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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Florida the rules are different here CXVII

A seated juror on a case that's already deliberating is claiming communication problems with fellow jurors.(He wants an interpreter) Because the juror speaks Spanish. How did this person understand the testimony at trial then? The judge is going to rule today if the juror should be removed and replaced with an alternate. To me that looks like an obvious decision. Don't you just love Florida.

Note- Don't anyone attack me for picking on bilingual or spanish speakers. My Philippine wife speaks and understands more languages than I do. I give credit to people who can do that, I'm just questioning the timeing of this problem ar Branko Popic's trial.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Pet's Garden, Woman Honor Thyself,

TAMPA - Justice may be blind, but is it bilingual?

That's the question a federal judge and attorneys are grappling with after a juror informed them she is having trouble communicating with the rest of the jury during deliberations.

The juror, whose first language is Spanish, asked to be removed from the jury or given a translator to help her explain herself to her fellow jurors.

The issue arose three hours into deliberations in an immigration case involving a Serbian accused of lying on applications for refugee status and permanent residency in the United States. The defendant, Branko Popic, is accused of concealing his membership in a Serbian military unit that was involved in war crimes during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Popic doesn't speak English, either, and has had assistance from Serbo-Croatian interpreters, one of whom volunteered she also speaks Spanish and might be able to help the juror.

U.S. District Judge James Moody demurred, however, saying the court has certified Spanish translators available, but he has to figure out whether he should provide one.

The Spanish-speaking juror apparently did not have problems answering questions posed to her during jury selection on Monday, and did not inform the judge she was having any problems understanding the testimony.

Near the end of the day Thursday, however, jurors sent a note to the judge stating that the juror was "requesting to be removed from jury service." The note added, "Language barrier is of concern for this juror and other jurors."

After reading the note to attorneys, the befuddled judge said, "I'm open to advice."

"That's a new one on me," said Assistant Federal Public Defender Adam Allen.

The judge's clerk told him all jurors are asked by the jury manager to bring to the court's attention any language problems they have.

Moody decided to question the juror, explaining to the defendant, "We don't really know what to make of it."

The woman looked tired when she came into the courtroom.

Asked by the judge what the note meant, she said, "I don't know how to explain myself."

Asked if jurors were trying to coerce or pressure her, she said, "No sir." Then she added, again, "I don't know how to explain myself."

"I don't know if this is possible, but would you like an interpreter?" Allen asked.

"Yes," the woman said.

The judge sent the woman back into the jury room.

"I've never confronted the issue of whether or not an interpreter can be in the jury room," Moody told attorneys. "I'm concerned with putting any stranger to the jury in the jury room."

Allen said he would like time to research the issue. Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Hansen said he would object to sending a translator into jury deliberations.

Moody instructed the attorneys to research the issue and return to court this morning to discuss whether the woman should be removed and replaced by an alternate.

As attorneys were leaving, a court security officer gave them a message that Moody wanted to see them again. The judge raised a question from the bench about whether the woman could have understood what was said from the witness stand.

He said he may remove her.

Allen said it's possible the woman understands English, but just has problems expressing herself.

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