Deaf prisoner sues Onondaga County, NY over lack of sign-language interpreter at Justice Center
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A deaf inmate is suing Onondaga County over the lack of any sign language interpreters at the Justice Center jail.
Joseph Williams, 39, sued the county in federal court last week, claiming the county is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing an interpreter for him.
Williams has been totally deaf since birth, and learned to communicate only through American sign language, according to his lawsuit. He can’t read lips and has a limited ability to read and write, according to his lawyer, Josh Cotter of Legal Services of Central New York.
Williams has been at the Justice Center since November, when he was arrested on burglary charges related to a break-in at a Syracuse home in which copper pipes were stolen.