Language as a Barrier to Equality: Assessing the Gap Between a Sample of English-Speaking and Non-English-Speaking Defendants in Travis County, Texas




Rojas, Roberto Lee

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With the recent controversy surrounding immigration laws in the United States, it is clear this topic will continue to drive and influence future policy changes as to how these individuals are handled in the criminal justice system. Included in this thesis is a review of the relevant literature that takes into consideration race and ethnicity and examines their effect on how defendants are processed throughout various stages of the justice system. Judging from the available research, it appears that there are extra-legal variables that come into play when making decisions regarding certain elements such as making arrests, pretrial release and sentencing. Results of this study indicate that Spanish-speakers are more likely to be arrested for DWI and uncooperative offenses, English-speakers were more likely to secure release on bond, the mean bond amount for Spanish-speakers was slightly higher than that of English-speakers, and both language and charge type were significantly related to release on bond.



criminal defense, defense procedures, culture and law


Rojas, R. L. (2008). Language as a barrier to equality: Assessing the gap between a sample of English-speaking and non-English-speaking defendants in Travis County, Texas (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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