Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Judge grants custody without enforcing English "recommendation"

The Tennessean reports that Wilson County Juvenile Court Judge Barry Tatum has returned a child to her mother without requiring the mother to demonstrate proficiency in English, as he had "recommended" earlier.

"Victoria Luna, 18, and her 3-year-old daughter, who were reunited Monday, are doing 'great, and the child is thriving,' Luna's attorney, Julie Rowland, said yesterday."

"'She did everything she had to do to get her child back, and it wasn't contingent on learning the English language,' Rowland said."

"Tatum recommended to Luna in January that she use birth control and learn basic English - both of which, Rowland said, were mere suggestions, not orders."

"Luna's case comes on the heels of a similar case still pending in Tatum's courtroom. Felipa Berrera, a Mexican immigrant, was ordered by the judge last fall to learn English and was supposed to be quizzed for language proficiency last week."

"Tatum postponed his questioning of Berrera, who lost custody of her 11-year-old daughter in October."

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