News

  • August 20, 2018 - Pittsburgh: Executive Director McCormick conducted a training on implicit bias in legal decision making for the Allegheny County Bar Association.
  • August 14, 2018 - Philadelphia: the Commission held a meeting with newly-elected DA Larry Krasner to discuss death penalty studies, reforming pre-trial detention and legal financial obligations, and immigration issues. In attendance were Co-Chairs Winkelman and Hill Wilson, Jury Committee Chair Marks, Executive Director McCormick, Robert Listenbee and Judge Carolyn Temin.
  • July 27, 2018 - Philadelphia: Executive Director McCormick conducted a training for the District Attorney’s Office on language access and immigration issues in state courts.
  • June 21, 2018 – Philadelphia: Executive Director McCormick attended the second meeting of the Federal Jury Diversity Initiative.

More News >>

Upcoming Events

  • October 1, 2018 - The Pennsylvania Bar Association Minority Bar Committee is holding its Fall Conference.
  • October 17-18, 2018 - The Pennsylvanian Bar Association is holding its 10th Annual Diversity Summit focused on Minority and Women Lawyers’ Business Development.
  • October 25, 2018 – The Commission’s next Quarterly Meeting will be held in Harrisburg.
  • November 10, 2018 – Executive Director McCormick will speak on sexual harassment and assault at the fall retreat of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession.

More Events >>

view the report

The Interbranch Commission implements recommendations from the Report of The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial, and Gender Bias in The Justice System. View the Report

Members

  • Leonard J. Rivera, Esq. (Chair)
  • Judge Ida K. Chen
  • Pedro Cortes, Esq.
  • Katherine J. Gomez, Esq.
  • William Gonzalez, Esq.
  • Lisa M. Herbert, Esq.
  • Pearl Kim, Esq.
  • Andres Urdaneta

 

Reports

 

Interpreter Services Committee

Chaired by Leonard Rivera, Esq., the Interpreter Services Committee's overarching goal is to improve access among litigants of limited English proficiency to interpreter and translation services in the Commonwealth's courts and administrative agencies. The Committee’s current initiatives include:

  • education of state court judges on best practices when interacting with immigrant court users;
  • improving language access in the courts; and
  • outreach to limited English proficiency communities.

Immigrants in State Courts: On the basis of recent reports of how the fear of immigration enforcement has negatively impacted minority participation in Pennsylvania’s court system, Commission staff prepared a memo with these reports, relevant case law, and recommendations for the PA Supreme Court, to be found in the right-hand column. Along with further distribution of the memo, the Committee is working to bring more attention to these cases and to reports concerning some judges’ improper involvement in immigration matters in their courts.

Language Access: The Committee played a key role in the passage of Act 172, which established a certification system for court interpreters and mandated that interpreters be provided in certain court and most administrative proceedings. The Committee works closely with the Language Access Coordinator in the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts to educate Pennsylvania judicial districts about their responsibilities under the law and the state regulations regarding the provision of interpreter services. See the links under Reports, at right, for the website maintained by the Office of Interpreter Services for more information on interpreter services within the Pennsylvania court system, including the statewide roster of certified or otherwise qualified interpreters, guidelines for the procurement of interpreters, training sessions and bilingual court documents. See, also at right, a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer concerning the establishment of more stringent requirements for court interpreters in Pennsylvania.  

Education and Outreach: The Committee also collaborates with Widener University's Legal Education Institute to provide training for interpreters, judges, and attorneys on the proper use of interpreters in court and administrative proceedings. Additionally, this and following the release of the AOPC’s Language Access Plan, the Committee is compiling training materials for language access training seminars to share with District Attorney Offices, police departments, minority bar associations, and other non-profit organizations to encourage them to hold low-cost training sessions.

The Committee's past initiatives include:

  • a survey of the provision of interpreter services in administrative agency proceedings;
  • translation and publication of key court forms;
  • and other initiatives outlined in Chapter One of the Final Report of the Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System.