I’d be very interested to see what the commentors have to say about this story:

Judge Sentences Three to Learn English

The men, who faced prison for criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, can remain on parole if they learn to read and write English, earn their GEDs and get full-time jobs, Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. said.

The men, Luis Reyes, Ricardo Dominguez and Rafael Guzman-Mateo, plus a fourth defendant, Kelvin Reyes-Rosario, all needed translators when they pleaded guilty Tuesday.

“Do you think we are going to supply you with a translator all of your life?” the judge asked them.

My opinion?  I love it.  That’s assuming, of course, that this is a first offense for these conspirators.  If more judges took actions like this that can stem the tide before young would-be crooks get caught up in it, and allow them to actually become productive, law-abiding citizens, the jails might not be so full. 


7 thoughts on “Opinions?

  1. I don’t “love” it, but I certainly acknowledge the sentiment and sense behind it. It sort of reminds me of the movie “Citizen Ruth”. Ruth, played by Laura Dern, is a no-account junkie who is court-ordered to have an abortion or go to jail for her baby’s health. She becomes the center of a tug-of-war between Pro-Choice and Anti-Abortion fanatics who are far more interested in scoring political points than helping her. So she plays both sides against the middle and profits.

    That’s my concern here. You know this is going to cause both poles to come out swinging and the very real issue of these three men and their lack of education and language leading them to criminality will be swamped by political rhetoric.

  2. I like it.

    Seriously, the judge has a point; if these guys are ever going to do anything with their lives here in the United States, they need to know English. Granted, it may just enable them to say “Stick ’em up” more easily, but who knows — it might also be the sign to them that society is more than willing to help them if they’ll start helping themselves.

  3. Whatever. Don’t love the Judges editorial. The Judge could have just ordered them to get thier GED and a Job and avoided the whole appearence of xenophobia, while accomplishing the same thing.

  4. From the defendant’s perspective, it sounds like a good deal. And apparently one of the defense attorneys agrees. The crime they committed warranted prison time under the law. This gives them the opportunity to avoid prison. And further, they are not obligated to learn English. They can insist on the prison sentence instead.

    On the other side, one has to wonder if they are getting off too easy. It wasn’t just robbery, but the victims were assaulted and threatened. However, if these individuals’ learning English enables them to become productive citizens, and they don’t resort to more criminal activity, it will be worth it.

    I do have some concerns though. With regard to this particular sentence, should it become standard, I worry about it being counterproductive. Non-English speakers may see it as an incentive to commit robbery as a no lose situation. And also, I wonder what other creative sentences this judge has imposed.

    As for the underlying issue, something does need to be done about the increasing numbers of persons living in this country who can’t speak English. I personally don’t have a problem with a person who comes here and doesn’t learn English, as long as they can be productive. But at the very least, tax dollars shouldn’t continue to be wasted in such a way where children and grandchildren of non-English speaking immigrants also don’t learn English. And I don’t quite get how we need bilingual ballots. And why just in Spanish if there is really such a need.

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