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Conviction Reversed Over Language Barrier

An Indiana Supreme Court case on language barrier has resulted in the reversal of a 1999 conviction of an Elkhart man accused of selling cocaine near a school. Officials say in the appeal, the man, a non-native English speaker, essentially contended the Spanish translation of his rights he was waiving by entering a guilty plea was inaccurate to the extent that his plea was not entered knowingly. The man received a 40-year prison sentence. Since 2003, the state's highest court has overseen a program that certifies courtroom interpreters. The 5-0 ruling written by Gary-native, Justice Robert Rucker, sends the man's case to local court for a new hearing.


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