Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jalisco judges: just one step below traffic cops for perceived corruption

Guadalajara -
Mexico amended its famous constitution of 1917 in 2008, requiring the nationwide implementation of "oral trials" - a process which must be completed by 2016. An oral trial is one where witnesses to a crime must appear in open court in the presence of a judicial officer and testify under oath, subject to direct and cross examination by a public prosecutor and defense attorney. They are intended to function as criminal proceedings in Anglo-American jurisdictions have for centuries, although in this country there are no juries. The new uniform code of criminal procedure is an outgrowth of the 2008 constitutional amendments. Yucatán about to get a major legal facelift with "oral trials".

Within the past few days Jalisco finally got around to complying with the now six year old rules. For months the state has said it had no money for the project, and more recently that there were almost no attorneys sufficiently trained to operate as courtroom lawyers. Nor judges, for that matter.

But the first redesigned courtrooms have now officially opened their doors in select locations. Jalisco governor Aristóteles Sandoval - still reeling from last week's brazen kidnapping and brutal murder of the state's federal congressman and his aide on the Guadalajara beltway, a crime which has already disappeared from the newspapers - took partial credit.

"It was a great challenge to move forward this new system of adversarial justice, but we congratulate ourselves for having achieved it on time as we inaugurate the new tribunals," said the governor.

What Sandoval did not mention was one of the results of Mexico's 2014 National Survey on Perceptions of Security. Seventy-seven percent of Jaliscans responded that the state's policía vial - traffic cops - were corrupt. Just below them on the ladder were judges: 66% of respondents said the local judiciary has earned second place for corruption. The latter number is in accord with recent studies done by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, a private think tank, which has reported that Jaliscan justice is in the bottom 20% nationally with respect to the impartiality of its magistrates. Consistently ranking in first or second place for the reliability and integrity of its courts is Nayarit state.

Feb. 17, 2014 - Mexicans have greater confidence in their military than any other public institution
Mar. 5, 2014 - Mexico enacts uniform criminal procedure code for the first time in its history
Feb. 4, 2013 - Crime with "impunity" still the norm in much of Mexico

© 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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