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Exclusion of Non-English Speaking Countries’ Certified Documents

The Yolo County Superior Court trial judge denied Ajay’s defense attorney to present evidence to the jury of his accuser’s conviction in Nepal, Nepal trial court documents which were certified by the Government of Nepal. The judge denied the admission of these documents on the basis that the attestations were incorrect as the words “true translation” were used instead of “correct copy”.

It was explained to the judge that the documents translated into English by the government of Nepal were original documents not copies, hence the attestation did not need to say “correct copy.” The attestation verified that the document was a true translation of the “certified copy” from the court, which was written in Nepali, the official language of Nepal.  The translation of the court documents from Nepali to English was done by the Ministry of Justice. A certified copy of each document, written in Nepali, was also provided to the judge, along with the original English translation. The documents were certified and attested from the court level, to the Ministry of Law & Justice, the Foreign Ministry and finally the Nepal Embassy in Washington DC. This was all explained to Ajay’s trial judge along with a declaration from a Nepali law attorney certified to practice in Nepal’s Supreme Court and a declaration from the Embassy of Nepal in Washington D.C. The judge refused to take into consideration the declarations and continued to deny the admission of this evidence into the trial.

These Official Nepal Court documents were denied as evidence despite the fact that all requirements were followed according to California Evidence Code 1530 regarding public documents in a foreign country. If the judge’s exclusion is upheld by the Appellate court, it could set a precedent for the admission of translated documents for all other future court cases in California, and possibly all of the United States.