Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Child Cruelty Doesn't Translate For the ACLU

A court in Georgia has overturned the conviction and sentence of a women who brutally beat her child because she didn't have a translator for her native language in court. As always with the ACLU there is more to the story so I did some background research on this. According the site TexasTranslator here were the circumstances surrounding the case.
Annie Ling is Malay, has lived in the US since 2000 and her husband is American. Her American defense attorney Justin Grubbs, is himself married to a Malay woman and has a much clearer awareness of Annie Ling's language situation than lobbyists for increased government subsidies. Mr Grubbs explained the charges of cruelty to a child to the defendant with the help of family members conversant in both languages. He also explained the one-year sentence plea bargain offer just as clearly. The defendant rejected the advice of counsel and the case went to trial. The jury saw photographs of the beaten child and sentenced her to ten years in prison followed by five years' probation instead of the one-year sentence she could have had through the professional competence of her attorney. What got the verdict were the photographs of the badly beaten baby Catherine shown to the jurors. There is no language barrier to understanding photographs of a beaten child.

Ms Ling was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in jail along with another 5 years on probation.

I could never be a lawyer. It is just impossible for me to check my common sense at the door in pursuit of some other sort of high ideal. How do people in the legal profession sleep at night?

One question for the ACLU. Who is speaking for the child?

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