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Alabama Supreme Court proceeds with rape case despite the accused lacking interpreter

The Supreme Court of Alabama refused to dismiss first degree rape charges against a Madison man who only knows Chatino an obscure Spanish dialect spoken by about 23,000 people in south central Mexico.

Tereso Salina, 59 year old man of Madison County had been accused of first degree charge of raping a child under 12 and arrested in July 2008. His attorneys have been arguing that he has been denied right to speedy trial because of delay in finding a suitable interpreter knowing Chatino language.

Salina who could face sentence of 20 years to life if convicted remains in Madison County jail. His attorney, Ron Smith had argued that the delays have been prejudicial to his client in getting a speedy trial.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals first rejected the request last month which state Supreme Court has now endorsed. It was noted by the court the delay stemmed from failure to obtain translation services.

The defense has stated it is trying to provide Chatino interpreters. Chatino has about 7 dialects and a California based man was identified to provide the interpretation services but the accused said he could not understand the interpreter. The cost of providing the services would be borne by the state as per Alabama state laws.

No new date has been set for continuation of trial.

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