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Good News Report
DRLC Newsletter

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sheriffs Bar Inmates with Disabilities From Using Wheelchairs in LA County Jails, Punish Them by Denying Accessible Cells 

LA County Twin Towers Correctional Facility
L.A. County Twin Towers Correctional Facility

The Disability Rights Legal Center, ACLU of Southern California, Disability Rights California, and Winston & Strawn LLP, filed an application for a temporary restraining order against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on behalf of an inmate with a mobility impairment. The inmate, Terry Alexander, needs a wheelchair but is being punished by the Sheriff's Department for refusing an order from the Sheriff's Department to relinquish it. Alexander is a class member in the class action lawsuit Johnson v. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which was filed in 2008 against the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles County on behalf of inmates with mobility impairments. The plaintiffs argue that the jails are not wheelchair accessible, and that inmates are denied mobility devices such as wheelchairs, crutches, walkers or canes, even though they have been prescribed by a doctor. Inmates with mobility impairments also suffer discrimination because they are denied access to jail programs and services, including those that may reduce time served. They are also placed in cells that are not wheelchair accessible, and people have fallen because there are no grab bars to help transfer  to the toilet. Some are denied equal access to shower facilities. All of these incidents are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, California and federal statutes, and the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

Read the press release
DRLC Sues District That Prevents Boy with Autism
From Bringing Service Dog to School

Cypress School District in Orange County is refusing to allow a six-year-old boy with severe autism to bring his service dog to school. By denying the child with a disability his legally required accommodation, the district is violating his civil rights. On May 3, the Disability Rights Legal Center, along with co-counsel, Winston & Strawn LLP, filed a motion for preliminary injunction in federal court compelling the district to accommodate the child's use of his service dog. Diagnosed when he was two-years-old, the boy's autism is severe. He is non-verbal, has a low cognitive level and difficulty interacting with others. His service dog Eddy, a Golden Retriever, was trained by Autism Service Dogs of America for nearly two years, beginning when Eddy was eight weeks old. As part of the dog's training he was placed in a special education class with children who have autism. "By not allowing this student to bring his service dog to school, the district is damaging the bond between him and his service dog, thereby making his service dog less effective in his daily life," said Shawna Parks, Legal Director of the Disability Rights Legal Center. "Schools are still behind the times when it comes to service dogs for students with autism. But when you look at the research and track record of these dogs it is clear they are very effective. Moreover, the law is explicit that people with disabilities have a right to use their service dogs, including at public schools." Read the press release

Steve Cuellar to Receive Award From
Legal Aid Association of California
LAAC logo
LAAC logo

Steve Cuellar, DRLC Litigation Assistant, was selected for an Award of Merit from the Legal Aid Association of California for his exemplary work in improving access to justice as a paralegal at the Disability Rights Legal Center. Mr. Cuellar was cited for his emphatic handling of client's legal issues as well as his outstanding professionalism and good nature. The Association will present the award to Mr. Cuellar at a June 7th reception in Los Angeles.

Jamie Ledezma Participates in Northern Indiana
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Jamie Ledezma at Komen Race in Indiana
Jamie Ledezma staffing table at Susan G. Komen Northern Indiana Race for the Cure

Jamie Ledezma, Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) Staff Attorney, joined 2,000 participants at the Third Annual Susan G. Komen Northern Indiana Race for the Cure in South Bend, Indiana, last weekend. Komen Northern Indiana awarded the CLRC a grant to provide essential cancer-related legal information and resources to the Northern Indiana breast cancer community. Ms. Ledezma offered a wealth of information on various topics including clinical trials, financial assistance and disability insurance to dozens of race participants, attendees and other grantees at the CLRC Booth and was also available to answer questions for patients, survivors, caregivers and health care professionals

Save The Date

Hold Saturday Night July 23 for 'Casino Angeleno'

 Casino Angeleno icon

The Cancer Legal Resource Center's Casino Night event is back by popular demand! The CLRC will be hosting its "Casino Angeleno" summer event on Saturday, July 23, 2011, sponsored by our exclusive "Baccarat Sponsor" Ticketmaster®. Set on the rooftop deck of the Petersen Automotive Museum, with the Hollywood Hills as a spectacular backdrop, guests will enjoy a starry, summer night of guilt-free gaming, music and prizes. Proceeds will benefit the CLRC. For sponsorship opportunities, download the sponsorship packet, or contact Joanna Morales at joanna.morales@lls.edu. Event details will be posted at www.cancerlegalresourcenter.org in May.

DRLC Offers Free Legal Clinic in Orange County


Photo of Dayle McIntosh Center
Dayle McIntosh Center

To better serve residents of Orange County, Community Outreach Program staff will hold office hours on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Dayle McIntosh Center in Garden Grove. That means this month we will host office hours at the center on May 11 and May 25. Come meet our staff and learn about laws protecting the civil rights of those with disabilities, and services available to them, including health care, special education, government services and more. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Maggie Hui, Community Outreach Program Coordinator, at (213) 736-1408 or Maggie.Hui@lls.edu. Video TDD (213) 736-8310; Video Relay Number (866) 912-8193. The Dayle McIntosh Center is located at 13272 Garden Grove Boulevard, Garden Grove, CA 92843-2205.


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DRLC Staff Photo August 2010
Disability Rights Legal Center Staff Photo August 2010