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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

1.2-13 Use of Interpreters - In General

New, May 10, 2012

Our courts are open to everyone, regardless of their ability to understand and speak English.  No matter what language people speak, they have the right to have their testimony heard and understood. In this case, some of the testimony will be given in <name of language>, and translated into English by an interpreter.

The interpreter does not work for either side in this case, and is completely neutral in the matter.  The interpreter will take an oath to translate between English and <specify other language> accurately and impartially to the best of the interpreter's skill and judgment.  The interpreter will repeat only what is said and will not add, omit, or summarize anything.  You are not to draw any conclusions from any conduct of the interpreter that (he/she) is expressing any opinion about the content of the testimony.

You should treat the interpretation of the witness testimony as if the witness had spoken English and no court interpreter were present.  You must evaluate interpreted testimony as you would any other testimony. That is, you must not give interpreted testimony any greater or lesser weight than you would if the witness had spoken English.

You must not make any assumptions about a witness or a party based solely upon the use of an interpreter to assist that witness or party.  Do not allow the witness' inability to speak English to affect your view of the witness' credibility.



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