• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Lost in translation

Jesus Arrieta wants a translator, and he thinks we should pay for it. The Indiana Supreme Court is thinking about it:

Indiana's approach "discriminates against people who don't understand English," Stephen Beardsley, Arrieta's lawyer, said last week. He said it imposes on someone who is presumed innocent "the extra burden" of paying for something that is intrinsic to the legal process.
"We don't pay the judge's salary. We don't pay for the court reporter," Beardsley said of defendants.
Arrieta was arrested on June 10, 2005, on a charge of dealing cocaine, a Class A felony that could bring up to 50 years in prison if he is convicted.
Because Arrieta doesn't speak English, Clark Superior Court Judge Cecile Blau made sure that a translator, paid by the court, was present at his initial hearing four days after the arrest.
But Blau told Arrieta two months later that he would have to pay to have a required certified translator at the rest of his proceedings.
An attorney is even more important than a translator. And an attorney isn't provided by the state unless the defendant can't afford it. Why should a translator be any different? A great point was brougt up by the Appeals Court:
The Appeals Court majority, in an opinion written by Chief Judge John Baker, said, "The mere fact that a right -- such as a right to counsel -- is fundamental does not necessarily mean that the exercise of that right must be subsidized by the government under all circumstances.
Unfortunately, that kind of common sense has been out of fashion. Rudy Giuliani, the frontrunner in the GOP presidential races says abortion is a constitutional right and not providing funding for poor women to have them is the same as depriving them of the right:
A video clip of the then-mayoral candidate issuing a similar declaration in 1989 in a speech to the "Women's Coalition" appeared recently on the Internet.

"There must be public funding for abortions for poor women," Giuliani says in the speech that is posted on the video sharing site YouTube. "We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decisions about abortion."

When asked directly Wednesday if he still supported the use of public funding for abortions, Giuliani said "Yes."

"If it would deprive someone of a constitutional right," he explained, "If that's the status of the law, yes."

No wonder GOP voters are so anxious for Fred Thompson to get in the race. Oh, where can I go to pick up my $15 million printing press to exercise my constitutionally guranteed First Amendment rights?