Attorney: ‘certain’ case will be resolved; new pretrial for man with interpreter

November 21, 2014
27th Circuit Court Judge Terrence R. Thomas

27th Circuit Court Judge Terrence R. Thomas

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — A new pretrial date has been set for the 44-year-old Hart man facing a cocaine possession charge who was scolded by Judge Terrence R. Thomas during his first pretrial hearing Monday, Nov. 17, for bringing an English interpreter with him.

Juan Leonel Estrada is set for a new pretrial hearing in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m., according to court personnel.

“I am certain that the case will move forward, and there will be a resolution acceptable to both sides,” said Estrada’s court-appointed attorney Doug Springstead.

The translator who went before the judge with Estrada Monday was a “certified interpreter” appointed through district court, said Springstead, who did not wish to elaborate more on the case to ensure proper representation of his client.

Thomas, who is retiring as judge at the end of the year, told Estrada he was “wasting the court’s resources” by using an interpreter. “I think you’re playing a game with me,” he said to Estrada, who was described by Springstead as being “fairly fluent” in English.

The judge rejected Estrada’s plea Monday and took away his Michigan driver’s license until he could pass an English proficiency exam.

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