Mark Valimont received a summons to serve on a southern Minnesota grand jury in late 2015, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Valimont, who is deaf, was eager to serve.
He requested a sign-language interpreter -- and soon after that he learned that he had been excused from duty.
Now Valimont is suing in U.S. District Court, on the grounds that that his “involuntary” excusal amounted to discrimination. He is also asking the judge to require court staff to be trained for such cases in the future.
In a federal civil complaint filed this week, an attorney said Valimont told court officials he didn’t want to be excused from grand jury service. But the court “did not correct its error,” according to Rick Macpherson III, an attorney with the Minnesota Disability Law Center who took on Valimont’s case pro bono.
Valimont is calling for training for district court judges, administrators and staff in charge of selecting people to serve on Minnesota grand juries. He’s also asking that juries be provided with American Sign Language interpreters “or other appropriate auxiliary aids requested” and for changes to juror questionnaires to avoid similar confusion in the future, Macpherson said.
Valimont is suing the state and its judicial branch, the Minnesota Judicial Council, State Court Administrator’s Office and the Third Judicial District’s court administrator.
Rick Macpherson III, an attorney with the Minnesota Disability Law Center who took on Valimont’s case pro bono, said Valimont had been excited about grand jury duty and felt “swatted down” when he was excused.
Read the full story: