A couple of years ago, I received a summons for jury duty. I responded by telling them I should not serve because I am about half deaf. It would be irresponsible for me to be seated on a jury, possibly deciding some man’s fate, if I could not hear the testimony and evidence clearly.
Well, how about his idiocy? From Jeff Bezos’ new newspaper, The Washington Post:
By Associated Press, Published: August 13
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Supreme Court is cautioning trial courts and lawyers in the heavily Hispanic state that citizens who don’t speak English have the right to serve on juries — a right enshrined in the state constitution even if people are non-English speakers.
The court issued the admonition Monday in a unanimous ruling that upholds an Albuquerque man’s convictions for murder and other crimes in the 2004 bludgeoning death of his girlfriend and a subsequent armed robbery and stabbing.
Michael Anthony Samora’s appeal argued that his convictions should be reversed because a Bernalillo County judge excused a Spanish-speaking prospective juror who had trouble understanding English.
The Supreme Court said it agrees with that argument but also said Samora’s defense needed to object during the trial but didn’t.
The ruling told trial judges and lawyers that they “have a shared responsibility to make every reasonable effort to protect the right of our non-English speaking citizens to serve on New Mexico juries.”
In the United States, trials are conducted in English. The questions asked by the attorneys are in English, the testimony given by the witnesses is in English, and the judge’s instructions are given in English. There may be instances where a witness simply does not speak very good English, and has to be questioned through an interpreter, and that places a burden on justice, not only for the costs of the interpreter, but on he jury in trying to measure inflection and meaning from a witness’ testimony they may not understand, and can hear only through an interpreter.
But the notion that the state would have to present an entire trial, and every bit of attorney questioning, witness responses, and judicial instructions through the filter of an interpreter? That’s madness. It’s not only unnecessarily expensive, but it would deprive the non-English-speaking juror of the advantages of being able to understand the verbal inflections of the speakers.
Then you have the additional problem of jury deliberations: how can the jury be expected to deliberate amongst themselves, by themselves, if one or more jurors doesn’t speak English?
The New Mexico Supreme Court’s decision is one of political correctness run amok. It makes absolutely no sense at all. It’s not fair to the state, it’s not fair to the accused, it’s not fair to justice.
The judges who came up with this cockamamie decision need to have their law licenses all pulled, because they are just flat f(ornicating) idiots.