Monday, October 31, 2005

Revealing Alito Ruling Should Rile Latinos

Since the man does have a paper trail I did a little exploring on some of Judge Samuel Alito's prior rulings.

An enlightening tidbit...

I wonder how the Latino community will view the following Alito decision, which allowed potential jurors to be excluded from a jury, for speaking a foreign language.

From Trial Magazine (7/1/94) comes this interesting ruling:

"Excluding potential jurors because they speak a foreign language does not violate the Equal Protection Clause, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

"A three-judge panel reversed a district court ruling and upheld two New Jersey drug convictions. It rejected arguments by the defendants that the prosecutor's use of peremptory strikes to remove all Spanish-speaking jurors amounted to discrimination against Hispanics. (Pemberthy v. Beyer, 19 F.3d 857 (3d Cir. Mar. 16, 1994).)

"'[N]o simple equation can be drawn between ethnicity and language,' Judge Samuel Alito wrote. 'Sociologists recognize language as only one of the many components of ethnicity.'

"Alan Zegas, an attorney in West Orange, New Jersey, who represents defendant Gabriel Pemberthy, said the effect of the decision will be 'to deny Latino defendants a jury of their peers.' By excluding Spanish speakers, he said, 'you are by definition excluding the entire Latino population from the jury.'"

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