Georgia Supreme Court Establishes Constitutional Right to Interpreter

I’m not just posting about Ling v. Georgia (PDF) because I’m her criminal appeals lawyer. Although it is pretty nice to have lost a motion for new trial and an appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeal and ultimely win in the Supreme Court on cert. while helping to secure a new substantive new substantive Constitutional right along the way. I think I’d be posting about this case even if I weren’t Mrs. Ling’s lawyer.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed the Georgia Court of Appeals and found that a criminal defendant has a Constitutional right to an interpreter. The Court also found that courts, when faced with an issue of whether an interpreter is needed, must make an explicit finding on the record on the issue.

The Court also rejected the notion that a trial attorney can unilaterally decide to forego an interpreter based upon a claim of trial strategy because a decision like that renders the client absent from her own trial.

The decision has gotten well-deserved coverage since yesterday. CNN posted an article on its Justice page. Kate Brumback posted a story on AP yesterday. CBS has a report of it as well.

It was a hard-fought victory. And I hope that the precedent assists other similarly-situated defendants in future cases.

If you’re interested in how we got here, my oral argument is available for viewing.


Latest Resources

The Advocate's Key - A Law Podcast

Three Lessons From My Legal Podcast

The Advocate’s Key, my podcast, is as much for me as it is for the audience who listens to it. I choose guests because I want to learn from them or because I’m curious about their story.
Read More
mcdonough slip and fall accident

McDonough Man Injured in Slip and Fall Accident

Drew had been looking forward to Friday all week until he slipped and fell while walking. Who's fault was it?
Read More
how to prepare for a legal deposition

How to Prepare For a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case

Six months ago, you were in a car accident on Macon Street in McDonough. Another vehicle struck you from behind, and since then you have suffered from excruciating back pain. Today, you received a notice of deposition – what does that mean?
Read More