New Mexico’s high court: Non-English speakers can serve as jurors

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New Mexico’s highest court has sent a blunt message to trial courts and attorneys who practice in the state: Even those who don’t speak English have the constitutional right to serve as jurors.

The state’s Supreme Court issued the determination in a ruling handed down this week that upheld an Albuquerque man’s murder, armed robbery and stabbing convictions, The Associated Press reported.

The man, Michael Samora, had appealed his murder conviction, saying it should be reversed because the judge in his case excused a Spanish-speaking prospective juror who couldn’t understand English.

The Supreme Court said the Bernalillo County judge was wrong in dismissing the non-English speaking juror, AP reported. Still, Samora didn’t get the reversal he sought because his defense attorneys never objected to the prospective juror’s dismissal at the time of the trial, the Supreme Court ruled.

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