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Name: Correa v. Superior Court
Case #: S093476
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/25/2002
Subsequent History: Reversed.
Summary

At appellant’s preliminary hearing, police officers testified regarding extrajudicial statements made by the Spanish-speaking victim and another Spanish-speaking witness. The officers did not understand Spanish, but received the statements through contemporaneous translations by unbiased bystanders, who also testified at the preliminary hearing about their language skills and the circumstances of the translation. On appeal, appellant argued that because of the role played by the translators, the police officers’ testimony constituted inadmissible multiple hearsay. The Court of Appeal agreed, as the police officers were recounting the statements of the translators, not the original declarants. Here, the California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal’s decision. The participation of a translator in such circumstances does not interpose a layer of hearsay. They are merely a “language conduit” so that the translated statement is considered to be the statement of the original declarant. Contrary prior California decisions which have reached a contrary conclusion are overruled.