Unrealistic Recommendations adopted by the Judicial Council

By Essam Elmahgoop, State-certified Arabic Interpreter

The following are some of the Administration Office of the Courts (AOC) adopted by the Judicial Council of California (JC) at its meeting on December 2, 1999. These recommendations went into effect on January l, 2000.

1. Mileage
Mileage will be provided as follows:
a. The interpreter travels sixty miles or more and travels outride of the country of his/her place of business.
b. The rate is $.31 per mile.
c. Higher rates may be paid by those trial courts in unique circumstances when they have limited or no interpreter resources living within the county or the county is of large geographical size.

2. Definition of the full- and half-day sessions
a. A half-day session is any portion of a consecutive four-hour period beginning between 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. and ending between 12 p.m. and 12:15 p.m., or beginning between 1 p.m. or 1:15 p.m. and ending between 5 p.m. and 5:15 p.m..
b. The full-day session is two half-day sessions, as defined above, within the same day.

3. Revised cancellation policy
A cancellation fee would be paid under the following conditions:
a. A contract is completed with the interpreter more than 24 hours or one business day in advance of the assignment, and
b. An assignment is canceled without 24-hour notice or one business day’s notice, for assignments beginning on the first business day of the workweek. In the case that an interpreter receives another assignment from a state trial court system or federal court, the canceling state trial court is entitled to an offset amount, up to the cancellation fee. The interpreter is to be compensated for the assignment up to a maximum of one full day.

The chair of the court Interpreters Advisory Panel (CIAP), Judge Lance Ito, did not attend the meeting as he had promised to, nor did he send anyone from the Panel to present our case to the JC and answer the questions some of the JC members had. It is hard to believe that he did not know in advance what would happen at the meeting.

The AOC took advantage of this fact and made its recommendations to the JC, making it appear that the CIAP had agreed to them, which was never the case. We can be assured that more disasters are coming our way. Stay tuned.