Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Is Attorney's Translation of Jury Waiver Enough?

[CASE] A Spanish-speaking defendant was convicted after a bench trial. On appeal, he challenged the validity of his jury waiver, which was printed in English. The defense attorney said on the waiver form that he was fluent in Spanish and had translated the form for the defendant. The Ninth Circuit held that, since the attorney was not a court-certified interpreter the district judge should have conducted a colloquy with the defendant to make sure the defendant understood the jury system and what he was waiving. United States v. Bailon-Santana, 429 F.3d 1258, No. 04-50079, Westlaw (9th Cir. Dec. 6, 2005) (Kozinski, J.). Judge Rawlinson dissented because she believed that the trial judge's questions of the defendant about his waiver were adequate.

Access to qualified interpreters is increasingly difficult. In California, the Spanish-speaking population has grown while the number of interpreters has gone down. See Language Barriers to Justice post.

Categories: , , , ,

No comments: