Judicial Intoxication

Well, we should have seen this coming. Apparently, the rules do not apply to people who cannot comprehend simple, English-language instructions.


The tragedy of this case is twofold. Threefold, if you consider the continuing judicial assault against the fabric of this country. But I want to focus specifically on the tragic consequences this perspective will have on the general public. We have now established a juridical right to operate a motor vehicle while inebriated, if you have neither the foresight nor  the inclination to master the most rudimentary elements of the English language, which is still the lingua franca of this country. We’ve essentially established a disincentive to acquiring a mastery-or even a vague familiarity-with English, while simultaneously endangering that part of the public which scrupulously adheres to the law.

But perhaps the most distressing aspect of this case is the fact that this man was able to acquire a driver’s license without even a nodding acquaintance with the English language, as he freely admits:

Marquez said he didn’t understand what police were reading to him and that he had taken his driver’s license exam in Spanish.

So the eventual consequences of Mr. Marquez’s reckless disregard for the law and irresponsible behavior were not unforeseen at all, but were a direct result of an inconceivably stupid system that was already in place when he set out to obtain a driver’s license. The blame for this lamentable state of affairs lies not just with the illiterate, non-functioning driver who is the focus of the story, or even the four jurists on the New Jersey Supreme Court-who seem to think that coming from a non-English-speaking country absolves you of personal responsibility for your actions-but with the bureaucracy that allowed this man-and presumably, many others like him-to be deemed road-ready in the first place. I can only imagine where this will lead.

The next time someone is pulled over at a drunk-driving checkpoint in the state of New Jersey he or she need only repeat these three simple words: no habla Ingles.

This entry was posted in bilingualism, DUI, Immigration, New Jersey and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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