statement by the defendant.
D) Any tangible papers or objects obtained or belonged to the defendant.
E) Any material or information provided by a confidential informant and name.
F) Any electrical surveillance or wiretapping of the premise or conversations to which the defendant was a party to.
G) Any search and seizure of any documents.
H) Reports or statements of experts made in connection with this case, including results of mental or physical examinations, and scientific tests, experiments or comparisons.
I ) Any material information within the State’s possession or control which tends to negate the guilt of the Defendant as to the offense charged, or to punishment, or the credibility of the State’s witnesses.
What the Defense here is requesting from the State is to inspect, copy, test and photograph this information so everyone begins the trial on equal ground. The Defense wants to know what the State knows that makes them certain they have the right person. The Defense then builds its defense on what it receives. If you heard the term Prosecutorial Misconduct, it generally stems from this request. The State may inadvertently or purposely leave out, misplace or hide information, or whatever, and because of it, the Defendant doesn’t get a fair trial. I might add that in return, the Defense shares their list of witnesses and exhibits with the State.
2. Motion For Statement Of Particulars.
This motion demands the State to show exactly what the evidence was that lead to an arrest of the Defendant. This motion is tailored to the alleged crime charged in the Indictment.
A) Exact date on which the offense alleged in the Indictment occurred.
B) Exact time on which the offense alleged in the Indictment occurred.
C) Exact place or addresses where the offense alleged in the Indictment occurred.
D) Particular description of the firearm which was allegedly utilized.
E) Whether crime charged in the Indictment is predicated on the theory of
premeditated murder or felony-murder, and if on felony-murder, the type of felony allegedly perpetrated at the time of the alleged homicide.
F) Whether the Defendant was the actual perpetrator or an aider and abetter of the offense alleged in the Indictment; if the Defendant was an aider and abetter, whether or not the Defendant’s actions made him accountable for the crime charged as an accessory before the fact or as a principal in the first degree or as a principal in the second degree.
This is to pin down the State to exactness and not generalities or broadness. This can also be used as a factor if there has been a change in law during the period of the alleged transaction and the trial to determine, if found guilty, the degree of punishment at sentencing.
3. Motion For Statement of Particulars Relating To Aggravating Circumstances.
This case was filed as a Capital Felony (where the death penalty was a possibility). These trials are done in two phases – Guilt Phase and Sentencing Phase. When the Defendant is found guilty, then the Sentencing Phase begins. At this juncture, the State will introduce aggravating circumstances to enhance the punishment – to prove that death is warranted. This motion is gleaning the proof the State intends to adduce at sentencing which is:
A) Whether the State intends to prove that the Defendant has previously been convicted of another Capital Felony or a Felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person, and if so, the nature of the previous conviction, the date thereof, the Court in which said conviction occurred, the style of the case and case number, and any other relevant particulars.
B) [ I’ll be more brief on the rest.] Whether the State intends to prove the Defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to any persons.
C) Whether the State intends to prove the Capital Felony was committed while the Defendant engaged in, an accomplice, or attempt to commit another criminal act: robbery, rape, arson etc.
D) Whether the State intends to prove the Capital Felony was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing lawful arrest or effecting an escape from custody.
F) Whether the State intends to prove the Capital Felony was committed for pecuniary gain.
G) Whether the State intends to prove the Capital Felony was committed to disrupt or hinder lawful exercise of any governmental function or enforcement of laws.
H) Whether the State intends to prove the Capital Felony was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.
This last particular is generally the one the public is most acquainted with. And is the issue on appeal the most times before any court in a death sentence. There will be witnesses at the Sentencing Phase and the Defense will also ask the State for a list of their witnesses and experts, and what aggravating circumstance will they will be related to.
Just so you know, the Defense will introduce Mitigating circumstances at Sentencing to try to cancel out any enhancements towards death versus Life. We’ll get to that later.
Unfortunately, this book is out of print but perhaps is available through a library. After I visited a county jail and a state prison and met with two deaf inmates, I reread Dr. Katrina Miller’s book and found it most relevant and informative so I am submitting a book review for deafinprison readers.
Katrina R. Miller. (2003) Deaf Culture Behind Bars: Signs and Stories of a Texas Population. Salem, OR: AGO Publications. https://www.agostore.com
The jail and prison environment is an isolating and cruel existence for the culturally Deaf as well as hard of hearing inmates because of lack of access to communication, services and programming with correctional officers and fellow inmates. Dr. Katrina Miller’s pages spill out compelling life stories of Deaf inmates who find themselves behind bars and without services that are typically given to hearing inmates. Written for sign language interpreters, social workers, police, correctional officers and the Deaf Community, Dr. Miller’s book will be informative to attorneys working on cases involving Deaf clients who are in jail or prison. Dr. Miller’s book is based on her doctoral dissertation published in 2001 where she described the background and crimes of 99 deaf inmates in the Estelle Unit in Huntsville State Prison in Huntsville Texas. (Forensic Issues of Deaf Offenders, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas). Much of the book includes many interviews Dr. Miller conducted with the Deaf inmates. Dr. Miller provides statistics on the kinds of crimes Deaf inmates committed as well as information on services they need and barriers they face in the prison environment. There is also a section on deaf signs used in prison that are linguistically different than signs used outside the prison walls. The book presents many interviews of deaf inmates and the reader can learn from the inmates “first-hand” how it feels to be Deaf and in prison—all of which riveted this reader to the page.
