Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Language Barriers in Domestic Abuse Cases

From The New York Times:

Arlet Macareno still gets choked up when telling the story about when the police arrived at her home in Staten Island nearly five years ago, responding to a 911 call from her niece, who found her lying at the bottom of the stairs.

Ms. Macareno, in an interview and a federal lawsuit, said she tried to tell the police that her husband had pushed her down, but instead of taking him to jail, the responding officers arrested her and carried her barefoot and badly bruised to the 120th Precinct station house.

She was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, according to the legal complaint, after pleading with the officers for an interpreter. The arresting officer said she had prevented him from writing his report, her lawyer said.

With little understanding of English or her rights, and in a hurry to return to her 7-year-old son, she pleaded guilty in criminal court to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and was released.

“I knew I needed an interpreter and had a right to an interpreter,” she said. “I was denied the right to speak. I was denied to the right to express myself. I felt destroyed,” she said in Spanish during an interview.

Read more here.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2017/06/language-barriers-in-domestic-abuse-cases.html

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