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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Luis Angel Aviles was charged with burglary in 2002. Unsatisfied with his attorney’s decision to negotiate a plea rather than go to trial, Aviles wrote a letter to the trial court to complain about his attorney. He also requested a Spanish-language interpreter, though he could communicate somewhat in English. Aviles’ attorney sought to have himself removed from Aviles’ case. While waiting in the courtroom for the hearing on the removal motion, the prosecutor indicated that she would seek a more severe charge if Aviles refused the plea bargain. Aviles’ attorney explained the prosecutor’s position to Aviles in English. The interpreter gave him the same information in Spanish. During the interpreter’s discussion, which was out of earshot of anyone else, Aviles pointed his hand at the prosecutor like a gun and said, “Cuando salga de aqui la mato,” which the interpreter found to mean, “When I get out of here, I’ll kill her.” The interpreter told Aviles’ attorney about the threat, and the two of them reported it to the prosecutor, who, in turn, reported it to the district attorney. Aviles was then charged with retaliation for threatening to kill a prosecutor. The interpreter was the only one who testified. Aviles was convicted and sentenced to 20 years. On appeal, Aviles argues that the communication of the threat between him and the court-appointed interpreter was confidential, more specifically, whether the attorney-client privilege applies when a criminal defendant makes a threat in the presence of his court-appointed interpreter. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court says that to decide this issue, it need not decide whether a court-appointed interpreter is a representative of a lawyer because of the communication of a threat. Such a communication made to a lawyer is not made for the rendition of professional legal services; the same reasoning applies when the communication is made to a court-appointed interpreter. “We hold that this communication of an intent to commit a crime is not covered by the attorney-client privilege, rendering irrelevant the role the interpreter may have been serving at the time of the communication. Accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the interpreter to testify about the threat.” OPINION:Puryear, J.; Law, C.J., Patterson and Puryear, JJ.

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