Miranda Rights In Spanish Must Be Correctly Translated, Court Rules

Person in handcuffs
Person in handcuffs

Cops giving Miranda warnings in Spanish better make sure nothing gets lost in translation.

Miranda warnings given in translation to Spanish-speaking suspects must correctly reflect the English version, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Monday.

The San Francisco-based court’s decision overturned “conspiracy to manufacture marijuana” and gun possession convictions for Jeronimo Bello-Rosales, who confessed after hearing his Miranda rights read to him in English and sloppily rendered in Spanish.

The detective said Bello-Rosales could receive a court-appointed attorney “libre,” by which he mean “free of charge,” according to Fox News Latino. The Spanish word for free-of-charge is “gratis.” “Libre,” by contrast, means freedom of action.

A lower court convicted Bello-Rosales based partly on statements he made during interrogations after receiving the incorrectly translated Miranda warning.

“Because the warnings administered to Botello did not reasonably convey his right to appointed counsel as required by Miranda, his subsequent statements may not be admitted as evidence against him,” the decision says.

The decision came down in April, but was only filed and reported by the news media on Tuesday.



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