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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RONALD RILEY (07/02/86)

filed: July 2, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
RONALD RILEY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Criminal Division, No. 170 CD 1985

COUNSEL

Patricia A. Wenger, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Yvonne A. Okonieski, Assistant District Attorney, Harrisburg, for Com., appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Tamilia and Hester, JJ.

Author: Tamilia

[ 354 Pa. Super. Page 423]

Appellant appeals from the judgment of sentence of six to twelve years imprisonment for rape with a consecutive term of three to six years imprisonment for burglary imposed on November 21, 1985 following his jury convictions on June 26, 1985.

Appellant presents only one issue for our review, that is, whether the court erred in permitting an acquaintance of the victim to act as her interpreter during the trial. He does not allege the testimony was inaccurate nor has he pointed to any specific resultant prejudice.

A careful review of the briefs, record and trial court Opinion reveals overwhelming evidence against the appellant. Shortly after police received reports from two persons

[ 354 Pa. Super. Page 424]

    that a tall black man was entering, via a fire escape, a third-floor window of an apartment building, police arrived at the victim's apartment and found appellant, literally, with his pants down and on top of the victim, Ms. Choe. Ms. Choe is an elderly Korean woman, unable to speak English, thus the necessity of an interpreter.

Appellant alleges judicial error in permitting Ms. Barbara Pak to act as a Korean interpreter for Ms. Choe because it was the first time she had interpreted in court and because she was an acquaintance of the victim. We disagree and agree with the trial court that Ms. Pak was well-qualified to perform her assigned duties. As indicated in the court's Opinion;

(Slip Op. p. 2)

". . . [T]he decision to use an interpreter in a trial setting rests in the sound discretion of the judge presiding over the case." Commonwealth v. Carillo, 319 Pa. Super. 115, 465 A.2d 1256, 1262 (1983) citing Commonwealth v. Pana, 469 Pa. 43, 364 A.2d 895 (1976). Our Court, in Carillo (the case specifically dealing with defendant who did not speak, read or write English), carefully considered the issue of interpreters on a broad scale ...


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