Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Trainings Available From the CILSF's Advocacy Program

Trainings are available from Marc Dubin, Esq., Director of Advocacy at the CIL of South Florida. 

Marc has expertise in the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Fair Housing Act, and Domestic Violence. He served as a Senior Trial Attorney at the Justice Department from 1993-2005, in the Disability Rights Section, in Washington, DC. In that capacity, he was responsible for nationwide enforcement of the ADA and of Section 504 on behalf of the United States. In addition, he was a prosecutor for ten years, and is an expert in the prosecution of cases involving domestic violence. He also served as Special Counsel at the Justice Department, in the Office of Violence Against Women, from 1994-1995, where he assisted the Director of the Office and the Attorney General in implementation of the Violence Against Women Act. Since 1995, he has also operated CAVNET (Communities Against Violence Network –www.cavnet.org), an international organization enhancing collaboration among experts, researchers, and advocates addressing violence against women. He may be contacted at mdubin@pobox.com or at 305-896-3000 (mobile).

Trainings are provided as guidance, not legal advice, and do not create an attorney-client relationship.
Contact Marc to schedule a training.


Overview of the ADA and Section 504 – Rights and Obligations

Employment Discrimination and the ADA – What You Need to Know About Title I of the ADA

The ADA and State and Local Governments – Title II of the ADA

The ADA and Businesses – Title III of the ADA

Service Animals and the ADA 

Federal Enforcement and Businesses– How to Avoid a Civil Penalty of up to $150,000 for Violating Title III of the ADA

Drive By Lawsuits – What Are They and What Do Businesses Need to Know?

Disaster Services and People with Disabilities – How Do the ADA and Section 504 Apply? Rights and Responsibilities

Homeless Shelters and People with Disabilities - How Do the ADA and Section 504 Apply? Rights and Responsibilities

What Doctors and Hospitals Need to Know About Communicating with Patients Who Are Deaf
- Obligations Under the ADA and Section 504

What Lawyers Need to Know About Communicating with Clients Who Are Deaf - Obligations Under the ADA and Section 504

What the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities Need to Know About Their Rights Under the ADA and Section 504

Housing Discrimination – What Housing Providers Need to Know About Assistance Animals and the Fair Housing Act

Housing Discrimination – Reasonable Accommodations and the Fair Housing Act

Getting Out of Your Nursing Home and Into the Community – The ADA and Olmstead

Building Codes and the ADA – What’s the Difference, and What Do Building Code Officials Need to Know About ADAAG?

What Are ADA Coordinators, and what Do They Do?

Crime Victims with Disabilities – What Victim Service Programs Need to Know to Enhance Services, and How the ADA and Section 504 Apply

Domestic Violence Shelters Discrimination on the Basis of Disability – How the ADA and Section 504 Apply to Domestic Violence Shelters

What is Domestic Violence?

Custody Battles When There is a History of Domestic Violence – A Discussion About What Judges, Guardians, and Lawyers Need to Know

Crime Victims with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – What Victim Service Programs, Judges, Lawyers, and Parents Need to Know

How To File a Federal Complaint About Discrimination on the Basis of Disability That Will Get Attention

What Does the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department Do?

What Resources Are Available to Learn About the ADA and Section 504?

Police Training – How To Enhance Services to Crime Victims with Disabilities?
Police Training – How Do Title II of the ADA and Section 504 Apply to Us?

Police Training – Victims, Witnesses, and Suspects Who Are Deaf – What Do the ADA and Section 504 Require of Police Departments?

Police Training – Victims, Witnesses, and Suspects with Autism

Police Training – What Are TTYs and Video Remote Interpreters, and How Do I Use Them?

Police Training – Service Dogs -  What Are They and What Do Police Officers Need to Know?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Justice Department Opens Civil Rights Investigation of Death of Inmate and Conditions in Florida Prisons

The Center for Independent Living of South Florida, in conjunction with Stop Prison Abuse Now (SPAN), and other groups and individuals concerned about the death of inmate Darren Rainey (an inmate with mental illness who was scalded to death), and concerned about the treatment of inmates with mental illness in Florida prisons, has been working to get the Justice Department to open a federal investigation. 

