Miranda rights are critical to protect an individual privilege against self-incrimination. When a defendant does not speak English, what is the process to make sure that a defendant is advised of their rights in Spanish or their native language.
In Commonwealth v. Oscar De Los Santos, the question of whether his Miranda rights are valid arises because they were not read to him in his first language, Spanish. A simple assumption about what was said in a language that witnesses do not understand cannot satisfy the Commonwealth’s burden of proving the Miranda requirement beyond a reasonable doubt. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will address this issue in Commonwealth v. De Los Santos. The SJC hear oral argument on this case in March of 2023.
Spanish is the only language that Mr. de los Santos speaks and understands. In moving to suppress his statements before trial, Mr. de los Santos contended that he did not receive the Miranda warnings. The only pretrial evidence concerning Spanish-language warnings came from officers who cannot speak or understand Spanish.