Judge Ordered Defendant’s Motion Translated, Served; But It Never Happened, Leading to Court Confusion

By Dalia Bautista Rodriguez

SACRAMENTO – Defendant Ramon Mendez wants to know more about the officers who arrested him, and on his own filed a “Pitchess Motion” that could require the judge to look into an officer’s personnel files.

But his motion was opposed here this week in Sacramento County Superior Court because parts were written in Spanish and other parts in English and it had not been translated.

Judge Steven White had reviewed the motion the prior night and noticed it was in Spanish and filed 355 days prior. It had additionally not been translated or served to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or the Attorney General.

However, the judge noted the court ordered Nov. 30 that the motion be translated, and served to all parties. And that has not happened, leading to the confusion in court now.

Mendez said that he preferred to have everything translated to him with the help of certified Spanish interpreter, Mariana Sanchez, who told Mendez his motion was filed on Feb. 20 of last year and was not served. Mendez expressed that he was informed that during his last court date they would do it in English.

Nick Espedal, the investigator on this case, stated that Mendez “was informed that Ramon Mendez was to have an interpreter at his current location to assist him.”

Judge White asked Mendez if he has had the assistance of the interpreter at his specified location, to which Ramon stated, “No.”

Deputy District Attorney Deborah Glynn claimed that “if attorneys can get phone calls with their clients with a court order, I am going to assume that an interpreter can do the same.” She also stated that she has current knowledge that Espedal has written to Ramon Mendez several times.

Glynn also added that, “Mr. Mendez can speak fluently in English and most certainly he is entitled to speak in Spanish if he chooses to because I am understanding that is his first language.”

Mendez has not yet requested for his petition to be translated, although Judge White asked if Espedal can work with Ramon to make sure the process of translating occurs.

Judge White also added that he will need to drop the case from the calendar as it has not been served to the Department of Rehabilitation and he needs to be able to read the case entirely to get a full understanding.

Espedal informed Judge White that not only does the Pitchess Motion need to be translated, but that every motion that Ramon files needs to be translated.

DDA Glynn had also received a second motion from Ramon Mendez that was written in Spanish and English, a discovery motion per Brady v. Maryland, and added that, “because it is partly written in Spanish, “I have decided that on that basis I’m opposing it. However, I am representing to the court that I will comply with all discovery requirements…”

There was that order issued on Nov. 30 where the translation was mentioned, but there was an issue with the investigator.

Judge White read, “I ordered as follows, the CCD was either to appoint an investigator or direct a current investigator to communicate with the defendant in the month of December. … the Pitchess Motion to be translated no later than Jan. 15, the copies to be delivered to the District Attorney and the Attorney General.”

Mendez somewhat remembered the statement and believed that, from his understanding, it would be translated from Spanish.

Espedal was not present at the last court hearing, but it was his “understanding that one was going to be assigned to Mendez at the CDC or where he’s currently housed, but I didn’t know if it was on the CCD to assign the investigator…”

Judge White requested that Espedal coordinate with CCD (Conflict Criminal Defenders Office) that the motion be translated and appropriately served no later than March 1 and ensure proper copies are distributed.

Dalia Bautista Rodriguez is a third year- transfer at UC Davis and majoring in Community & Regional Development. She is originally from Guadalupe, CA.

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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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