United States v. Solorio

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 01-19-2012
  • Case #: 10-10304
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Berzon for the Court; Circuit Judge O’Scannlain and District Judge R. Lasnik.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under FRE 604, a party must show inaccuracy or illegal conduct from a nonsworn interpreter’s interpretation during trial in order to have a claim of prejudice and get a reversal.

Solorio was arrested by DEA agents during a “buy bust” operation for possession and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. At trial, multiple Spanish interpreters translated testimony by government witnesses. The translators were not placed under oath. However, the witnesses who testified in Spanish were placed under oath. Solorio was convicted on all counts. Solorio appealed his convictions based upon inter alia, violation of FRE 604, failure to swear in the interpreters at the trial. The Ninth Circuit held that it was not plain error to fail to administer an oath to interpreters during trial. The Court held that any error did not affect Solorio’s substantial rights. The Court found that there was no prejudice from the trial court’s failure to swear in the interpreters because there was no showing that the interpreters engaged in illegal conduct or that the interpretations were inaccurate. Absent a showing of inaccuracy, or illegal conduct by a nonsworn interpreter, Solorio was not prejudiced. AFFIRMED

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