Non English Speaking Juriors Cannot Be Barred

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by diehardgator1, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. diehardgator1
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    diehardgator1 Well-Known Member

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    These radical left wing judges need to go how in the name of heaven can someone who does not speak and know English serve as a juror?


    "The New Mexico Supreme Court is cautioning the state's trial courts that citizens who don't speak English have the right to serve on juries.

    The court issued the admonition in a ruling that upholds an Albuquerque man's convictions for murder and other crimes in the bludgeoning death of his girlfriend and a subsequent armed robbery and stabbing.

    Michael Samora's appeal argued that his convictions should be reversed because the Bernalillo County court excused a Spanish-speaking prospective juror who had trouble understanding English

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/08/1...ico-court-says/?test=latestnews#ixzz2bsJHdmUH
  2. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    At a glance at just that article, it sounds more like dicta from the court than announcing the law of the state of New Mexico. Which is a relief. I'm curious how the juror was excused, also. Did the court excuse the juror on motion? If so by which party? Or did the court do it of its own volition? And how is it for that matter that neither party challenged. I mean, it's a negotiable obstacle, I guess, but I think a defendant could very reasonably be worried that a juror who had to rely on translated text and interpreted speech just couldn't fulfill their obligations in the trial.
  3. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    The "how" is easy, because there is no legal requirement to be proficient in English (or Spanish for that matter) to serve as a juror.
  4. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    There's no explicit, specific requirement, but don't you think it figures heavily into the basic parameters of jury service with regard to considering the evidence and testimony and following the court's instructions that -- best case scenario -- they have to get everything second hand?
  5. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Of course. I think you can take reasonable steps to accomodate someone who isnt proficient in English, but what "reasonable" entails is a matter of some debate. Probably situationally dependent too, especially in that a place like NM likely has a lot of non-fluent English speakers.

    Also, non-proficiency should not be a crutch for people to get out of their civic duty, or for the state or defense to eliminate potential jurors willy-nilly. I think that was at the heart of the court's argument.
  6. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    Just realize that the primary rights at stake in the selection of a jury are the rights of the defendant, not the rights of the prospective juror. That should be the guiding star here.
  7. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    Do you read the articles you post? You do realize that the op also shows the NM constitution as saying that one cannot be barred because of language. So what you are complaining about is that these judges simply isn't true, at least not by the example you provided, unless radicalism in yoru mind is somehow interpreting the plain meaning of:

    "shall never be restricted, abridged or impaired on account of … (the) inability to speak, read or write the English or Spanish languages."

    as being a radical interpretation.
  8. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Absolutely. But here the former defendant is arguing that his rights were violated by the dismissal of a non-English speaking juror. And the court agrees with the argument, but not to its timing.
  9. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    That is a good point. But the juror was excluded and it seems that the judges ruled against the appellant for not objecting during trial.
  10. mocgator
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    mocgator Well-Known Member

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    Just another reason to appeal any and all rulings....
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  11. g8rjd
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    g8rjd Well-Known Member

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    Who do you think typically raises the right? :ninja:

    Hint:

    Another hint:

    Guesses anyone?

    BTW, for the earlier posts, I imagine the "how" is not all that difficult since most courthouses with considerable spanish-speaking populations have professional translators on staff.
  12. Lawdog88
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    Lawdog88 Well-Known Member

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    So if you have a non-English speaking / understanding juror, well then, just how in the world do you present evidence (yes, I saw that done in the Zimmerman case where the witness was . . . allegedly . . . non-fluent in English, and had the translator interpreting both the questions and answers), but how would that effectively work when the trial is conducted in English, the Judge speaks in English, the lawyers question, object, and argue in English, and the instructions are in English ?

    You mean to say that an interpreter will stand behind the Judge and the attorneys at all times, and interpret for the juror ?

    Not good.
  13. g8rjd
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    g8rjd Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I would think the interpreter would sit by the juror using the translation device that they typically use for non-English-speaking defendants.
  14. OklahomaGator
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    Here comes another reason to appeal. For instance, a convicted felon asks for a transcript of what the translator said, then when it is not word for word correct, which when translating at that speed will be next to impossible, they appeal their conviction because some word wasn't translated correctly.
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  15. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Perhaps, but in this case, as in most cases, the reply is: "that's a perfectly valid argument and all, but you should have brought that up during the trial." I suspect there will be more objections during trial over language stuff, but I doubt it will change the number of appeals post-trial, which are already frequent and ubiquitous.
  16. Lawdog88
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    Lawdog88 Well-Known Member

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    I know not of this "device" of which you speak. We use live interpreters up heah. But then again, we don't permit non-English speaking defendants the right of a jury trial anyway. :ninja:

    Seems like it would require a separate transcript and / or recording from translator to juror, to insure accuracy in translation, you know, for later appellate purposes.
  17. wargunfan
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    wargunfan Well-Known Member

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    Jury foreman: Let's see...we have eleven votes for guilty and one that says Donde Estoy?
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  18. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    The OCDETF Panama Express drug trials in the Middle District (at sea cocaine interdiction, typically Colombian peasants who get paid to operate the boat and don't speak a word of English) frequently have the kind of set up JD is referring to. The defendant is wearing a headset and there is a translator sitting beside the court reporter quietly repeating everything in Spanish into a small microphone that broadcasts to the defendant's headset.

    I think how you handle deliberations assuming that the rest of the jury is not Spanish-language fluent is a more difficult question than how the trial itself is handled.
  19. oldgator
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    oldgator Premium Member

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    to the OP---serving on a jury is the responsibility and duty of American citizens. We have many rights associated with citizenship. With rights come responsibilities. And serving on juries is one of the responsibilities/duties of citizenship. I suggest OP go take a civics class.

    In principle, I do agree with Op that those who serve on a jury should speak English. Or at the least, understand English even if they can't speak it.

    I personally abhor efforts to make Spanish or other language an official language in America.

    FWIW--there is a good chance that door that got opened to give leverage for those who don't speak English to fill duty/responsibility of serving on juries came about as a result of rulings made in regard to courts being required to allow deaf or blind people serve on juries.

    If I had my way I would like to see laws requiring all public proceedings/documents/etc be done solely in English. And this includes voting.

    It used to be the immigrants to America saw it as a matter of pride to learn English in addition to their native tongue. And to adapt to American culture rather than demanding that American culture be forced to adapt to them. The attitude early on of a single language for public communication as well as adaptation to American customs, etc were things that served to unite America. Now it seems that folk coming to America expect America to go out of its way to cater to the newcomer with the newcomer not expecting to adapt him or herself to this country.

    I feel for the OP in the frustration on this issue.
  20. oldgator
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    oldgator Premium Member

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    finally, I put the blame in regard to the court case discussed in the OP squarely on the juror for not stating his difficulties understanding English and that juror should have asked that an interpreter be provided. Such interpreters are available to deaf people in the form of people who can communicate with deaf juror via sign language and have been used in courts.

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