Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 4.34 2. Preventing Testimony Against Client

Skip to § 4.

For more text, click "Next Page>"

The courts do not allow an interpreter to corroborate through his or her own testimony any testimony s/he has interpreted.[116]  Moreover, the obligation of impartiality may be violated by an interpreter serving as a witness in the same way as a judge’s impartiality is violated by testimony as a witness concerning a case in over which the judge is currently or has previously presided.[117]


                Similarly, a bailiff may not properly testify as a witness before a jury that has been in his or her care.[118]


[116] See R.R., 398 A.2d at 87; McClellan, 286 S.E.2d at 875.  But see Amaya Ruiz v. Stewart 121 F.3d 486 (9th Cir. 1997) (in a capital case, interpreter used as witness by competency examiner, who concluded defendant was malingering).

[117] Brown v. Lynaugh, 843 F.2d 849, 851 (5th Cir. 1988).  See also McCartney v. Com’n on Judicial Qualifications, 12 Cal.3d 512, 534 (1974); Merritt v. Reserve Ins. Co., 34 Cal.App.3d 858 (1973); id. at 883; Ibid.; C. Sevilla, Protecting the Client, the Case and Yourself from an Unruly Jurist, The Champion 28, 30 (National Ass’n of Criminal Defense Lawyers, August, 2004).

[118] Turner v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 466 (1965).