Experts Warn of Challenges to Mexico’s Judicial Reform Rollout

March 31, 2015

By Michael Lohmuller, InSight Crime, 3/30/2015

prisonTwo investigators recently sat down to discuss Mexico’s ongoing judicial reforms, highlighting several shortcomings related to juvenile detention and police procedures that threaten to undermine new policies set to be fully implemented next year.

Speaking at the Wilson Center on March 27, Elena Azaola — a Mexican psychoanalyst and anthropologist — discussed her recent work investigating juvenile delinquency and the institutions available to help support at-risk youth in Mexico. Azaola examined the obstacles facing adolescents, interviewing a total of 278 jailed youths (aged 18 and younger) in the states of Coahuila, Hidalgo, Morelos, and Sinaloa.

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Op Ed: “Aun en Pantalla” (In Spanish)

November 15, 2013

Reforma, 11/11/2013

By Denisse Dresser

81px-Presunto_culpableHace casi tres años, el documental Presunto culpable evidenció a un sistema judicial podrido. Expuso a jueces incompetentes. A policías abusivos. A testigos mentirosos. A funcionarios del Ministerio Público que acusan al azar porque “es su chamba”. La película plasmó todo lo que no funciona con la justicia en el país. Alertó, sacudió, evidenció y marcó el mapa de ruta de lo que tendría que hacerse para que no hubiera un inocente más en la cárcel. Para que Toño Zúñiga fuera la excepción y no la regla. Para que ni un sólo mexicano fuera aprehendido arbitrariamente, juzgado discrecionalmente, encarcelado injustamente.

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New Resources on the victims movement and judicial reform in Mexico

August 22, 2013

The Mexico Institute is pleased to share with you the following new resources on civic engagement and public security in Mexico.

The Victims’ Movement in Mexico-By Lauren Villagran

After a lengthy effort to combat organized crime in Mexico, the mental and emotional damage caused by violence has inflicted a heavy toll on the population. Increasingly, people who have been victims themselves have emerged as the most powerful advocates for their rights as victims, especially justice before the law. While many groups help deal with the pain of loss, the need exists for a more dedicated effort to help institutionalize judicial reforms. This paper seeks to examine the composition of victims groups, their organizational structure and internal divisions, and helps shed light on a number of facets of this social movement.

Click here to read the paper.

Civic Engagement and the Judicial Reform: The role of civil society in reforming criminal justice in Mexico-By Octavio Rodríguez Ferreira

Although civil society in Mexico has long been weak there have recently been encouraging signs of engagement and activism in response to the rule of law and security concerns. This report focuses on the role played by civil society in the judicial reform process, highlighting the efforts of organizations that have been influential and emblematic of civic activism in this area.

Click here to read the paper.

Mexican Court Orders Release of Frenchwoman

January 29, 2013

prisonThe Wall Street Journal, 1/23/2013

Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday freed a Frenchwoman who had been found guilty of kidnapping and jailed since 2005, arguing that her case was plagued by police abuse, including the staging of her arrest for broadcast on live television.

“The good news is that there is a reform process on the way,” said Eric Olson, Associate Director of the Latin American Program at Washington’s Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars “The Supreme Court is a much more independent actor, and is willing to stand up for basic procedures and guarantees. But there is much more to be done.”

Mr. Olson said the Cassez case highlights the dilemma that all countries face, including the U.S., when they face a violent threat, be it kidnapping or terrorism. “There is an enormous temptation when have such a threat to throw out the rule of law,” he said. “Mexico and any country are better off in the long run strengthening the rule of law.”

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Mexico: Majority of Federal Inmates Imprisoned on Drug Charges

January 16, 2013

Fox News Latino, 1/16/2013

Guns by Flickr user barjackMexico’s first survey of its federal criminal justice system confirmed what many  have assumed for years: The country’s prisons are packed with inmates imprisoned  on drug charges and there is widespread corruption throughout the entire system.

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Calderon: Mexico should consider anonymous judges

August 19, 2010

Associated Press, 8/19/2010

President Felipe Calderon said Mexico should consider appointing anonymous judges for drug trafficking trials, an unexpected proposal that he acknowledged contradicts the country’s efforts to build a more open judicial system.

Calderon, who raised the idea Thursday during meeting with senators on national security, said Mexico should at least consider the idea as drug cartels stage increasingly bold attacks on public official at all levels.

“I recognize that this goes against … our legal tradition,” Calderon said. “But in all honesty, gentlemen, I have found that citizens, police, judges, prosecutors are at risk, in the sense that they are completely exposed to criminal vengeance.”

“We should consider whether this is valid or not, whether anonymous judges would work or not,” Calderon said.

It was a surprise comment from the Mexican leader, who has touted an ongoing reform of Mexico’s secretive, inquisitorial judicial system. That overhaul, backed by millions of dollars in U.S. aid, will create an accusatory system that puts the burden of proof on prosecutors and establish oral trials to replace proceedings now carried out almost entirely in writing.

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