Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 4.15 1. In General

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To assist counsel, and to protect him- or herself against unjust conviction and sentence, a criminal defendant must be able to communicate effectively in a number of challenging ways.  In the course of testifying or entering a plea, s/he must be able to:


(1) accurately and completely describe persons, places, situations, and events;


                (2) tell what happened over time;


                (3) request clarification when questions are vague or misleading, and


                (4) during cross-examination,


                                (a) recognize attempts to discredit their testimony,

                                (b) refuse to confirm contradictory interpretations of facts, and

                                (c) defend their position.


They must also be able to evaluate and respond to adverse testimony.  To assist in their own defense, they must be able to understand the details and subtle nuances of questions and answers spoken in English during testimony, and, when appropriate, get counsel’s attention and draw it to relevant details of testimony.[33]


                Basic or limited English ability is patently insufficient to accomplish these challenging tasks.


[33] Judge’s Guide to Standards for Interpreted Proceedings 125-126.