Page 215 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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 interpretation is good or acceptable.”794
While an interpreter is fundamental to ensuring the accurate and meaning-
ful exchange of information, panel attorneys reported that they often have diffi- culty obtaining the funding for them from the court and/or finding interpreters to hire. A panel attorney who practices in two districts explained that in one district, “Non-Spanish speaking panel attorneys must provide their own interpreters and cannot bill the court for this expense.”795 In the other, contract interpreters certified by the court are provided as a matter of course in all cases where the defendant
is a non-English speaker and panel attorneys are not required to seek approval or request funding for interpreter services.796 Noting this fundamental difference she opined, “I believe this is a service that should be provided without question. Having a trained professional adequately and accurately explain the complex legal process is a necessary component of indigent defense and effective representation.”797
A panel attorney stated “I take my own interpreter, but again, that’s an expenditure that I think can be covered under the Criminal Justice Act.”798 He explained that he and other panel attorneys fear judges will not understand how necessary a trained interpreter is when the attorney can speak conversational Spanish. “I know a lot of lawyers who are afraid to ask for that because you are going to get a voucher cut, number one, and number two, you are going to be questioned about, wait a minute, you are a Spanish speaker, what’s the problem here? Why do you need an interpreter?”799
Other panel attorneys reported difficulties even finding interpreters to assist them, either because of the low compensation rate or a shortage of qualified inter- preters. One panel attorney stated, “I had difficulty on occasion finding a contract interpreter that was willing to do it for the CJA rate.”800 Another panel attorney who practices in Alabama testified about the lack of federally certified interpreters in a three-state area, “...there’s three in Georgia and I think two in Tennessee. There’s none in Alabama...”801 The defender for the Dakotas testified that in his rural dis- tricts, his staff defenders and panel attorneys had difficulty obtaining interpreters. He testified, “One of the biggest problems we run into is availability of interpreters. Generally there is, for example, in Fargo, one interpreter who is relied on and the
794 DavidStickman,FPD,D.Neb.,PublicHearing—Minneapolis,Minn.,Panel2,Tr.,at34.
795 CoriHarbour-Valdez,CJAPanelAtty.,W.D.Tex.&D.N.M.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel 5, Writ. Test., at 3.
796 Id.
797 Id.
798 RichardEsper,CJAPanelAtty.,W.D.Tex.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel5,Tr.,at6.
799 Id.at7.
800 PhillipSapien,CJAPanelAtty.,D.N.M.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel5,Tr.,at41.
801 KenGomany,CJAPanelAtty.,N.D.Ala.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala.,Panel4,Tr.,at33.
Mr. Gomany also told the Committee that certified interpreters are expensive to retain, and said, “I understand certified interpreters, they have like a three percent pass rate.” Id. at 9. However, because of the expense, it makes the cap on service providers very difficult to acquire their services.
No recommendation presented herein represents
the policy of the Judicial Conference of the United 2 0 1 7 R E P O R T O F T H E A D H O C C O M M I T T E E T O R E V I E W T H E C R I M I N A L J U S T I C E A C T 171
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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