Criminal Defense of Immigrants
§ 4.31 B. Ethics
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The field of ethics for interpreters is developing. A Code of Responsibility for Interpreters in the Judiciary has been developed, with 10 canons, including accuracy and completeness, representation of qualifications, impartiality and avoidance of conflicts of interest, professional demeanor, confidentiality, restriction of public comment, scope of practice, assessing and reporting impediments to practice, duty to report ethical violations, and professional development.
For federal court interpreters, the Federal Court Interpreters Advisory Board has developed a Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, consisting of 14 Canons, for all federal court interpreters. This Code provides that official court interpreters not disclose confidential information except upon court order (Canon 4), disclose to the court and other parties any prior involvement in the case or parties (Canon 5), and avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest (Canon 12). A number of states have adopted similar codes of professional responsibility for interpreters.
An interpreter must normally take an oath at the beginning of service in a case to make a true and impartial interpretation of the proceedings. In some cases, at the beginning of service in a particular case, the court will ask the interpreter to adopt an oath previously taken.
 Code of Responsibility for Interpreters in the Judiciary, 30 N. England L. Rev. 353 (1996), reprinted as Appendix 3 in Moore & Mamiya, Interpreters in Court Proceedings, in J. Moore, editor, Immigrants in Courts 202 (Univ. of Washington Press 1999). See also id. at 38 et seq. (Univ. of Washington Press 1999); Oregon Interpreter’s Code of Professional Responsibility, Appendix P, in C. Crooker, The Art of Legal Intepretation: A Guide for Court Interpreters 123 (1996).
 See Code of Professional Responsibility of the Official Interpreters of the United States Courts (1979), Appendix O, in C. Crooker, The Art of Legal Intepretation: A Guide for Court Interpreters 122 (1996).
 See Cal. Code Ann., Rules of Court, App. Div. I, § 18.3, Standards of Professional Conduct for Court Interpreters; Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann., Court Rule, Code of Professional Conduct for Court Interpreters; Minn. Stat., Court Rules, Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters in the Minnesota State Court System; N.J. Stat., Court Rules, Code of Professional Conduct for Interpreters, Transliterators, & Translators; Oregon Rules of Court, Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters in the Oregon Courts; Wash. Rules of Court Ann., Rule 11.1, Code of Conduct for Court Interpreters.
 See e.g., Fed. R. Evid. 603; Fed. R. Evid. 604; Kan. Stat. Ann. 75-4354; Or. Rev. Stat. § 45.275(7); Wash. Rev. Code § 2.42.050; People v. Avila, 797 P.2d 804, 805 (Colo. Ct. App. 1990); State v. Tranh Van Pham, 675 P.2d 848, 859 (Kan. 1984). But see United States v. Pluta, 176 F.3d 43, 51 (2d Cir. 1999); United States v. Kramer, 741 F. Supp. 893, 895 (S.D. Fla. 1990) (holding that court may swear interpreter at any point in the proceedings and have interpreter ratify earlier interpretation). For statutes requiring administration of oath to an interpreter for a deaf defendant, see Cal. Evid. Code § 751(a); Fla. Stat. ch. 90.6063; Ga. Code Ann. § 24-9-1-7; Iowa Code § 622B.5; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15:270(2); Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 221, § 92A; Mich. Comp. Laws § 393.506; Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 1278; R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-5-8(a); Tex. Crim. P. Code Ann. § 38.31.