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Name: U.S. v. Botello-Rosales
Case #: 12-30074
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/15/2013
Summary

Denial of motion to suppress reversed where officer’s translation of Miranda warning did not adequately convey to defendant his right to appointed counsel. Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to federal drug and weapons charges after his motion to suppress his post-arrest statements to police was denied. He appealed. Held: Reversed. When a detective gave a Spanish language Miranda warning to defendant, he informed him that if he lacked money to pay for a lawyer, “one, who is free, could be given to [him].” The Spanish word “libre” was used to convey the attorney would be provided without charge. However, lay and expert witness testimony established that the word “libre” was an incorrect translation, as it does not mean “without cost” but rather “available” or “at liberty.” Thus the Spanish language warning failed to reasonably convey to defendant his rights as required by Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436. The fact that officers may have correctly advised him in English, and that defendant may have understood that warning, does not cure the error because the government failed to clarify which warning was correct. Thus, defendant’s post-Miranda statements may not be used against him. Remanded to the district court to allow defendant to withdraw his plea.