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Judge Apologizes To Maids But Maintains That Mom Must Use English

Wed., Aug. 30, 1995

A judge who told a woman she was dooming her child to life as a housemaid by speaking only Spanish to her apologized to housekeepers on Tuesday, while standing by his order that she speak English to the kindergartner.

“I do wish to apologize to the profession of housekeeping, since we entrust our personal possessions and our families’ welfare to these hard-working people and I hold them in the highest esteem,” State District Judge Samuel Kiser said.

On Aug. 16, he ordered Marta Laureano to speak some English to her 5-year-old daughter. At a hearing earlier this summer, he accused her of mistreating the girl by not teaching her English, saying “you’re abusing that child and you’re relegating her to the position of a housemaid.”

His comments were blasted Tuesday by the state attorney general.

“I think that the judge was way off-base,” Attorney General Dan Morales said. “One danger that I can see here is the prospect of trivializing legitimate child abuse and trivializing real child abuse.”

Laureano, who was born and raised in Mexico, speaks English fluently. She said she uses Spanish at home because she wants her daughter to grow up bilingual.

Her ex-husband, Timothy Garcia, raised the language issue during a custody hearing.

Tags: language

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