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For immediate release: December 8, 2008
For further information contact: Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig

Judiciary Names Brenda Carrasquillo Manager of Language Services

Brenda Carrasquillo has been named the new manager of language services for the New Jersey Judiciary, Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrative director of the courts, has announced. Carrasquillo succeeds Robert Joe Lee, who will retire effective Dec. 31 after nearly 31 years with the courts.

"Our efforts to ensure access to the courts for persons with limited English proficiency are critical to our mission of building and maintaining the public's trust and confidence. Ms. Carrasquillo has demonstrated a commitment to excellence that has served us well. She is an excellent choice to lead the Judiciary in this important area," said Judge Grant.

In 1982, Supreme Court Justice Robert N. Wilentz formed the Supreme Court Task Force on Interpreter and Translation Services for the courts. As a result of the task force's recommendations in 1985, a permanent program was approved to ensure equal access to the courts for those with limited English proficiency (LEP). Lee, who had served as a researcher and assistant chief in the probation services division for the Judiciary since 1978, was asked to serve as chief of the new unit charged with the development of statewide standards and uniform policies for interpreted proceedings.

New Jersey has become a national leader in providing high-quality interpreting services for litigants and witnesses with LEP. New Jersey has developed a comprehensive program including statewide interpreting policies and programs, testing, and translation of forms and other documents. Many aspects of the program have been adopted around the country by other courts seeking to emulate New Jersey's success.

In 2007, the latest year for which statistics are available, the Judiciary used a combination of staff interpreters, free-lance interpreters and telephone interpreters to provide interpreting services in 82 languages, including both spoken and sign languages such as American Sign Language. Interpreters assisted with almost 87,000 events, including trials, hearings, arraignments, conferences, and support services such as intake interviews and probation supervision contacts.

As the manager of language services, Carrasquillo will be responsible for a number of program areas, including credentialing court interpreters and legal translators; developing and monitoring policies and procedures that will ensure equal access for persons with limited English proficiency; developing training programs for judges, court staff and interns; collecting and analyzing data and maintaining the Registry of Interpreting Resources. She also will help the Judiciary comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act in providing services such as American Sign Language interpreters and services for deaf and hard-of-hearing litigants.

A graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia, Carrasquillo began her career in the financial services industry, first with the Securities and Exchange Commission, then at PNC Bank, where she worked as an account manager from 1986 to 2001. She joined the Judiciary in 2005 as a research associate at the Administrative Office of the Courts, working with judges and staff to draft statewide policies and procedures for approval by the Supreme Court or by the Judicial Council, a statewide body of managing judges.

"As a child, I frequently interpreted for my parents," said Carrasquillo, who speaks Spanish and English. "I know firsthand the frustration and anxiety caused by barriers to clear communication. I am eager to serve New Jersey's citizens, particularly those who do not speak English or who have hearing impairments, by working to ensure full access to the courts."

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