Interpreters on the Witness Stand

Presenter: Bruce Adelson, Esq.

Presenter: Bruce Adelson, Esq.

Bruce is the CEO of Federal Compliance Consulting LLC and is nationally recognized for his compliance expertise concerning federal laws. He is a former U.S. Department of Justice Senior Attorney. During his Justice career, he had national enforcement and policy responsibility.

In a 2016 Maryland Court of Special Appeals case, issues of interpreter competence, training and certification were front and center before the court in reviewing a criminal conviction. The deaf criminal defendant was permitted to testify at trial about his allegations of “misinterpretations” and “miscommunications” by the courtroom interpreters. The trial court did not allow the defendant to call his interpreters as witnesses and cross-examine them. The defendant was convicted and then appealed to the Court of Special Appeals.

The appeals court reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial, deciding that the defendant “was denied his constitutional right to confront and cross-examine the interpreter during the State’s case.”

Learn more about the court’s decision and how the ruling affects the liability and responsibility of sign and spoken language interpreters and language services providers.

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