Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Judge Limits Sign Language in Courtroom

A Maryland judge has banned sign language in his courtroom--at least in the trial of Clarence Cepheus Taylor--unless it involves the court interpreters. Judge William Tucker is afraid it could jeopardize the outcome of the trial. Taylor is accused of sexually abusing seven female students at the Maryland School for the Deaf. The Howard County courtroom has a deaf defendant, deaf victims and some deaf witnesses. The unique rule is designed to prevent communication between those involved in the trial and spectators. The only signers are supposed to be the court interpreters and those who are communicating directly with those interpreters. Taylor told participants in the trial that anyone violating his sign language ban might be removed from the courtroom--and court officials have been brought in to keep an eye on the spectators for any signing. We first told you about the charges last December, which you can read about here. Read more about the trial going on now in the Baltimore Sun.


Deaf Pixie said...

Wonder Why Judge do not allowing the ASL interpreter for deaf person's right?

Anonymous said...

Deaf Pixie - the Judge is allowing ASL interpreter, yes.

The issue is - the Judge is saying other Deaf people cannot sign ASL inside courtroom. The Judge thinks that people signing ASL inside courtroom will be distracting and could cause problems. The Judge decided that who can sign ASL inside courtroom are interpreters and people that are testifying.

Interesting decision!

Janeen said...

Looks like interpreters are ok, but going around or behind them with 'secret messages' is not. Someone could be mean enough to sign a loved one's name while a witness is testifying, making that witness afraid to tell the truth.

Anonymous said...

don't get confused... do you see people (to be more specific- hearing people) TALKING casually in the court room? .... nope... we all know this.. deaf people tend to sign during everything.. like churches.. schools.. meeting.. training sessions.. and many more... we're used to it. we didn't realized that it's RUDE to others and i dont blame the judge for feeling nervous if deaf people signing in the background could release some unwanted information... so they aren't BANNING sign language in a way to oppress them, it's just a way to "remind" them that usually we need to SHUT UP.. hearing people do not talk in the court room and that implies to the deaf people too as well. so how do we keep that in control? by "limiting" sign language in the courtroom... i;m deaf myself and i support that. it's a distraction if people sign in the background.