Pennington County District Court File No. 57-CR-18-586
Ellison, Attorney General, Michael Everson, Assistant
Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent)
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, St.
Paul, Minnesota; and Kristine A. Kolar, Ninth District Public
Defender, Scott G. Collins, Assistant Public Defender, Thief
River Falls, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Cleary, Chief Judge; Halbrooks,
Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.
Stat. § 611.21 (2018), authorizing payment for expert,
investigative, or other services, does not authorize payment
for interpreter services to facilitate the public
defender's out-of-court communications with a client,
even when the public defender asserts that it does not have
funds available to pay for these services.
CLEARY, CHIEF JUDGE
appeal from an ex parte order denying appellant's
application for funds to obtain interpreter services under
Minn. Stat. § 611.21 (2018), appellant argues that the
chief judge of the district court abused his discretion by
denying funding. We affirm.
County charged appellant Luis Damian Cruz Montanez with
attempted second-degree intentional murder and second-degree
assault for allegedly stabbing C.J.R. with a knife.
Appellant, who is represented by the public defender, does
not speak English and requires the assistance of a
Spanish-language interpreter. Appellant has had the
assistance of a Spanish-language interpreter at all of his
district court appearances.
filed an ex parte application under Minn. Stat. § 611.21
requesting $2, 000 for interpreter services to facilitate
attorney-client communication outside of court. In support of the
application, appellant included affidavits from his counsel,
the chief public defender for the district, and the chief
administrator for the state Board of Public Defense. The
affidavits state that (1) the fiscal-year 2019 budget
allocations for experts, transcripts, interpreters, and
conflict attorneys have been made to each district public
defender's office and are "otherwise
encumbered," and (2) the Ninth District Public
Defender's budget no longer has funds available to
provide interpreter services.
chief judge denied appellant's application for
interpreter services. Although the chief judge found that
"the Ninth District Public Defender budget for expert
services is completely depleted for the remainder of FY
2019," the chief judge denied appellant's request
for interpreter services under section 611.21. The chief
judge concluded that section 611.21 "is to be used for
services other than the services of a qualified
interpreter," and that Minn. Stat. § 611.33, subd.
3 (2018), requires the state Board of Public Defense to pay
for interpreter services for client consultations outside of
appeal followed. We granted appellant's request for
expedited consideration. See Minn. Stat. §
611.21(c) (providing that defendant may appeal immediately
and request an expedited hearing). Although not a party, the