Monday, January 24, 2011

Disabled Attorneys Can't Get Into WPB Federal Courthouse.



Aren't the judges supposed to be enforcing the ADA, not possibly violating it:
Having spent 35 of his 59 years in a wheelchair, Boca Raton attorney Bob Pearce knows the needs of the disabled are often ignored. But he didn't expect to have his rights violated at the federal courthouse.
A routine hearing turned ugly when security guards blocked him from parking in one of six empty handicap spaces in the sprawling lot in front of the downtown courthouse.

The alternative they suggested, a public lot nearby, left him stranded atop a steep hill. He made it to the hearing after flagging down a stranger, who grabbed the handles of his chair and wheeled him safely down the incline.

But he was outraged. So was the judge.

"It's disgraceful," U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hurley said.

"The federal courts are the institution of government that enforces the Americans With Disabilities Act," he said. Instead, it appears it is violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the nearly 21-year-old landmark legislation that was designed to break down barriers and open up opportunities for the disabled.

And although the situation at the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach is problematic, Pearce and others said it's not unique. The rigors disabled people face getting to the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale aren't much better.
Hold on -- everyone faces difficulty getting into the Fort Lauderdale federal courthouse.  And it only gets worse once you actually get inside that thing.

But enough with these post 9/11  "berms" and "blast barriers" -- why does it have to feel like downtown Baghdad when you try to enter the old 70s federal courthouse (the Atkins courthouse) where all the mags are now?

That building already has plenty of problems from an architectural standpoint -- it's time we remove the barriers so it at least looks like a building where citizens are not actively discouraged from entering.

It's particularly ironic for that structure, given its steps, open courtyard and expansive design -- now all tightly closed with metal fencing and prominently surrounded by blockades, perhaps to prevent mad process servers from trying to ram their way into that crappy coffee shop upstairs.

1 comment:

  1. Those barriers are nonsense. Just more 'scare tactics' to keep us afraid so that we'll stay quite while the security industrial complex pics our pockets.

    ReplyDelete