Iowa Supreme Court Justices

Iowa Supreme Court Justices (front row, left to right) Justice David Wiggins, Chief Justice Mark Cady, and Justice Daryl Hecht. (Back row, left to right) Justice Edward Mansfield, Justice Brent Appel, Justice Thomas Waterman, and Justice Bruce Zager.

Contributed photo

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in an appeal from Muscatine County Court on Thursday in Davenport.

The oral arguments in the case of the the State of Iowa v. Carlos Ariel Gomez Garcia will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Davenport Central High School Performing Arts Center, 1120 Main St.

Oral arguments are open to the public.

According to court documents, Gomez Garcia was charged with delivery of cocaine in December 2014.

Gomez Garcia, 26, is able to read and understand the English language and sought to waive the assistance of court interpreters at his trial.

According to court documents, he believed that the presence of interpreters would be distracting and confusing to him and could be unfairly prejudicial to him during a jury trial.

District Court Judge Stuart Werling instructed standby interpreters to provide real-time translation, but told Gomez Garcia that he could remove the wireless earpiece if he no longer wanted to use their translation services, according to court documents.

Gomez Garcia then waived his right to a jury trial and the judge ultimately found him guilty on the drug charge. He was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison in September 2015.

The Iowa Court of Appeals in November determined that the trial court erred in refusing to accept Gomez Garcia's waiver of interpreter services and reversed his convictions and ordered a new trial.

The state argued on further review before the Iowa Supreme Court that improperly denying a waiver of interpreter services does not fundamentally affect the fairness of the proceedings and does not warrant automatic reversal of a criminal conviction.