Friday, August 23, 2013

"Absurd and illogical," Mexico's A.G. calls court ruling which freed narco executioner who killed DEA agent

Guadalajara -
The fallout continues in Mexico over the case of former Guadalajara Cartel drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, who was freed two weeks ago by a three judge federal tribunal which concluded that he should have been tried in a state rather than federal court for the February 1985 murders of a U.S. Drug Enforcement agent and an undercover DEA tipster. The death house on Lope de Vega.

Earlier this week the administration announced that it did not agree with the legal decision, which has provoked considerable controversy at home and abroad. PRI government distances itself from Caro Quintero release. Today Mexico's Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), the federal attorney general, appealed the ruling to the Supreme Judicial Court.

The PGR told the high court justices in legal filings that the lower judges, who are headquartered in Caro Quintero's home state of Jalisco, reached their determination based upon "absurd and illogical reasoning." Prosecutors demanded that their order freeing the 60 year old ex-drug lord be rescinded, and that he be taken back into custody.

Caro Quintero had served 28 years of a 40 year sentenced when he was released just after midnight on Friday, Aug. 9. The government says it does not know where he is, but claims it is looking for him. U.S. prosecutors also want Caro for trafficking, money laundering and other crimes.

The tortuous legal rationale employed by the lower court was attacked in documents filed by Mexico's attorney general. The Jalisco judges ruled that since the DEA agent, who worked out of the American Consulate in Guadalajara, was murdered for "reasons unrelated to the exercise of diplomatic duties," the crimes committed against him were not punishable by federal law, but only under state kidnapping and homicide statutes.

The PGR disputes that analysis and argued in its preliminary brief that even if jurisdictional errors were committed in the case, the federal court should have transferred custody of Caro Quintero to a state judge, rather than freed him outright. Defense attorneys contend he cannot be tried a second time for the homicides because of double jeopardy rules, however.

Prosecutors also complained that the federal court did not formally notify them of its ruling until nearly 10 hours after Caro Quinteraro walked out of prison. The court faxed its habeas corpus order to jail staff just before midnight Aug. 8. The convicted drug boss was released 90 minutes later, at 1:30 a.m.

The attorney general's appeal is designed not only to take Caro Quintero back into custody, but to prevent other such court orders from being entered in favor of several of his former Guadalajara Cartel associates, who are pursuing an identical legal strategy. The PGR asked the Supreme Judicial Court to enjoin the Jalisco federal court from releasing Caro's co-defendants until it can rule on the issues.

It will likely be months before the high court resolves the complexities of the case.

Aug. 26 - Attorney general Jesús Murillo Karam predicts the government will prevail in the appeal.

Nov. 6 - Mexican Supreme Court orders Guadalajara Cartel drug lord back to prison
Dec. 16 - Interpol asks for help in locating Rafael Caro Quintero

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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