Posts tagged "1103818"

Commonwealth v. Lujan (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-038-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   16-P-1428                                       Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MIHAIL LUJAN.     No. 16-P-1428.   Hampden.     September 14, 2017. – April 3, 2018.   Present:  Wolohojian, Agnes, & Wendlandt, JJ.     Rape.  Practice, Criminal, Motion to suppress, Interpreter, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Interpreter.  Due Process of Law, Interpreter.  Constitutional Law, Voluntariness of statement, Admissions and confessions.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on April 30, 2013.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Tina S. Page, J.   An application for leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal was allowed by Geraldine S. Hines, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk, and the appeal was reported by her to the Appeals Court.     David L. Sheppard-Brick, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Patrick Levin, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the defendant.     WOLOHOJIAN, J.  We are called upon in this interlocutory appeal to decide whether a Superior Court judge erred in allowing the defendant’s motion to suppress statements he made during a police interview.  The defendant’s native and primary language is Moldovan but he also has some knowledge of Russian, a language unrelated to Moldovan.  To bridge the language barrier between the officers (who spoke English) and the defendant (who did not) the officers enlisted the help of a Russian-speaking student intern (intern).  The intern had no knowledge of Moldovan, and was not a certified interpreter in Russian.  After reviewing a videotape of the interview and conducting an evidentiary hearing that included testimony from a court-certified Russian interpreter, the judge found numerous irregularities in the way the intern carried out his interpretative role.  These included instances where the intern omitted or changed words, phrases, and even questions and answers; instances where the intern suggested words to the defendant that the defendant adopted to his detriment; instances where the intern asked his own questions; and instances where the intern resorted to pantomime and gestures in an attempt to explain Russian words to the defendant and to help understand what the defendant was trying to say.  The judge concluded that the defendant was not effectively advised of his Miranda rights and that the defendant’s statement was not voluntary because much of the statement was not his. In this interlocutory appeal, the Commonwealth argues that (1) the […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm

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