SOURCE: U.S.English

U.S.English

August 14, 2013 13:58 ET

U.S.English Expresses Concern Over New Mexico Ruling on Non-English Speaking Juries

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Aug 14, 2013) - U.S.English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica today released the following statement in response to a ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court stating that non-English speaking citizens have the right to serve on juries.

"In order to be legally qualified for jury service, the Federal Judiciary requires that one must be a United States citizen and must be proficient in English enough to complete a juror qualification form," Chairman Mujica said. "By stating that the ability to speak English is not required for jury service, New Mexico's Supreme Court is diminishing the fairness of its judicial system. If jurors cannot communicate in a common, shared language, the judicial process cannot rightly occur."

Mujica continued, "While U.S. English has never been opposed to providing court translations, there need to be clear limits about where translations stop. All jurors should be able to understand the arguments being made in court in order to evaluate the guilt or innocence of a person. By allowing non-English speakers to participate in a jury, it would be nearly impossible to ensure they understand each moment as it happens. Certainly translators cannot provide real-time translations in the jury box -- and what would happen if there are two jurors who speak different foreign languages? Would there be a different translator for each? Such issues need to be taken into consideration prior to any changes in the New Mexico court system."

In addition to juror qualifications, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also requires anyone looking to become a naturalized United States citizen to pass a naturalization test proving that the individual can read, write, speak and understand English. 

U.S.English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non-partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S.English, Inc. (www.usenglish.org) now has more than 1.8 million members.

Contact Information

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    KARIN DAVENPORT
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