United States v. Charles, No. 12-14080 (11th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Defendant appealed her conviction for knowingly using a fraudulently altered travel document. Defendant, a Haitian national who speaks Creole but not English, argued that the erroneous admission of a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer's trial testimony of what the interpreter said to him violated her Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause rights. Under Crawford v. Washington, the court found that defendant had a Sixth Amendment right to confront the interpreter, who was the declarant of the out-of-court testimonial statements that the government sought to admit through the testimony of the CBP officer. The court concluded, however, that the error was not plain where there was no binding circuit precedent or Supreme Court precedent that clearly articulated that the declarant of the statements testified to by the CBP officer was the language interpreter.