Here’s another article from Mother Jones, by James Ridgeway.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Americans with Disabilities Act, Deaf in Prison, Felix Garcia, Handcuffs, Hearing Impaired, Injustice, Interpreter, James Ridgeway, Mother Jones, Pat Bliss | Leave a comment »
If hearing people can’t get a fair shake during an arrest procedure, think how the Deaf must fare.
Originally posted on CrimeDime:
You have to watch this video twice. The first time, you will be mesmerized by this law professor’s raw talent for averaging 22.6 words per second with an unmatched ability to simultaneously entertain, wave his hand around, chew gum, rub his belly, and pat the top of head without breathing. Okay, I exaggerated. But only a little.
The second time you watch the video, you can actually pay attention to the content. James Duane gives seven reasons to aspiring attorneys that their clients should never talk to the police.
1. There is no way it can help.
2. If your client is guilty — and even if he is innocent — he may admit his guilt with no benefit in return.
3. Even if your client is innocent and denies his guilt and mostly tells the truth, he can easily get carried away and tell some little lie or make…
View original 245 more words
This is the finished version of the video we embedded in March. The original video was uploaded to YouTube by ASLKimber, and is a summation of an article written by McCay Vernon. We thank her for allowing us to use it.
The Miranda Warning and Waiver continues to be administered inappropriately to deaf suspects by police officers. This research article adds to a growing base of other research demonstrating how difficult the Miranda Warning is to read as well as to comprehend even with an ASL interpreter for most deaf suspects.
This article attached below is based on the research of the late Dr. Boley Seaborn. He developed the Miranda Warning and Waiver Test (MWWT-ASL). This is a bilingual test to assess the deaf person’s comprehension of the Miranda in written English and in ASL. The six-item MWWT-ASL was administered to 34 participants. Group 1 (n = 10) were deaf graduate students in Deaf Education who read at the 10th grade level or above. Group 2 (n = 14) were postsecondary deaf students at a community college whose reading levels ranged from sixth to eighth grade. Group 3 (n =10) were deaf postsecondary students in community college who read at the first to the third grade reading level. Dr. Seaborn found that deaf adults who are reading at the eighth grade level or below would be linguistically incompetent to understand the Miranda warning and waiver even if it is presented in both languages: ASL and English.
They need policies and procedures for folks who are deaf. People just assume that a deaf person understands what they are saying.
Kevin Williams, an attorney for Timothy Siaki
[Editor's note: The following is a transcribed article by Monte Whaley of the Denver Post - dated 11/26/2011.]
When Adams County sheriff’s deputies knocked down the motel-room door of a deaf couple, slammed the man to the ground and locked him in jail for 25 days without providing a sign-language interpreter, they violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, a federal lawsuit says.
Lawyers for Timothy Siaki claim the man was not provided an interpreter until he went to court on Domestic assault charges last year. Siaki eventually was cleared of the charges, said Kevin Williams, an attorney who filed the suit on behalf of Siaki and his fiancée, Kimberlee Moore.
“There were 25 days of his life that he had access to nothing – no information on why he was being held, no information about his case or what was going to happen to him,” Williams said.
SUIT: Man held for 25 days, allegedly with no ability to communicate
The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition advocacy group is also a plaintiff in the suit. Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr is named as the defendant.
An Adams County Sheriff’s Office spokesman on Friday did not have any comment on the lawsuit, saying officials needed to review it first.
The suit asks for damages for Siaki and Moore and to find that Adams County is violating the ADA by not providing an interpreter nor auxiliary aids for deaf suspects during their arrest and booking process.
The suit clams Adams County also does not provide aids and services to deaf inmates to communicate with people outside the jail while the same privileges are provided for those with normal hearing.
“They need policies and procedures for folks who are deaf,” Williams said. “People just assume that a deaf person understands what they are saying.”
Williams said the coalition recently settled a similar case against the Lakewood Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. The settlements require very specific policies for compliance with the ADA to ensure deaf people can communicate with police officers and jail deputies.
According to the lawsuit, Siaki and Moore were staying at a Super 8 Motel at 5888 Broadway on May 14, 2010 when they began arguing.
Both communicate by American Sign Language, as Siaki does not speak, read or write English. He also does not read lips. Moore has a limited ability to speak, read and write in English and can occasionally read lips the suit said.
Like many deaf people, Siaki and Moore both “verbalize sounds which, to a person who is not deaf or who is unfamiliar, may sound like the deaf person is speaking loudly or abruptly,” according to the suit.
Their fight resulted in a noise complaint. Two Adams County deputies broke down the motel room door, entered with their guns drawn and ordered Siaki to the floor, the suit said.
Both deputies learned after their arrival that Siaki was deaf. But since he was unable to understand the deputies’ commands, one of the deputies grabbed Siaki’s left arm and forced him to the floor.
The deputy also said Siaki refused to write down his version of the events. Moore, meanwhile, tried to tell the deputies that Siaki did not hurt her but could not because she was not provided an interpreter or any aids.
The two were separated, and Siaki was evaluated by medical intake personnel at the jail. Still, he was not provided a sign-language interpreter.
Siaki stayed in jail fr0m May 15 until June 10, unable to comprehend jail policies and procedures, the suit said.
He was eventually assigned a public defender, and he was cleared in the criminal case, Williams said.
“To this day,” he said, “we don’t know why he was held for 25 days.”
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