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No ADA Violation for Denying Deaf Arrestee Sign Language Interpreter

The deaf plaintiff complained that she was arrested without being provided an American Sign Language interpreter. (They did show her the Miranda warnings in writing.)

An arrest is not a "program or service" under the Americans with Disabilities Act, though there may be an ADA claim arising from an arrest if the arrestee is subject to discrimination (e.g., arrest because of behavior caused by the disability). There was probable cause for this arrest and in any case the officers provided all the accommodation required by providing written materials, since this plaintiff was able to communicate with them as a result. The court cites an unreported case in which a deaf prisoner's complaint about handcuffing inhibiting his communication was rejected because the prisoner was capable of oral communication. See: Patrice v. Murphy, 43 F.Supp.2d 1156 (W.D.Wash. 1999).

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Related legal case

Patrice v. Murphy