Law:Title 2. Trial, Judgment, And Appeal. Subtitle B. Trial Matters from Chapter 21. Interpreters (Texas)

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Subtitle B. Trial Matters

Contents

Chapter 21. Interpreters

Subchapter A. Interpreters For The Deaf

Section  21.001.  Definition.

In this subchapter, "deaf person" means an individual who has a hearing impairment, regardless of whether the person also has a speech impairment, that inhibits the person's comprehension of proceedings or communication with others.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Section  21.002.  Interpreters For Deaf Persons.

(a) In a civil case or in a deposition, a deaf person who is a party or witness is entitled to have the proceedings interpreted by a court-appointed interpreter. A deaf person who is a juror in any case is entitled to have the proceedings interpreted by a court-appointed interpreter.

(b)  The proceedings must be interpreted in a language, including sign language, that the deaf person can understand.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 550, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section 21.003.  Qualifications.

The interpreter must hold a current legal certificate issued by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or a current court interpreter certificate issued by the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters in the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 434, Sec. 2, eff. June 17, 1987.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 614, Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2006.



Section  21.004.  Interpreter's Position In Court.

If a court is required to appoint an interpreter under this subchapter, the court may not start proceedings until the appointed interpreter is in court in a position not more than 10 feet from and in full view of the deaf person.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Section  21.005.  Oath.

(a) The interpreter shall take an oath that the interpreter will:

(1)  make a true interpretation to the deaf person of all the case proceedings in a language that the deaf person understands; and

(2)  repeat the deaf person's answers to questions to counsel, court, or jury in the English language, using the interpreter's best skill and judgment.

(b)  An interpreter appointed for a juror shall also take an oath that the interpreter will not:

(1)  participate in any manner in the deliberations of the jury;

(2)  communicate with any member of the jury regarding the deliberation of the jury except a literal translation of a juror's remarks made during deliberations; or

(3)  disclose any of the deliberations with any person following a verdict.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 550, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  21.006.  Fees And Travel Expenses.

(a) The interpreter shall be paid a reasonable fee determined by the court after considering the recommended fees of the Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

(b)  If the interpreter is required to travel, the interpreter's actual expenses of travel, lodging, and meals relating to the case shall be paid at the same rate provided for state employees.

(c)  The interpreter's fee and expenses shall be paid from the general fund of the county in which the case was brought.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 353, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 835, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  21.007.  Recording Of Testimony.

(a) On the court's motion or a party's motion, the court may order a video recording of a deaf witness's testimony and the interpreter's interpretation of that testimony to use in verifying the transcription of the reporter's notes.

(b)  If a party requests, the clerk of the court shall include the recording in the appellate record.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Section  21.008.  Privilege Of Interpreter For The Deaf.

If a deaf person communicates through an interpreter to a person under circumstances in which the communication would be privileged and the deaf person could not be required to testify about the communication, the privilege applies to the interpreter as well.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Section  21.009.  Jury Deliberations; Verdict.

(a) The interpreter appointed for a juror may be present and assist the juror during the jury deliberation.

(b)  The presence of the interpreter during jury deliberations does not affect the validity of a verdict.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 550, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Subchapter B. Spanish Language Interpreters In Certain Border Counties

Section  21.021.  Application.

This subchapter applies to a county that:

(1)  is part of two or more judicial districts, that has two or more district courts with regular terms, and that is part of a district in which a county borders on the international boundary of the United States and the Republic of Mexico;

(2)  borders on the international boundary of the United States and the Republic of Mexico and that is in a judicial district composed of four counties;

(3)  borders on the international boundary of the United States and the Republic of Mexico and that has three or more district courts or judicial districts wholly within the county; or

(4)  borders on the Gulf of Mexico and that has four or more district courts or judicial districts of which two or more courts or districts are wholly within the county.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Section  21.022.  Appointment.

(a) On the request of a district judge who has made a determination of need, the commissioners court of the county shall appoint court interpreters on a full-time or part-time basis as necessary to carry out court functions.

(b)  The commissioners court shall appoint the court interpreter designated by the district judge requesting the appointment.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Section  21.023.  Interpreter's Qualifications.

The court interpreter must be well versed in and competent to speak the Spanish and English languages.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Subchapter C. Interpreters For County Courts At Law

Section  21.031.  Appointment; Termination Of Employment; Duties.

(a) The judge of a county court at law may appoint an official interpreter for that court and may terminate that interpreter's employment at any time.

(b)  The commissioners court shall prescribe the duties of the official interpreter.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Section  21.032.  Oath.

The official interpreter appointed under this subchapter must take the constitutional oath of office and an oath that the interpreter will faithfully interpret all testimony given in court. An oath covers the interpreter's service in all court cases during the interpreter's term of office.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Subchapter D. Interpreter Fee

Section  21.051.  Interpreter Fee.

The clerk of the court shall collect an interpreter fee of $3 as a court cost in each civil case in which an interpreter is used. The clerk shall collect the fee in the manner provided for other court costs and shall deposit the fee to the credit of the general fund of the county.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 167, Sec. 3.05(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987.


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