The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday to a post-conviction case in which the defendant, who spoke only Spanish, claimed he didn't enter his plea knowingly or intelligently.
Efren R. Diaz appealed the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which was upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals in Efren R. Diaz v. State of Indiana, No. 20A05-0903-PC-165. At his post-conviction hearing, Diaz presented the testimony of Christina Courtright, a certified court interpreter, who said there were several problems with the translation of Diaz's guilty plea. During the sentencing, Diaz stated he could understand the translator, but on appeal claimed he didn't fully understand.
Courtright prepared a chart outlining the errors, but it wasn't allowed into evidence because of hearsay. The appellate court upheld the plea because it found Diaz failed to show he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel, that it wasn't an error to not allow Courtright's chart, and that he knowingly and intelligently entered his plea to possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and dealing in methamphetamine.