A judge known for creative sentencing has ordered three Spanish-speaking men to learn English or go to prison, reports the Associated Press. The men, who faced terms for conspiracy to commit robbery, can remain on parole if they learn to read and write English, earn their GEDs and get full-time jobs, said Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. The men, between 17 and 22 years old, all needed translators when they pleaded guilty Tuesday. “Do you think we are going to supply you with a translator all of your life?” the judge asked them.
Defense attorneys said they were studying the legality of the ruling and had not decided whether to appeal. One lawyer said, “My client is happy. I think it’s going to help him.” The judge ordered the three to return with their parole officers in a year and take an English test. “If they don’t pass, they’re going in for the 24 (months),” he said. The judge said the ruling was not meant as punishment. “There’s no way young kids can be hurt by knowing how to read and write the English language,” Olszewski was quoted as saying by the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, which first reported the story.