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Mistranslation Case Ends with Plea
The man whose so-called confession was mistranslated by police has pled guilty to a deal that will send him to prison for a child abuse charge. As part of the deal prosecutors dropped a second child abuse charge and agreed to let Jose Vasquez serve ten years in prison, with another 15 years suspended.
Vasquez’ case was highlighted by Fox 25 when his then attorney discovered the police mistranslated his interrogation. A federal court interpreter’s report said the Oklahoma City Police officer’s translation not only replaced the word “move” with the word “shake,” but also left out statements of innocence by Vasquez. The report also says the officer embellished statements that made him sound guilty.
In April, Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said an internal investigation revealed there was no intentional wrongdoing. “The bottom line is there is nothing here we found where our interpreter made intentional wrongful interpretations to try to get some type of conviction besides all that there's an abundance of other evidence in reference to that case,” Citty told Fox 25.
A judge removed the private attorney from the case an appointed a public defender who ended up negotiating the plea deal. The chief public defender says even without the taped interrogation, which prosecutors had agreed not to use at trial, there was a good change a jury could have found Vasquez guilty. “He obviously is concerned if he could get a fair trial and if there could be another mistranslation of what he says,” Fox 25 Legal Analyst David Slane said “I think all of that probably played into his mind."
For the plea deal, the court ordered an independent interpreter for Vasquez. “It appears the court did go out of its way to try to make certain there is an interpreter involved in this case that was independent, probably because of all the publicity that was made of it,” Slane said, “However that should not denote that we don't still have problems with our court system.”
Slane says the state law requiring certified court interpreters for non-English-speaking defendants is rarely followed. “People deserve to have their words translated accurately and correctly by someone who is neutral and we have to do a better job.”
The State Supreme Court is looking at the court interpreter laws to find a way to make them more effective and efficient. The move comes as several judicial officials prepare to take part in a national conference on making justice more accessible regardless of any language barrier.
Posted: Tuesday, September 18 2012, 11:11 PM CDT
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Search continues in creek for missing Okla. teen
May 25, 2013 22:59 GMT
KINGFISHER, Okla. (AP) -- Authorities continue to search for a Kingfisher teenager who disappeared after jumping into Uncle John Creek.
Police say 17-year-old Taylor Faine jumped into the creek Thursday and did not resurface. Kingfisher Fire Chief Randy Poindexter told The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/10s2oB6 ) on Saturday that manmade dams have been built in hopes of finding Faine's body.
Authorities say Faine was swimming with friends in an area where no swimming signs are in place because of dangerous currents in the creek.
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