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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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PROGRAM INFO

Title:
Chicanos In The Legal System
Program #
1977-23
Theme:
Society

Series:
Legal Issues
Host:
Alejandro Saenz
Guest:
Hector F. Fabela
Date:
May 26, 1977

Chicanos in the Legal System

In this interview, Hector Fabela, an attorney in Austin, Texas, discusses his experiences as a Chicano lawyer and some of the legal issues affecting the Chicano community. Fabela explains that his experiences in law school were the same as other Anglo students studying at the University of Texas at Austin. You have to be prepared from the first day, and, basically, everyone is frightened particularly because of the Socratic method. After law school, he says that his ethnicity helped him as he started his practice. Favela explains that because Chicanos feel more comfortable working with lawyers from their community, Chicanos make up most of his clients. He also discusses the difficulties and vulnerabilities most of his clients have facing the legal system.

Fabela says that because Chicano barrios are overpoliced, most of his cases are misdemeanors, such as DWIs or unlawfully carrying weapons. Chicanos face some unique problems in the court system. Fabela explains that native Spanish speakers may feel more uncomfortable in the courts that native English speakers. He goes on to say that Travis County does provide for a translator if the attorney requests one. Fabela also discusses some prominent Chicano lawyers, including Tony Canales and Rudolfo Garza. He claims that inferior education historically has kept the number of Chicano lawyers low. He hears that there are nearly 100 Chicano students at the University of Texas and that the new generation of lawyers seems more prepared. He believes the future looks bright for Chicano attorneys.

 

Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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