A man accused of sexually assaulting a child and an armed burglar are using claims of not speaking English to delay their trials in a Texas court.
Although this happens in many counties, it has been reported that criminal defendants in Texas’ Tom Green County, in particular, are using language-speaking claims in order to delay justice.
San Angelo Live, a local media outlet, reported that it is seeing a “pattern emerging” in the county.
The San Angelo, Texas, paper cited Jesus Hernandez Ramos, age 74, and Miguel Hernandez, age 41, as two alleged felons who used language issues to postpone their criminal hearings this week.
On Wednesday, Ramos, was scheduled for a court hearing. He has been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first degree felony. He faces 15-99 years because he was previously convicted of murder.
Ramos had been speaking with his court appointed attorney in English but yesterday he used his “inability to speak English” as a reason he could not speak with his attorney. He then refused an interpreter and asked the court to appoint an attorney who could speak Spanish. These tactics have delayed proceedings. The case has again been postponed until February but it has been placed on a priority setting.
Hernandez used the same tactics earlier this week. He has been charged with deadly conduct and burglary. Hernandez was caught burglarizing a home in a three-piece suit, the local news outlet reported. He had shot a gun in the house. Although Hernandez too had been speaking to his lawyer in English, he claimed during his court hearing that he could not and requested an interpreter. His case has also been delayed.
Delays cost counties funds when court appointed lawyers are replaced and defense lawyers have to start over. Yet, criminal judges frequently have their hands tied when a defendant claims a language barrier. If they do not combat any language-speaking claims by doing as the charged individual requests, the case can be reversed on appeal.
Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2