04 Dec The Couch: Manipulative and Sly Lawyer
The Couch is a place to exchange ideas and brainstorm, not only for its contributors but also for our readers who engage in the ensuing discussions. Sometimes, to certain people, “keep calm and keep interpreting” may not be enough. A thank you goes out to this week’s anonymous contributor for the Couch!
You are working in a criminal trial involving a serious crime, and the trial has been emotionally charged. You’ve been interpreting accurately and impartially throughout the proceedings and have demonstrated true professionalism.
Now, during the cross-examination of a key witness, it becomes evident to you that the defense attorney is attempting to manipulate the testimony by pressuring the witness and twisting her words. The witness, who speaks limited English, appears confused and intimidated. You realize that the defense attorney is taking advantage of the language barrier in the hopes of securing a lesser sentence for his client.
Your primary duty is of course to accurately interpret all statements made in court, but you recognize the unfairness of the situation. The defense attorney’s tactics are out of line, the witness is being unduly influenced, and the judge does not seem to realize what is going on.
Remember that you are in open court. Do you continue interpreting accurately and impartially, knowing that it may contribute to an unfair trial, or should you take a more active role in ensuring justice is properly served? If so, how?
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