e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 32902
Opinion Date : 08/17/2006
e-Journal Date : 08/23/2006
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Sabuda v. Kim
Practice Area(s) : Litigation, Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam – Saad, Jansen, and White
Full Text Opinion

Whether the trial court erred by not appointing an interpreter for the respondent; People v. Sepulveda; Phinney v. Perlmutter; Whether the trial court properly refused to allow respondent’s attorney to act as her official interpreter; Constitutional rights to confrontation and due process; Effect of the fact this PPO case was civil in nature; Whether the evidence was sufficient to show the respondent was stalking the petitioner; Pickering v. Pickering; Pobursky v. Gee; MCL 750.411h(1)(c), (d), and (e); Nastal v. Henderson & Assoc. Investigations, Inc.; Whether the trial court was required to find evidence of a credible threat; MCL 600.2950a; MCL 750.411h(4)


The trial court did not err in failing to appoint an interpreter for the respondent in this PPO proceeding since the trial court sufficiently fulfilled its obligation to establish respondent understood English well enough to proceed without an interpreter. The trial court asked respondent at the start of the PPO hearing if she spoke English. Respondent’s attorney informed the trial court respondent did understand English but if she needed clarification, counsel was willing to help her. The trial court then specifically asked if respondent needed an interpreter. Respondent’s attorney told the trial court no interpreter was available to translate between English and Korean, but she would be able to act as an interpreter for respondent. The trial court would not allow this and thus, inquired whether respondent understood English well enough to proceed. The attorney stated the respondent did understand English well enough to proceed. The trial court subsequently swore respondent as a witness, which allowed it to observe and evaluate her ability to communicate in English. This case was distinguishable from Sepulveda, where the defendant spoke no English whatsoever. Further, the trial court properly refused to allow respondent’s attorney to act as her official interpreter. The court also concluded under the circumstances, respondent’s right to due process was not violated. The PPO issued by the trial court was affirmed.

Full Text Opinion