“A dream come true.”
That’s how Lupe Salinas, law professor at Texas Southern University and former Criminal District Court Judge in Houston, Texas, describes his new book “U.S. Latinos and Criminal Injustice.”
His dream became a reality on the evening of July 29, 2015 at a popular eatery in the Galleria area. Raising their glasses and singing “Las Mañanitas” guests not only celebrated Salinas’s new literary adventure, but also his cumpleaños.
While many of the attendees were members of the law profession, the gathering also included recognized educators, activists, entrepreneurs, and politicians. The book, according to Salinas, is a journey based on his experiences, recounting how the court system puts Latino defendants at a disadvantage due to not understanding the legal process as a result of language barriers.
What motivated you to write the book?
“What motivated me to write this book is primarily the experience that I have had in my 43 years of being a lawyer and even before, of seeing the injustices that happen to our people, to Latinos.”
What is the goal of your book?
“I want to obviously persuade people to understand that U.S. Latinos – which is the way I describe in the book U.S. citizens, resident aliens and undocumented Latinos, persons who have been here so long – they are part of our system, they are part of our population. All these individuals, regardless of roots in this country, are U.S. Latinos.”
Describe the journey that culminated in the writing of “U.S. Latinos and Criminal Injustice.”
“It is a dream I have had for over 40 years. But I was always involved in everything. I was a politician, I ran for judge, I was running organizations, I was doing different things and that was difficult. Now as a law professor I finally got an opportunity to center my efforts and organize myself.”
Salinas described how, even today, if his wife who is Spanish-language dominant, was to face a criminal charge, the system would not provide her with the elements to obtain fair representation. Her process would become one more example of a change that is long overdue.
“If she were accused in court” says Salinas “Some judge who does not understand Spanish would say, ‘Well, she understood what I said.’ The problem is that’s not the way we should run our system. Our system requires that we are able to confront the witnesses that are going to claim that we did something wrong.”
We want to wish Judge Salinas great success with “U.S. Latinos and Criminal Injustice.” To order the book, visit Amazon.
About Claudia Deschamps
Hispanic Houston contributor Claudia Deschamps is a former journalist for Univision and Telemundo, current Houston-based communications professional, mother of two small and an active member in various community organizations.