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Charges of domestic violence against hearing impaired man dropped

A deaf man was detained in Adams County Detention Facility in 2010 after being arrested on domestic violence related charges. This individual was then detained without having any ability to communicate with the individuals in charge of the facility.

After spending 25 days in jail, all charges related to the alleged domestic violence incident were dropped. A lawsuit brought against the Adams County Sheriff's Department by both the man and woman supposedly involved in the domestic incident - both who also happen to be deaf - has now been settled out of court.

It appears that a number of miscommunications were responsible for this unfortunate incident. The entire circumstance might have been avoided if the suspect had immediately been provided with an advocate or attorney to communicate his concerns.

A significant problem with individuals being charged with domestic violence or similar charges is that those charged are generally provided little sympathy. It's for this reason that we cannot afford to presume guilt based on the type of charges made against any individual. This is especially true when it comes to charges such as domestic violence that stir up strong emotions.

Police that arrested the suspect, obviously unaware that they were dealing with a hearing impaired individual, apparently threw him to the floor and handcuffed him because deputies felt he was not listening to what they were saying. It has since been revealed that hearing impaired individuals like this individual at the detention facility have been provided no services or accommodations that would have allowed them to communicate their needs or help them to understand procedures.

Source: Denver Post, "Settlement calls for better services for deaf at Adams jail," Monte Whaley, Sep. 27, 2012

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