Letter: Deaf defendant deserved interpreter

Letter: Deaf defendant deserved interpreter

March 30, 2014

Regarding the reversal of the conviction of Darrell Cockrell (Court grants appeal in sexual abuse case, March 23, amarillo.com), aren’t readers of the Amarillo Globe-News entitled to know the name of the presiding judge who failed to appoint an interpreter to ensure a fair trial when it was apparent the defendant was deaf?

Under these facts, the judge has a duty to unilaterally make the appointment, barring a request by the defendant’s counsel or the prosecutor, who is mandated by law to ensure that justice is done.

The prosecutor has a duty to request the appointment of an interpreter for a deaf defendant when defense counsel fails to do so.

I’m sure the voters of Lipscomb County would like to know. After all, the cost in taxpayer dollars for the trial and appeals is substantial, not to mention the young victim will once again be subjected to the trauma of confronting the alleged perpetrator — if current District Attorney Franklin McDonough (who was not the prosecutor who tried the case) determines that the case should be retried.

Richard Roach


Editor’s Note: The presiding judge in the case, who is the subject of this letter, was State District Judge Steven R. Emmert.



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