US Supreme Court will not hear Nobles County case

WORTHINGTON - An attempt by a Worthington man to bring the Confrontation Clause in front of the country's highest court has failed. The US Supreme Court will not hear the case of Minnesota versus Lopez-Ramos, a Worthington man convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Cesar Lopez-Ramos was convicted in 2016 of first-degree  criminal sexual conduct against a 12-year-old victim. He was sentenced in 2017 to 12 years in prison.

After his arrest, Lopez-Ramos was interviewed with the assistance of a Language Line. When the case went to trial, and later to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Lopez-Ramos argued he did not get the chance to put the interpreter on the stand, stating that made information obtained during the interview through the interpreter hearsay.

The nation's highest court rejected Cesar Lopez-Ramos' petition to argue that his Sixth Amendment Right was violated when he wasn't able to call an interpreter to the witness stand during trial. Both the Nobles County District Court and the appellate court disagreed, and the conviction was affirmed.

The case moved to the Minnesota Supreme Court, where the conviction was affirmed on a narrow basis on a 4-3 margin. The Supreme Court said use of an interpreter does not implicate the Confrontation Clause, nor does an interpreter become a witness for or against the defendant.

The Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear the argument, stating the case is ideal to address how the Confrontation Clause applies to foreign language interpreters.

Travis Smith, Murray County Attorney who acted as special Assistant Nobles County Attorney, said in response to the petition that a resolution from the higher court is premature and unnecessary.

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