Non-English speakers can be jurors, NM Supreme Court rules
Posted at: 08/13/2013 8:04 AM
By: The Associated Press
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - 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.
The Supreme Court says it agrees with that argument but also says Samora's defense need to object during the trial but didn't.
The ruling issued Monday tells judges and lawyers that they must reasonable efforts to protect the rights of non-English speaking citizens to serve on juries.
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