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Mom in Custody Case Sticks to Mexican Dialect

April 20, 2005|From Times Wire Reports

A juvenile court judge who ordered a Mexican immigrant mother to improve her English or face losing custody of her 11-year-old daughter did not require the woman to answer a series of questions in English during a hearing in Lebanon.

Juvenile Court Judge Barry Tatum told Felipa Berrera during a closed hearing in October that she would need to show basic English proficiency when she returned to court in six months. But at Monday's hearing he didn't require English responses to questions. Berrera speaks only Misteco, a dialect spoken in parts of Mexico.

Jerry Gonzalez, a civil rights attorney involved in the case, said he would ask the Court of Appeals to order Tatum to set a termination of parental rights case for trial or to recuse himself.

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