ADA/Americans with Disabilities Act
In accordance with California Rule of Court 1.100, it is the policy of the Superior Court of California County of Sonoma to assure that qualified individuals with disabilities have equal and full access to the judicial system.
To ensure effective communication, applicants, participants and members of the public with disabilities may make requests to the court as outlined in this policy. Court Administration and designated staff will make reasonable arrangements for auxiliary aids and/or services as necessary.
The Court, however, is not required to make any modifications nor take any action that would fundamentally alter the service, activity or program, or result in undue financial and administrative burdens.
Qualified Individuals with Disabilities:
Qualified individuals are persons covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which includes individuals who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities; have a record of such impairment; or are regarded as having such impairment.
Process for Requesting Accommodations:
Requests for accommodation should be made as far in advance of the date needed as possible, and, in any event, should be made no less than five court days prior to the date needed. The Court may, in its discretion, waive this requirement.
Applicants may request accommodations in writing, by telephone, or in person to Court Administration or the ADA coordinator at the office address listed at the end of this policy or at the trial court facility where the accommodation is required. Whenever possible, Judicial Council Form MC-410, Request for Accommodations by Persons with Disabilities and Order, should be completed and submitted to the Court.
Requests for accommodation should include a description of the accommodation sought, along with a statement of the impairment that necessitates such accommodation. The Court, in its discretion, may require the applicant to provide additional information about the qualifying impairment.
An individual with a disability will have the opportunity to request the auxiliary aid and/or service of his/her choice and will be consulted when the preferred type of auxiliary aid and/or service is not available or required to determine whether an alternative means of auxiliary aid and/or service will provide adequate access to the court.
The applicant shall be informed in writing that a request for accommodation is granted or denied in whole or in part, and the nature of the accommodation(s) to be provided, if any. Requests may be denied if the court finds that:
- The applicant has failed to meet the requirements as a qualified individual with disabilities as covered by ADA and related state and federal laws; or
- The requested accommodation(s) would create an undue financial or administrative burden on the court; or
- The requested accommodation(s) would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program or activity.
The Superior Court of California, County of Sonoma, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, allows service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the Court where the public is allowed to go.
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.
A service animal must be under the control of its handler. Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless the individual’s disability prevents using these devices or these devices interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of tasks. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
Please note: Emotional Support animals are not considered "Service Animals" per the Americans with Disabilities Act.
If a request for accommodation is denied or granted by non-judicial court personnel, the applicant, or any participant in the proceeding in which a request for accommodation has been made, may seek review of the determination within 10 days of the date of the notice of denial. A written request for review must be submitted to the judicial officer who will preside over the proceeding or to the Presiding Judge if the matter has not been assigned.
An applicant may seek a review of a determination made by a judicial officer within 10 days of the notice of denial by filing a petition for extraordinary relief in a court of superior jurisdiction.