Complaints against Interpreters
The Maine Judicial Branch is committed to ensuring that all people have access to justice. For those individuals who are not fluent in English, access to justice may require the assistance of interpreters.
The Administrative Office of the Courts oversees interpreter services for the Maine Judicial Branch and, as a part of that function, maintains the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters. That roster comprises a group of interpreters who may provide interpreting services in the courts of Maine.
When an interpreter is provided by the Judicial Branch, the Branch must have confidence in and be able to rely on the skills, performance and integrity of that interpreter and, for that reason, the opportunity to be included on the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters is at the complete discretion of the State Court Administrator or designee.
A written,1 signed complaint that an interpreter has acted in a manner inconsistent with the Standards of Professional Conduct for Interpreters Providing Services in Judicial Proceedings or has otherwise acted in a manner that calls into question the interpreter’s ability to work effectively in court may be sent to:
Communication Access Specialist
Administrative Office of the Courts
P.O. Box 4820
Portland, ME 04112-4820
The complaint shall state the nature of the alleged improper conduct. If possible, the complaint shall also include the date, time, and place of the alleged improper conduct, docket cumber for the proceeding, and the name, title and telephone number of possible witnesses.
Once the written complaint is received, it will be reviewed by the Communication Access Specialist (CAS), in consultation with the Manager of Civil Process and Court Access (MCPCA).
If the CAS determines that the allegations, if true, would not constitute grounds for possible disciplinary action, the CAS will dismiss the complaint and will notify the complainant of the dismissal. The notification shall include an explanation of the reason(s) for the CAS’s determination that the complaint does not allege conduct that would be grounds for discipline. The CAS will also notify the interpreter that a complaint was filed and dismissed. The CAS’s determination that a complaint is to be dismissed shall be final.
If the CAS determines that the allegations, if true, would constitute grounds for discipline, the CAS may gather additional information in order to determine whether the complaint should be investigated. If the CAS determines that an investigation is warranted, the CAS will send a letter to the interpreter, notifying him/her of the investigation, and will include details of the allegations made against him/her. That letter will also notify the interpreter whether any change in his or her status on the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters will occur, pending investigation of the complaint. While a complaint is pending, the CAS may allow the interpreter to remain on the court’s roster of interpreters, or may suspend the interpreter from the roster. If the CAS suspends the interpreter from the roster, pending investigation, the CAS shall update the court interpreter roster available to the court clerks.
If the interpreter wishes to respond to the complaint, the interpreter shall have 14 days from the date the notice of the complaint was sent to him or her to respond in writing.2 The deadline for responding shall be included in the notice of the complaint. In his/her sole discretion, and at the request of the interpreter, the CAS may allow the interpreter an additional period of time to respond. This additional period shall not exceed 28 days.
During the investigation, the CAS will evaluate all available information concerning the complaint. At the conclusion of the review, the CAS, in consultation with the MCPCA, will make a final determination as to the appropriate disposition.
If the CAS determines that there are no grounds for disciplinary action, the CAS will dismiss the complaint and will notify the complainant of the dismissal. The notification shall include an explanation of the reason(s) for the CAS’s determination that no grounds for discipline exist. The CAS will also notify the interpreter of the dismissal and reinstatement to the court interpreter roster, if the interpreter had been suspended pending investigation. The CAS’s determination that a complaint is to be dismissed shall be final.
If the CAS determines that there are grounds for discipline, the CAS may take any appropriate action. Such action may include, but is not limited to issuing a reprimand, issuing a corrective action plan that requires the interpreter to take some action in order to return to or be retained on the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters, removing the interpreter from the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters for a specified period of time, and removing the interpreter from the Judicial Branch roster of interpreters permanently.
If determination involves permanent removal from the roster, the CAS will submit the matter to the State Court Administrator or designee for appropriateness prior to implementation.
The CAS will notify the interpreter and complainant of the outcome in writing. The CAS’s determination that discipline is warranted, and the CAS’s determination of the appropriate discipline shall both be final.