By Adrian Lopez
A unique motion was filed today in the trial readiness conference of defendant Daniel Manuel Lopez, who is charged with threatening to commit a crime and is set to go to trial on the charge on Monday, April 29, 2019, at Yolo County Superior Court.
Defense counsel for Mr. Lopez, Deputy Public Defender Stephen Betz, filed the motion on behalf of his client before the Honorable Janene Beronio.
The motion, an unusual and unique one by court standards, was a request by the defendant Mr. Lopez for there to be an audio recording of the upcoming jury trial.
Mr. Betz explained to the court that a key witness in the case was a Spanish speaker, so there would need to be a certified court interpreter to translate from Spanish to English for the court, and the court reporter would record what the interpreter says: this is standard operating procedure for the court.
However, Mr. Betz elaborated to the court that his client, Mr. Lopez, believed an audio recording of the Spanish testimony was necessary to properly and fully analyze and examine the testimony and evidence of the Spanish-speaking witness as, according to Mr. Lopez, words and phrases in Spanish can have multiple meanings and connotations that court interpreters and reporters may not reflect to the court or to the record.
Judge Beronio expressed confusion about the motion, and even asked of Mr. Betz if he had any legal authority to make such a request to the court. considering the role of the court interpreter and reporter. Mr. Betz replied that, although he had no legal authority to make the request, he would still do so on behalf of his client.
The Deputy District Attorney firmly opposed the motion for an audio recording of the court proceedings, stating that a certified interpreter’s translation, and the court reporter’s record of that translation, should be the only official record of court proceedings and that no such audio recording should be allowed.
Judge Beronio declared that she would give it some thought before the trial and investigate whether such an audio recording could, or should, be allowed.