Naturally, that would be a big concern in a murder trial, with a potential life in prison sentence or death penalty, depending on the result of the vote in November of this year.
A juror is a fact-finder of evidence and must be able to understand the language in which the evidence is presented.
Here is the exchange between juror 4688 and Judge Edmund W. Clarke:
Now, being able to say "good morning" in a foreign language does not indicate that the person saying it has any command of that language at all. Modes of address like that is the first tourists learn in a foreign country, while knowing absolutely nothing of the language other wise.
Yet, that was the immediate hook for Judge Clarke's bullying to start:
Now, whether it is a good idea to live in a country and not know its government language is not relevant here. Especially that Spanish, increasingly, is used as second government language in many localities in the U.S.
The only relevant question for purposes of jury picking in a murder trial is - is the juror's command of the English language enough to follow the evidence presented in the trial verbally, through documents and testimony in English?
For that, knowledge of how to say "good morning" is definitely not enough.
In some counties in California, according to census and literacy group reports, illiteracy in some counties reaches 34%. That is, 1/3 of population lacking basic literacy skills.
With that in mind, Judge Clarke's lashing out against the Spanish-speaking juror appears even more outrageous:
Judge threatened the juror who was unsure whether her command of English was enough to be a fact-finder in a murder trial, of lying, and threatened her of having to stay longer in court and away from family and her obligations because of her supposed lie.
There are people who are in this country 25 years and more and do not speak the language - just walk down Brighton Beach in New York City.
Whether that is good or bad, is another question - but it is a fact that it is possible, especially for a Spanish-speaking person, to never learn English at the level required to engage in fact-finding in a murder trial.
Judge Clarke "impeached" juror 4688 by her own answer in the juror questionnaire checking a "yes" box as to the question whether she knows "basic English".
So, judge Clarke, as promised, punished juror 4688 by sending her to sit in the hallway.
Then, he recalled her and started to interrogate, this way:
So, Judge Clarke made juror 4688 to sit in the hallway and used taxpayer money to get a certified Spanish interpreter to interrogate juror 4688 after she waited for the second time to be called back.
Actually, engaging a Spanish interpreter to verify whether the juror knew enough of English to be a fact-finder at a murder trial where facts were presented in English, was useless. A Spanish interpreter could not prove one way or another whether the juror knew enough of English language to be a juror at a murder trial.
Nevertheless, an interrogation through a Spanish interpreter followed:
Even that did not stop the Jerk Clarke from continuing to embarrass juror 4688.
Through the interpreter, juror 4688 explained why she did not speak English even though naturalized for 25 years - because she was naturalized as a 2-year-old, sent to Mexico and returned to the U.S. as a grown up, so she never needed to study English for a naturalization test.
I will report on Judge Clarke's misconduct as to two other jurors separately.