Interpreters; cost shall be borne by non-English-speaking defendant if he is convicted of offense. (SB184)

Introduced By

Sen. Richard Stuart (R-Westmoreland)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Interpreter appointed for non-English-speaking defendant.  Provides that the cost for an interpreter for a non-English-speaking defendant shall be borne by the defendant if he is convicted of the criminal offense. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/10/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/12
01/10/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/12 12103162D
01/10/2012Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/25/2012Reported from Courts of Justice (8-Y 7-N)
01/25/2012Rereferred to Finance
01/30/2012Reported from Courts of Justice (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2012Rereferred to Finance
02/01/2012Continued to 2013 in Finance (14-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB173.


VACOLAO, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

VACOLAO opposes this legislation to require criminal defendants to pay for the services of interpreters who are essential to fair access to the courts. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act requires Virginia's courts as federally funded entities to provide people with limited English proficiency with equal access.

robert legge writes:

What is the typical cost? Who would collect? If person has no money, does Mr. Loupassi really want people to go through the judicial system having no idea what is going on?

Mary Wickham writes:

This is a terrible idea. Do you want to pay to incarcerate someone when they have a defense but can't afford to communicate it to you? That makes sense only if you assume that anyone charged with a crime is guilty - not exactly the American way.

Allesia Hamilton writes:

Although illegal immigrants are costing our communities a lot of money when they are arrested, tried, and incarcerated, this bill has a number of flaws. First, if the accused and family has to pay the cost for the government’s interpreters then they have to be allowed to provide their own. This then opens the door for defense to later argue that the family member/friend wasn’t up to the level of correctly translating “legalize”, and the potential is there for the conviction to be overturned on a technicality. Furthermore, the defendant could claim that that the wish not to use the court’s interpreter for fear of having to later pay could be an admission of guilt, leading again to the potential for a conviction to be overturned when the person is found guilty.

Of course the really obviously thing here is also how would the court collect? The defendant is now in jail, and many illegals don’t even have bank accounts. The family will of course disappear quickly.