A man in Mississippi will spend an additional two months behind bars because, according to his attorney, the only available Spanish translator in the area has died.
Yoany Oriel Serrano-Bejarano is one of three men so far indicted for taking part in a May prison riot at a privately-run federal prison in Natchez, Miss. The riot left a 24-year-old prison guard dead. Inmates told the press that they were protesting abusive conditions including a lack of medical care.
Mr. Serrano-Bejarano pleaded not guilty before federal Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball late last month and jury trial was initially scheduled for December 3. But the case was continued, court documents read, because "the current shortage of interpreters has prevented counsel from communicating with Mr. Serrano-Bejarano in a timely fashion."
"Mr. Serrano does not speak one lick of English and I don't speak one lick of Spanish," the defendant's appointed public defender, Clarence T. Guthrie, told Colorlines.com. "The main interpreter that I use passed away this year."