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Federal probe finds NC courts discriminate

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By MICHAEL BIESECKER
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A federal investigation has determined the North Carolina court system routinely discriminates against those who do not speak English, resulting in harsher penalties and longer jail sentences.

The finding regarding the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts was issued Thursday in an 18-page report issued by the US Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Investigators concluded the court system violates federal law by discriminating on the basis of national origin.

Though state courts often provide translators to non-English speakers, the federal review said that having courthouse employees aid criminal defendants presents a conflict of interest. In other cases documented by investigators, no translator was provided for those whose limited familiarity with English impeded their ability to understand complex legal proceedings.

There was no immediate comment from officials from AOC.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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