Complaints against Interpreters
The Maine Judicial Branch is committed to ensuring that all people have access to justice. For those individuals who are not fluent in English, access to justice may require the assistance of interpreters. The Administrative Office of the Courts oversees interpreter services for the Maine Judicial Branch and, as a part of that function, maintains the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters. That roster comprises a group of interpreters who may be assigned to provide interpreting services in the courts of Maine. When an interpreter is provided by the Judicial Branch, the Branch must have confidence in and be able to rely on the skills, performance and integrity of that interpreter and, for that reason, the opportunity to be included on the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters is at the complete discretion of the State Court Administrator.
A written, signed complaint that an interpreter has acted in a manner inconsistent with the Standards of Professional Conduct for Interpreters Providing Services in Judicial Proceedings or has otherwise acted in a manner that calls into question the interpreter's ability to work effectively in court may be sent to:
Access to Justice Coordinator
Administrative Office of the Courts
PO Box 4820 Portland, ME 04112-4820
A complaint may be submitted in an acceptable alternative format.
The complaint shall state the nature of the alleged improper conduct. If possible, the complaint shall also include the date, time, and place of the alleged improper conduct, and the name, title and telephone number of possible witnesses.
Once the written complaint is received, it will be reviewed by the Access to Justice Coordinator (AJC). If the AJC determines that the allegations, if true, would not constitute grounds for possible corrective action, the AJC will dismiss the complaint and will notify the complainant of the dismissal. The notification shall include an explanation of the reason(s) for the AJC's determination that the complaint does not allege conduct that would be grounds for corrective action. The AJC will also notify the interpreter that a complaint was filed and dismissed. The AJC's determination that a complaint is to be dismissed shall be final.
If the AJC determines that the allegations, if true, would constitute grounds for corrective action, the AJC may consult with one or more members of the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Advisory Committee and may also gather information in order to determine whether the complaint should be investigated. If the AJC determines that an investigation is warranted, the AJC will advise the complainant that the complaint is being sent to the interpreter. The AJC will then send a letter to the interpreter, notifying him/her of the investigation, and will include a copy of the complaint. That letter will also notify the interpreter whether any change in his or her status on the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters will occur, pending investigation of the complaint. While a complaint is pending, the AJC may allow the interpreter to remain on the court's roster of interpreters, or may suspend the interpreter from the roster. If the AJC suspends the interpreter from the roster, pending investigation, the AJC shall notify the Clerks of Court of the suspension.
If the interpreter wishes to respond to the complaint, the interpreter shall have 21 days from the date the notice of the complaint was sent to him or her to respond in writing. The deadline for responding shall be included in the notice of the complaint. In his/her discretion, and at the request of the interpreter, the AJC may allow the interpreter an additional period of time to respond. This additional period shall not exceed 28 days.
During the investigation, the AJC will evaluate all available information concerning the complaint. As part of the investigation, the AJC may consult with one or more members of the LEP Advisory Committee. At the conclusion of the review, the AJC will make a final determination as to the appropriate disposition.
If the AJC determines that there are no grounds for corrective action, the AJC will dismiss the complaint and will notify the complainant of the dismissal. The notification shall include an explanation of the reason(s) for the AJC's determination that no grounds for corrective action exist. The AJC will also notify the interpreter of the dismissal. The AJC's determination that a complaint is to be dismissed shall be final.
If the AJC determines that there are grounds for corrective action, the AJC may take any appropriate action. Such action may include, but is not limited to issuing a reprimand, issuing a corrective order that requires the interpreter to take some action in order to return to or be retained on the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters, removing the interpreter from the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters for a specified period of time, and removing the interpreter from the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters permanently. The AJC will notify the interpreter and complainant of the outcome in writing. The AJC's determination that corrective action is warranted and the AJC's determination of the appropriate corrective action shall both be final.