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Admissibility Rate: .750    (3/4)

Kassim v. City of Schenectady, 415 F.3d 246 (2d Cir. 2005).  City evicts man from property where he operates convenience store.  Man sues city, alleging violation of his due process rights.  To show lost profits, man offers business records translated from Arabic by Marcia Parker.  District court excludes records.  Jury awards minimal damages.  Exclusion affirmed.  Plaintiff established no foundation that Parker was competent to translate records, and Parker admitted that she neither speaks nor reads Arabic, and that her so-called translation simply consisted of what plaintiff told her to write.

United States v. Richards, No. 01-1601 (2d Cir. Oct. 15, 2002) (unpublished).  Prosecution expert translates taped conversations in criminal trial.  Admissibility affirmed.  Expert grew up speaking Jamaican patois and had worked as translator of Jamaican patois for seven years at time of trial.

United States v. Abonce-Barrera, 257 F.3d 959 (9th Cir. 2001).  At trial for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, DEA agent Florentino Rosales testifies for prosecution concerning transcription and translation of tape-recorded conversations in Spanish.  Jury convicts.  Admissibility affirmed.  Agent was born in Mexico, took between 24 and 30 college courses in Spanish and Latin American Studies, and has extensive employment experience using his translation skills.  Defendant argues that agent has never been qualified as expert previously, but Fed. R. Evid. 702 imposes no such requirement.  Defendant also says testimony was biased because agent also participated in case investigation.  But defendant did not raise this issue below, and in any event, bias generally goes to weight, not admissibility.  Rule 702 is liberally construed in areas involving "other specialized knowledge," and district court did not abuse discretion in admitting testimony.

United States v. Cui Qin Zhang, 458 F.3d 1126 (10th Cir. 2006).  During pretrial detention on drug charges, defendant places recorded phone call, in which she is speaking Mandarin Chinese.  At trial, parties stipulate that one phrase spoken by defendant during phone call should be translated as: "Really, didn't I used to tell you, after I came in, it's like . . . I knew the car had drugs."  Detective later testifies that "I knew the car had drugs" was independent phrase, standing on its own, and that defendant could have chosen alternative Mandarin language had she intended to say "After I came to jail, I learned the car had drugs."  Jury convicts.  Admissibility affirmed.  Defendant complains that district court failed to conduct any gatekeeping analysis of detective's translation.  But trial court determined that detective had grown up speaking Mandarin, since age 10.

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