Today, the Miami Herald reported that "The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has begun a criminal investigation into the death of Darren Rainey, the 50-year-old inmate who was locked in a shower that had been converted into a scalding torture chamber at Dade Correctional Institution." 


According to the article:

"The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of Florida also are questioning witnesses in connection with alleged atrocities in the prison’s mental health ward, including a practice of starving inmates so severely that they would snap off sprinkler-heads, flooding their cells and violating fire codes, so they would be arrested and sent to the county jail, where they would be fed.

Rainey’s death nearly three years ago, along with subsequent stories about rampant inmate abuse as well as a record number of deaths in Florida’s prisons, has spawned demands for an overhaul of the Florida Department of Corrections. The agency’s inspector general, Jeffery Beasley, has been accused of trying to whitewash suspicious deaths, medical neglect cases and corruption. He himself is the subject of a state investigation after four of his subordinates stated under oath this year that he asked them to sideline cases that would give the agency “a black eye.’’

For more than a year, the Miami Herald has investigated claims, interviewed witnesses and reviewed hundreds of records from current and former inmates and staff at Dade Correctional, located on the edge of the Everglades south of Homestead. Alleged abuses included sexual assaults by officers against inmates, racially motivated beatings and the withholding of food from inmates in one wing of the mental health ward."  Continued at  http://www.miamiherald.com/news/special-reports/florida-prisons/article21429693.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, May 15, 2015

Department of Justice Opens Voting Rights Investigation of California Judiciary


Department of Justice Opens Voting Rights Investigation of California Judiciary


In July 2014, the Disability and Abuse Project of Spectrum Institute filed a complaint with the Department of Justice alleging systematic violations of the voting rights of people with developmental disabilities by the Los Angeles Superior Court.  The complaint has been under review by the DOJ for several months.


The Department of Justice issued a letter today informing the Judicial Council of California that it has opened a formal investigation based on this complaint.  However, rather than merely investigating the Los Angeles Superior Court, the DOJ is investigating the policies and practices of the Judicial Branch statewide.


Thomas F. Coleman, legal director of the Disability and Abuse Project, received a phone call today from DOJ staff attorney Elizabeth Johnson informing him of the investigation.  The call came from the offices of the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division in Washington D.C.


Coleman is elated that what started with one case (Stephen Lopate) and became a class-based complaint against one county court, has now been expanded into a statewide investigation.  


“The timing of this investigation is perfect,” Coleman said.  “The power of the federal government focused on the voting rights of limited conservatees is putting wind in our sails as we take on larger issues, such as bad lawyering by court-appointed attorneys who represent adults with developmental disabilities.”


The voting rights complaint may be resolved rather quickly.  Senate Bill 589 will be voted on by the full Senate on May 18 and will move on to the Assembly where it should get quick passage.  That bill will guarantee that people in conservatorships will retain the right to vote as long as they can express a desire to vote.  


“No more illegal literacy tests,” said Coleman.  “If a person can indicate they want to vote, they will allowed to vote – that’s what SB 589 will do.”  The ACLU sponsored SB 589 as a follow up measure to last year’s AB 1311 which was prompted by work of the Disability and Abuse Project.  AB1311 created a partial remedy by denying judges the authority to disqualify a conservatee from voting just because they had help from someone in completing a voter registration form.


While the DOJ voting rights investigation is proceeding, the Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee of the Judicial Council will be considering a set of proposals to tackle the problem of poor advocacy by court-appointed lawyers.  Proposals, submitted by the Disability and Guardianship Project of Spectrum Institute on May 1 will get their first review by the advisory committee at its meeting in July.  


Coleman hopes that the review of those proposals will move quickly, but new rules imposing stricter performance standards for court-appointed attorneys can’t be adopted quickly enough according to Coleman.


“We just finished a two-year review in a conservatorship case in Los Angeles and what we found is appalling,” Coleman said.  “The lawyer violated every ethical rule and performance standard in the books, and she committed the violations with knowledge of the judge in the case.”


