September 24, 2010

The New York Civil Liberties Union says defendants in transit court are being illegally denied interpreters. The civil rights group makes the claim in a letter sent to New York City Transit on Thursday. Christopher Dunn, with the NYCLU, says there may be as many as 8,000 transit hearings a year where people require interpreters. "This is not some inadvertent oversight," Dunn said. "In the hearings that we saw, almost 40 percent of the hearings involved people who needed interpreter services. And the transit authority has quite expressed said it does not provide interpreter services." But Dunn said it's a pretty easy fix. "The Transit Authority right now provides interpreter services in over 140 languages for people who call up and need information," he said. "All they need to do is make that service available in their transit court." An MTA spokesman says officials are reviewing the letter and will comment at a later date.