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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: Alfredo Sanchez appeals his conviction by jury trial of capital murder for shooting and killing his two cousins, Jorge Sanchez and Jose Luis Sanchez. The state waived the death penalty, and the trial court sentenced defendant to life imprisonment. HOLDING: Affirmed. The defendant alleges the trial court violated both his constitutional and statutory rights to be present at a pretrial hearing. The pretrial hearing in question occurred immediately before voir dire. Defendant had not yet arrived in the courtroom. The hearing was held to determine whether the court would appoint an interpreter, other than the witness interpreter, to aid defendant’s appointed counsel during trial. The state argues that the hearing did not bear a “reasonably substantial relationship” to defendant’s opportunity to defend himself and that he was “voluntarily absent” from the hearing. In the alternative, the state argues that any error was harmless error. Defendant argues he has a statutory right to be present. Article 28.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure requires an accused to be present during any “pre-trial proceeding.” Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 28.01 (Vernon 1989). The hearing was a pretrial proceeding and the defendant’s presence was required under Article 28.01. Therefore, the trial court did err in conducting the proceeding without the defendant’s presence. Since the only issue at the hearing concerned the appointment of a second interpreter and the defense counsel, to his credit, paid for a second interpreter at his own expense, the error clearly did not have any more than a slight effect. Although the trial court erred in conducting the proceeding outside the presence of the defendant, the error was harmless. In addition to the right to be present under Article 28.01, defendant has a constitutional right to be present. The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment creates a constitutional right to be physically present at trial. The trial court had previously made the decision that an interpreter was necessary. The trial court had previously appointed an interpreter, and the only issue raised in this hearing was whether the defendant was entitled to a separate interpreter during the trial to aid his attorney. Because the defendant’s presence could not have furthered his defense, his presence did not bear a reasonably substantial relationship to his opportunity to defend. Further, since defense counsel paid a second interpreter out of his own funds and was eventually reimbursed by the court, any error would be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Although defendant’s absence violated Article 28.10, the error did not have any more than a slight effect. His absence did not constitute a violation of defendant’s constitutional rights under the reasonably substantial relationship test. Even if there was a constitutional error, it was clearly harmless error because, beyond a reasonable doubt, it did not affect the outcome of the trial. Defendant argues that the failure to appoint an interpreter to aid his attorney, other than the court’s interpreter, violates the Confrontation Clause and Effective Assistance of Counsel Clause of the Sixth Amendment. in this case, there is no need to determine if the circumstances required appointment of a separate interpreter in addition to the court’s interpreter. Because the defense counsel retained a second interpreter at his own expense and was eventually reimbursed by the trial court, any error, if any, is clearly harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. OPINION: Carter, J.

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