|Cabrera's legal team appeal to higher court|
Attorneys John Garcia and John Minore explain why they believe their client, Alejandrina Cabrera, should be placed on the ballot for the upcoming San Luis City Council election. Cabrera's attorneys filed an appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court.
|Cabrera speaks out|
Alejandrina Cabrera explains why she entered politics and why she believes her name should be on the ballot in the next San Luis City Council election. Lawyer John Garcia shares why he believes tests of her proficiency in English were unfair.
|Court hearing for San Luis candidate|
Yuma County Superior Judge John Nelson ordered Alejandrina Cabrera’s name stricken from the March ballot on Wednesday after a court hearing that began in the morning and continued into the night.
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A San Luis, Ariz., woman's legal battle to stay on the ballot for upcoming city council races is now in the hands of the Arizona Supreme Court.
Attorneys for Alejandrina Cabrera on Monday filed a request to the court to hear her appeal of a Yuma judge's order excluding her on the March primary ballot.
Yuma County Superior Court Judge John Nelson ruled last week that Cabrera lacks the English language skills required by state law to serve on the council.
In a news conference Monday, attorneys John Garcia and John Minore said they expect to know by Feb. 7 whether the higher court will hear Cabrera's appeal.
If the Supreme Court chooses to hear the appeal, the attorneys will argue that while state law requires Arizona office holders to know English, it does not set specific standards of English proficiency that Cabrera must meet in order to be eligible for the council.
They contend the order removing her from the ballot violated her constitutional rights.
Nelson's ruling came after a sociolinguistics expert testified that in tests he administered to Cabrera, she did not demonstrate the level of proficiency needed to serve on the council. Nelson said he based his opinion also on Cabrera's failure to respond correctly to questions posed to her.
Cabrera's attorneys contend the tests were not complete because they did not measure her ability to write English. They argue that she demonstrated sufficient English skills in the other portions of the tests.
The city clerk's office in San Luis has postponed printing of ballots for the primary election until Feb. 7, pending a decision by the higher court.
In an interview Saturday conducted in Spanish, Cabrera conceded that she needs to improve her English skills but said she believes her command of the language is sufficient to qualify her to serve on the council.
She has said she was born in Yuma but raised through much of her youth in San Luis Rio Colorado, Son. She said that while she graduated from Kofa High School, much of her education took place in Mexico.
In a case that's brought national and international attention to the Arizona border city, San Luis Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla last month filed a special action in Superior Court asking for a determination on whether she had the English skills necessary to serve on the council.
Escamilla said Monday he had expected Cabrera's attorneys to seek an appeal.
He said the special action was filed not for political reasons but merely to seek a clarification from the court about what level of English proficiency is required of office holders.
Cabrera was one of 10 candidates who had filed nominating petition signatures to run for four council seats in the March primary election.
She had planned to run on a slate with three other candidates for four vacant council seats: San Luis businesswoman and former Mayor Nieves Riedel, former Councilman Archibaldo Gurrola and Ricardo Salazar. Riedel is a political rival of Escamilla.
In 2011, Cabrera launched two unsuccessful recall campaigns against Escamilla.