Can a Trial Lawyer Be An Interpreter ?

The case of Baltierra v. State, 586 S.W.2d 553 (Tex. Crim. App. 1979) (op. on reh'g) is as authority that the trial court may not appoint trial counsel as interpreter. Any person possessing adequate interpreting skills may be sworn as an interpreter. See TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. ANN. art. 38.30(a) (Vernon Supp. 2000). Baltierra does not prohibit the use of trial counsel as interpreter. See Baltierra, 586 S.W.2d at 559 n. 11. Rather, the Baltierra court expressed reservations about using trial counsel as an interpreter on the ground that it might prove distracting for trial counsel to interpret while fulfilling his duty to implement Baltierra's confrontation rights. See id. In Baltierra, such concerns were justified in light of Baltierra's not guilty plea and adverse witness testimony at a suppression hearing and trial.