Courts and Civil Procedure – Courts

Language Interpreters – Use of Language Interpreters in Legal Proceedings

SECTION 8-19-3

§ 8-19-3. Appointment of certified or qualified interpreters.

(a) When a limited-English-proficient person is a party, or the parent or legal guardian of a party, to a legal proceeding, or an alleged victim in a criminal proceeding, the appointing authority shall appoint a certified interpreter to assist such person during the legal proceeding. The state court administrator's office shall maintain a list of Rhode Island certified and qualified interpreters from which the appointing authority shall make its appointments.

(b) The appointing authority may appoint a qualified interpreter in place of a certified interpreter when:

(1) A good-faith effort has been made to locate and obtain the services of a certified interpreter and one is not available; and

(2) The appointing authority makes a finding that the proposed qualified interpreter appears to have adequate language skills; knowledge of interpreting techniques; familiarity with interpreting in a court or hearing; and that he/she has read, understands, and will abide by an established code of ethics for language interpreters pursuant to this chapter; and

(3) The proceeding is one of a preliminary nature and of a short duration. Proceedings of a preliminary nature may include but not be limited to:

(i) Arraignments;

(ii) Costs, restitution, and/or fine reviews;

(iii) Probation reviews;

(iv) Preliminary hearings on pretrial motions; and

(v) Appearances before the court on bench warrants or arrest warrants.

(c) If any relationship between the interpreter and any of the parties, attorneys, witnesses, victims, or any other persons involved in the proceeding exists, the nature of that relationship shall be disclosed to the appointing authority on the record and the appointing authority may in its discretion excuse the interpreter from said proceeding.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1999, ch. 340, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 415, § 15; P.L. 2014, ch. 79, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 88, § 1.)