Marsha Graham, from AnotherBoomerBlog, has been a great supporter and an even greater asset to us, here at DeafInPrison.com. In her presentation at the Internationl Symposium on the Deaf and the Justice System, she drew a comparison between the Deaf and the insular Native American cultures she has also worked with, in Alaska.
She pointed out the similarities between the two cultures, stressing the linguistic and literacy limitations, making the point that if someone can’t understand what’s going on during a trial, they can’t be said to be competent in their own defense. She went on to stress the need for interpreters – or at the very least, some form of communication assistance – from the very first contact between law enforcement and members of the Deaf community.
Ms. Graham, also mentioned the case of Lashonn White, which we’ve covered, as well as the Felix Garcia Case. Ms. White, you may recall, was the woman who called the police after being attacked in her home. When the cruisers arrived, she ran out of her house, screaming and waving her arms – believing them to be her salvation. When she failed to stop her advance on the officers – unable to hear their commands to stop – they tased her multiple times, and put her in jail. She stayed there, unaware as to what was going on, for 4 days. Felix Garcia on the other hand is an individual whom we have been working – since our launch a year ago – to secure release for. Our contributor Pat Bliss, has been working directly with Felix on his case for many years prior to that.
Marsha also gave DeafInPrison.com a little well needed shout-out, which we gratefully appreciate. She mentioned Pat Bliss and our publisher, Joanne Greenberg, by name.
She stressed the need for interpreters, emphasized the advantages of live interpreting over C.A.R.T. and spelled out examples of where the justice system failed to provide adequate services for the Deaf. She also spoke of her own deafness, and how that impacted her abilities as a trial lawyer when working in noisy courtrooms. She said that judges want to move cases along, and become annoyed when interpreters are late, or when seemingly competent defendants request them. I found myself reminded of that old song, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, “The judge said guilty in a make believe trial, Slapped the sherrif on the back with a smile and said Suppers waiting at home, and I gotta get to it.”
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
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10 thoughts on “Marsha Graham’s Presentation at the Symposium”
Thank you for the nice summary. 🙂 I was speaking from just a few notes – no slides, no research paper and there was no video then. I hope to put together a white paper for publication in a legal journal from this symposium. Wish me luck!
Good luck, and we’d always be interested in publishing it here, if they drop the ball on you.