Posted on September 27, 2005

Midstate Briefs: Judge Disciplined for Order to Learn English

AP, Sept. 24

The judge who ordered a Mexican immigrant to improve her English or possibly lose custody of her daughter has been disciplined by state judiciary officials.


In one of the cases, Tatum told a teenage mother to learn English and use birth control. In a similar case, he ordered another Hispanic immigrant to learn English or face permanently losing custody of her 11-year-old daughter.

A complaint was filed with the Court of the Judiciary by Nashville resident Alex Friedman, who recently turned over documents to The Lebanon Democrat newspaper after the court rejected his request for specifics about the disciplinary action. In an eight-page explanation to the court during its investigation, Tatum referred to the unique language and cultural barriers in these two cases and said an underlying factor in the controversy was the atmosphere generated by the media.