The American Bar Association’s Special Committee on Hispanic Legal Rights wishes to help both the police and Spanish-speaking population by translating the Miranda rights into one standardized format in Spanish. Problems exist with officers using their high school Spanish language skills, relying on unofficial translators such as the wrongdoer’s friends, or resorting to adding the letter “O” to the end of a word so that it sounds Spanish to English speakers.
Several problems have arisen over the years since the Miranda rights have been established. The aforementioned language issues have caused some cases to be dismissed such as one in California in which an officer used the word “libre” instead of “gratis.” The former implies available, and the latter means at no cost, which was what the officer intended because he was referencing the portion of the Miranda rights regarding free legal services if the wrongdoer could not afford an attorney. Although the defendant was convicted of drug charges, his case was dismissed because of the wording misstep.
The Special Committee hopes to resolve issues like these, as well as clarify the Miranda rights to the Spanish-speaking population. The group would like to implement more translations for other non-English-speaking people, too, as a fitting celebration of 50 years of the Miranda rights.