The court has received inquiry form the Marshal’s Service
and the Probation Department concerning persons who seek to act as defense interpreters
of defendants in the court’s holding cells or of defendants during interviews with
probation officers. Specifically, the court has been informed that because there
are no clear guidelines, family members or friends of a defendant have acted as
interpreters, as well as persons with no documentation of their profession who claim
to be interpreters. The court finds that standards must be set since both situations
often involve highly sensitive information being exchanged between a defendant and
his/her attorney or probation officer. Because the holding cells are small and the
court is experiencing a large increase in criminal cases, interpreters are able
to overhear conversations between lawyers and their clients, including the topic
of cooperation with the government. Moreover, the court has mandated that if a defendant
is cooperating, the Probation Officer must discuss the nature of the cooperation
with the defendant. Hence, the court orders the following:
1. Only interpreters certified by the state of California
or the federal government may be allowed to act as interpreters in the Marshal’s
holding cells or during probation interviews.
2. The court’s supervising interpreter will maintain
a list of certified interpreters who wish to interpret in the holding cells or for
probation interviews, and will regularly provide a copy to the Marshal’s Service
and the Probation Department.
3. Any interpreter desiring to be placed on the list
must provide a copy of his/her certification to the supervising interpreter for
photocopying so that its validity may be verified.
4. If desired, an attorney may contact the supervising
interpreter 24 hours in advance and he/she will provide an interpreter to assist
in the holding cells, throughout the day at no cost.
5. Because of security concerns, no certified interpreter
who is a family member or friend of a prisoner may interpret for him/her in holding
cells or during probation interviews.
6. Because of security and confidentiality concerns,
no certified interpreter who a) is residing with a person who is charged in a pending
federal indictment, who is a federal prisoner or on federal supervision, or b) has
an immediate family member (child, parent, spouse, sibling) in federal prison or
show is on active federal supervision or is charged in a pending federal indictment
may interpret in the holding cells or during probation interviews.
DATED: April 18, 1997
FILED: April 18, 1997