208 years for Mexican expert over quake-collapsed school

07/15/2021

Source: AP News

A judge sentenced a Mexican building expert to 208 years in prison Wednesday for signing off on defective remodeling work blamed in the collapse of school that killed 26 people during a 2017 earthquake.

It was the longest sentence yet handed down in relation to the magnitude 7.1 quake of Sept. 19, 2017, though it is largely symbolic, because Mexico does not permit life imprisonment and limits sentences to 60 years.

City prosecutors said Juan Mario Velarde, the “responsible director” of the remodeling, was convicted of 26 counts of homicide. He is one of hundreds of private experts who are paid to oversee safety and standards on building sites.

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Mexico’s attorney general escalates fight with U.S. over former minister

1/20/2021

Source: Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz said on Tuesday he was considering elevating to international courts a dispute with the United States over Mexico dropping an investigation into a former defense minister.

Gertz said the U.S. Department of Justice had effectively declared ex-defense minister Salvador Cienfuegos innocent when it sent him back to Mexico and dropped U.S. charges against him after he was arrested in California last year.

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Mexico City Sees 69% Drop in Inmate Population

5/21/2015 InSight Crime

hands in handcuffsOvercrowding in Mexico City’s prisons has fallen by 69 percent over the last four months thanks to reforms in the criminal justice system that could offer a solution for other Latin American countries with overpopulated penitentiary systems.

According to Hazael Ruiz Ortega, the Undersecretary for Mexico City’s Penitentiary System, the reduction is due to a reclassification of the types of crimes that are considered jailable offenses, reported El Universal.

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Infographic: “Were You Mistreated?”

By Gabrielle Velasco, Mexico Institute intern

__Were_You________MistreatedThis new infographic by the Mexico Institute charts data gathered from a survey conducted by Roberto Hernandez that asks Mexican prison inmates in the State of Mexico and DF if they were mistreated during their interrogations.

Click here to see the infographic. 

Related material:

Video: Criminal Just in an Emerging Democracy: Perspectives from Mexico’s Inmates

Transparency and the Rule of Law Series

Inmate Experiences in Mexican Prisons

Mexico’s Prison Reform

Youth Incarceration in Mexico

EVENT TOMORROW! Criminal Justice in an Emerging Democracy: Perspectives from Mexico’s Inmates

prison cell blockWHEN: TOMORROW, Friday, May 27, 9:00-10:30am

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico’s lower courts are undergoing a dramatic transformation, abandoning its behind-closed-doors, written criminal trials, and embracing a new criminal justice system (NCJS) with oral, adversary procedures. This reform template has been adopted by at least fourteen nations in Latin America. In order to measure the effects these reforms have on the criminal justice system, this event will present two studies that examine the system from an inmate’s perspective.

Roberto Hernández, the creator of the movies Presunto Culpable and El Tunel, will present a study that quantifies how authorities use their investigative powers to conduct eyewitness identification procedures; and interview or interrogate suspects. Elena Azaola will discuss a study conducted in 2014 in youth detention centers for adolescents who committed serious crimes. The study analyzes the background of these adolescents and the factors that contributed to their criminal actions.

Speakers

Roberto Hernández 
Mexican Lawyer and Filmmaker

Elena Azaola
Psychoanalyst and Anthropologist

Moderator

John Bailey
Professor, Georgetown University

Click here for more information, or to RSVP.

UPCOMING EVENT! Criminal Justice in an Emerging Democracy: Perspectives from Mexico’s Inmates

hands in handcuffsWHEN: Friday, March 27, 9:00-10:30am

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico’s lower courts are undergoing a dramatic transformation, abandoning its behind-closed-doors, written criminal trials, and embracing a new criminal justice system (NCJS) with oral, adversary procedures. This reform template has been adopted by at least fourteen nations in Latin America. In order to measure the effects these reforms have on the criminal justice system, this event will present two studies that examine the system from an inmate’s perspective.

Roberto Hernández, the creator of the movies Presunto Culpable and El Tunel, will present a study that quantifies how authorities use their investigative powers to conduct eyewitness identification procedures; and interview or interrogate suspects. Elena Azaola will discuss a study conducted in 2014 in youth detention centers for adolescents who committed serious crimes. The study analyzes the background of these adolescents and the factors that contributed to their criminal actions.

Speakers

Roberto Hernández 
Mexican Lawyer and Filmmaker

Elena Azaola
Psychoanalyst and Anthropologist

Moderator

John Bailey
Professor, Georgetown University

Click here for more information.

Movie Showing Today in Silver Springs: Presumed Guilty

The Woodrow Wilson Center Mexico Institute invites you to attend a screening of:

(Presumed Guilty)
Directed by Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith

As part of the AFI‐Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival on:

Wednesday, June 23, 2:30 p.m.

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
8633 Colesville Rd. (intersection with Georgia Avenue)
Silver Spring, Md.

Presunto Culpable, or Presumed Guilty in English, is the story of Toño Zúñiga, a Mexico City man falsely accused of murder who gains the courage to challenge his accusers and in so doing expose the abuses of the justice system. With the help of a prominent attorney and self-described “lawyers with cameras,” Toño succeeds in holding the system accountable or, at least, shining a glaring light on its incompetencies, but not without incurring significant risks for himself and his family. Presunto Culpable is a slow-motion exposé of the courts and police, as well as a tight and surprisingly suspenseful narrative, but it’s also a compelling lesson about the possibility of change both in the individual and in the society.