Use of Russian Interpreter Adds to Light-Hearted Restraining Order Modification Hearing


By Carlos Ramirez

SACRAMENTO – A hearing on the modification of Bielykh Anatolii’s restraining order terms called for a Russian translator, which added a little light-heartedness to the Sacramento County Superior Court Zoom hearing.

Anatolii was brought before Judge James P. Arguelles in Sacramento Superior Court June 11 to reduce the terms of the restraining order placed on him from a no-contact order to a peaceful-contact order, by request of the victim.

The hearing, however, required the presence of Feruz Usmanov, a professional Russian interpreter, because of Anatolii’s inability to speak English.

Several months ago, Anatolii’s offenses against the victim and the victim’s child, largely stemming from alcohol abuse, bought the defendant a no-contact restraining order. Attending several Alcoholics Anonymous meetings was a primary condition in the deal decided at the time.

In the present day, after having satisfied the demand of attending Alcoholics Anonymous sessions, the victim decided to decrease the severity of the order placed on Anatolii.

During the hearing on Thursday, communication with the defendant and the victim was moderated by the Russian interpreter, Usmanov, causing a light-hearted atmosphere to permeate the courtroom. The positive mood resulting from the added complications can be attributed to Judge Arguelles’s tone when addressing the situation.

As the translator entered the meeting, Arguelles amusingly commented, “We’re doing it the old-fashioned way” referencing the need to slowly and clearly state the proceedings in short fractions to be effectively translated by Usmanov as opposed to the simultaneous talking to the attendees and the interpreter.

The judge and the attorneys’ acceptance of the inconveniences allowed for a smooth hearing, despite the added layers, starting with Judge Arguelles having Anatolii consent to holding the hearing over Zoom meeting while live-streaming it on YouTube.

Assistant Public Defender Damien Jovel began by proclaiming that Anatolii was to have his restraining order reduced, adding that the victim was present to consent to the change in the terms of the order. He requested that the restraining order be modified from a no-contact order to a peaceful-contact order.

Public Defender Jovel proceeded by stating that Anatolii had participated in 25 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, one more than his required 24 meetings, over a few months since the previous restraining order was put into place.

Deputy District Attorney Frederick Gotha voiced his acceptance of the statement, acknowledging satisfaction with the previous demands.

Afterward, Mr. Jovel offered to bring forth the victim to testify. Judge Arguelles declined, stating that he did not need the victim’s testimony to act on the matter at hand, but agreed when DDA Gotha declared that it is his policy to have the victim consent in this paradigm of cases.

The hearing was presented with another amusing series of events when the victim, who also could not converse in English, exclaimed that she could not hear what was being said and requested an increase in volume.

Following the victim’s testimony, all parties agreed on a modification of the terms of the restraining order. Anatolii was placed under a peaceful-contact only restraining order, because of the consistent good work he had done.

As a last formality in the case, Judge Arguelles said that he could not change the existing restraining order. Under the law, he could only terminate the existing restraining order and place a new, lighter restraining order on Anatolii.

All parties once again consented, thus concluding an amusing hearing that ran smoothly regardless of the restrictions enforced by COVID-19, where the defendant successfully reduced the severity of his restraining order.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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