People v. Cardenas

Criminal Justice
Case No. 02SA236, Colorado Supreme Court
ACLU Case No. 2002-17


In this case, a criminal defense attorney agreed to provide free representation to an indigent defendant who did not speak English. The attorney asked the court to provide an interpreter so that she could confer with her client. The court ruled that the state was obligated to provide such a service only to clients represented by the public defender. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed. People v. Cardenas, 62 P.3d 621 (Colo. 2002). In an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the Colorado Supreme Court to reconsider its decision, the ACLU joined the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar in an amicus brief. The brief argued that providing an interpreter to indigent defendants is necessary to give full effect to the right to counsel, the right to due process, and the right to the equal protection of the law.


David Lane

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