U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Coordination and Review Section P.O. BOX 66118 Washington, D.C.

20035-6118 XX XX DEC 19 1994

RE: Complaint Number XX (Circuit Court of Berkeley County) Complaint Number XX (Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia) Dear Ms. XX : This letter constitutes our Letter of Findings with respect to the complaint you filed on behalf of your husband with the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, coordination and Review section, alleging violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) by the Circuit Court of Berkeley County, West Virginia, and the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Title II prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability by State and local governments. Specifically, you stated that the Circuit Court violated Title II when it granted the bondsman's request to be released of responsibility for your husband's bail and, later, when it refused to reinstate the bail. You further stated that the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals violated Title II when it denied your husband's appeal to have his bail reinstated. You allege that these actions were taken on the basis of your husband's mental disability, (post-traumatic stress syndrome). The Coordination and Review Section has completed its investigation of your complaint. We do not find any reason to believe that the Circuit Court or the Supreme Court of Appeals has violated Title II for the reasons explained below.

01-00237 -2Facts Your husband was arrested for assault and robbery on XX . Your husband has been diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress syndrome. On May 1, 1988, you paid a bondsman a $5,000 fee for posting a $50,000 bail. Your husband never went to trial because he was declared incompetent to stand trial at numerous status hearings. After each status hearing, he was committed to Weston State Hospital or the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Martinsburg for treatment and evaluation. At a status hearing an March 14, 1990, the bondsman requested to be relieved of responsibility for your husband's bail because of the length of the case. The judge granted the bondsman's request. The bondsman retained the fee. The amount of bail remained the same and the court stated that bail could be posted through another bondsman, which would require another $5,000 fee. On September 1, 1992, the judge refused to reinstate the original bail. On October 16, 1992, the West Virginia Supreme Court denied your husbands appeal to have his original bail reinstated. Your husband continued to go back and forth between jail and the hospital for treatment. West Virginia law allows for the granting of bail to a person arrested for an offense not punishable by life imprisonment. (WV St 62-1C-1) The continuance of the bail is directed by the court that initiated the bail. The denial of bail may be reviewed by the lower appellate court and, if necessary, by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Legal Requirements Under Title II, "no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation

in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any public entity." (28 C.F.R. 35.130(a)) Title II further requires that a public entity not deny a qualified individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in or benefit from one of its programs or afford a qualified individual with a disability an opportunity to participate in and benefit from its programs that is not equal to that afforded others. (28 C.F.R. 35.130 (b)(1)(i) and (ii)) Analysis The Circuit Court relieved the bondsman of the responsibility for your husband's bail after two years because of the length of time that the charges had been pending. Because this happened on March 14, 1990, prior to January 26, 1992, the effective date of Title II, this action is not covered by Title II of the ADA. 01-00238 -3The defendant has a right to petition for reinstatement of bail and to appeal a denial of the petition to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Your husband petitioned the Circuit Court of Berkeley to have his original bail reinstated and the petition was denied on September 1, 1992. He filed an appeal with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, and the appeal was denied on September 29, 1992. We have determined that the Circuit Court and the Supreme Court of Appeals adhered to the prescribed procedures concerning bail. The reason the Circuit Court relieved the bondsman of his responsibility for your husband's bail was the length of time that charges had been pending against your husband. We find that this reason is both legitimate and nondiscriminatory. The Circuit Court reaffirmed its decision when it refused to reinstate the original bail. The Supreme Court of Appeals also concurred with the action of the Circuit Court when it denied your husband's appeal to have his original bail reinstated. Based upon the facts and legal requirements discussed above, we have determined that the Circuit Court and the Supreme Court of Appeals are not in violation of Title II with respect to the decisions they made not to reinstate your husband's original bail. If you are dissatisfied with our determination concerning

these entities, you may file a private complaint in the appropriate United States District Court under Title II of the ADA. You and your husband should be aware that no one may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or engage in other discriminatory conduct against anyone because he or she has either taken action or participated in an action to secure rights protected by the ADA. Any individual alleging such harassment or intimidation may file a complaint with the Department of Justice. We would investigate such a complaint if the situation warrants. Under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, it may be necessary to release this document and related correspondence and records upon request. However, if such a request is made, we will seek to protect, to the extent provided by law, personal information which, if released, could constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

01-00239 ​ -4If you have any questions concerning this letter, please feel free to call Linda King at (202) 307-2231. Sincerely,

Merrily A. Friedlander Acting Chief Coordination and Review Section Civil Rights Division cc: Circuit Court of Berkeley County Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

01-00240