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United States v. Felix-Jerez

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
667 F.2d 1297 (1982)


The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted Miguel Felix-Jerez (defendant) for escaping from the prison where he was serving his sentence for a prior conviction of entering the United States illegally. Deputy Marshal Larry Hardeman interrogated Felix-Jerez when he was arrested after his escape. Because Felix-Jerez spoke no English and Hardeman spoke no Spanish, Daniel Tolavera acted as their interpreter. Hardeman made notes of his questions and Felix-Jerez's translated answers. The notes implicated Felix-Jerez's guilt. Tolavera never translated the notes into Spanish for Felix-Jerez, and Felix-Jerez never saw or signed the notes to verify their accuracy. At trial, the prosecutor did not ask Hardeman if he could independently recall the interrogation, and there was no evidence to show Hardeman's present recollection of the interrogation was insufficient. Nevertheless, the judge admitted Hardeman's notes, and the notes were read to the jury. The jury convicted Felix-Jerez, and he appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, arguing Hardeman's notes were an inadmissible hearsay account of the interrogation.

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