Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mexico's Supreme Court upholds police vetting process

Guadalajara -
In 2008, during the administration of former president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Mexico's congress passed a law which requires every police officer in the nation (about 450,000) to submit to an extensive battery of polygraph, background and other fitness for service tests. Cleansing local police ranks of corruption was a linchpin of Calderón's drug war strategy. Testing began in January 2009, and was to be completed by Jan. 3, 2013. But huge numbers of officers had not been examined by that date, so the congress agreed to postpone the testing deadline to Oct. 29. Mexico extends time to weed out corrupt local cops. When even that deadline proved too demanding, it was extended a full year. Mexican senators seek yet another delay in police vetting.

Today a five judge panel of Mexico's 11 member Supreme Judicial Court unanimously upheld the polygraphing and examination process over the objections of a federal police officer who claimed they were unconstitutional. The judges ruled that public law enforcement agents enjoy less protection from scrutiny than a private citizen, and must submit to investigations which in other circumstances might be regarded as invasive of privacy interests.

Last year the court upheld the application of the same evaluations to public prosecutors. Mexico's Supreme Court approves polygraph tests for federal prosecutors.

On Oct. 15, president Enrique Peña Nieto said "Mexico needs a real renovation of its police forces, the most important link in public security." Guadalajara's police force could be slashed in two weeks.

Mar. 11, 2014 - Mexican judges consider constitutionality of "hawk" law
Jan. 16, 2014 - Mexican judges: warrantless cell phone tracking is legal

© MGR 2014. 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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