A 60-page report on that case will be released on June 1.  It will be distributed to judges and lawyers throughout California as an example of how people with developmental disabilities have been denied their constitutional right to an attorney who actually advocates for them.


“The issue of voting rights violations is bad enough,” Coleman said.  “But it is just the tip of an iceberg of other constitutional violations, violations that make people with disabilities suffer and that have been allowed to continue for far too long.”


Dr. Nora J. Baladerian, executive director of the Disability and Abuse Project, is encouraged by the decision of the Department of Justice to investigate the California judiciary.  “The legal system is failing people with developmental disabilities who come into contact with the limited conservatorship system,” Baladerian said.  “We are in this for the long haul and intend to file other complaints with the federal government until this entire mess is cleaned up.”



For more information, contact:  Thomas F. Coleman, 818-482-4485


To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to cando+unsubscribe@disability-abuse.com.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Disasters and People with Disabilities - What Do You Want To Know About Services In a Disaster?

As hurricane season approaches, people with disabilities, and others,  once again have to make some difficult decisions. And they need crucial informaton in order to make critical decisions.

How do I know a disaster is coming? Where do I get my information, and will it be conveyed in accessible formats and through sign language interpreters?

What are my sheltering options? What types of shelters are offered by my community, and what services are provided?

What questions do I have, and to whom do I turn for answers?

How do I prepare for hurricane season?

The Center for Independent Living of South Florida wants to to help you get the answers. We work collaboratively with Miami Dade County and others to share information and resources, to ask questions, and to get answers.

If you want to join our Disability Advocacy Council and focus on disaster issues, please let us know. Contact Marc Dubin, Esq., Director of Advocacy, at mdubin@pobox.com, or at 1-305-896-3000 or call Mary Fountain at the CIL, at 305-751-8025.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Self Evaluation and Transition Plans

  • The revised ADA Title II regulations do not require state or local government entities to do a new or updated self-evaluation or transition plan.  However, the Department of Justice urges state or local governments to establish procedures for an ongoing assessment of their compliance with the ADA's obligation to ensure all programs are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities (http://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/toolkitmain.htm ).  Regularly updating the self-evaluations and transition plans can help government entities monitor their compliance and stay on track with making changes to improve accessibility.
    If a state and local government entity has not yet conducted a self-evaluation, it is recommended that they do so to identify any barriers to its programs, activities and services. A self-evaluation helps government entities identify areas of non-compliance and develop specific strategies to bring all policies and practices into compliance. Areas include but are not limited to:
    • structural changes needed to provide access to programs, activities and services;
    • policy modifications to ensure nondiscrimination; and
    • providing public notice that includes (i) explanation of the application of the ADA to the state and local governments programs, activities, and services; (ii) contact information for the employee who is designated to address ADA compliance issues; and (iii) information on the grievance procedure.
    The self-evaluation plan should identify strategies to remove barriers, prioritize strategies, and provide a timeline for implementation. As new programs, activities and services are developed, it is important to review facilities to ensure compliance with the 2010 ADA Standards. 

Subscribe to our ADA Expertise Listserv and get information sent directly to your inbox. To subscribe, send an email to Marc Dubin, Esq., at mdubin@pobox.com. Include your name and contact information, and write "subscribe to ADA listserv."

Service Dogs and Taxis

Yes, this is a violation of the ADA. Taxicab companies may not refuse to provide services to individuals with disabilities. Private taxicab companies are also prohibited from charging higher fares or fees for transporting individuals with disabilities and their service animals than they charge to other persons for the same service.  The owner must have the service animal under control and the animal must be housebroken.
A person traveling with a service animal:
  • cannot be denied access to transportation, even if there is a “no pets” policy
  • cannot be forced to sit in a particular spot
  • does not have to provide advance notice that he or she will be traveling with a service animal 
These laws apply to both public and private transportation providers and include subways, fixed route buses, paratransit, rail and light rail, taxicabs, shuttles and limousine services.


Subscribe to our ADA Expertise Listserv and get information sent directly to your inbox. To subscribe, send an email to Marc Dubin, Esq., at mdubin@pobox.com. Include your name and contact information, and write "subscribe to ADA listserv."

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