On November 22, 2010, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that defendants with limited English proficiency have a constitutional right to court interpreters in criminal trials. The Georgia Court of Appeals denied Annie Ling's motion for a new trial after a jury convicted her of cruelty to children in the first degree. Ling's native language was Mandarin Chinese, and she claimed the court relied on her husband to act as her interpreter. The court held that a lack of an interpreter could impede a defendant's right to be present at trial in violation of the Sixth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) submitted a brief [PDF] on behalf of Ling. The ACLU and many other rights groups have spoken out in support of court interpreters for defendants with limited English proficiency.
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