The Cassez effect on Mexico’s Legal System

Most states proceed with cases behind closed doors

The Cassez effect on Mexico’s Legal Systemcourtesy EFE Agency
courtesy EFE Agency

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Currently in Mexico, despite the amendment in 2008 to change the way court systems operate with open proceedings and oral arguments, most states have not made these changes and still proceed with cases behind closed doors with everything done in writing.

In the case of many Mexicans who are in prison, their rights during due process have also been violated, but have not been heard nor do they have the money to hire an attorney who will defend their case and look for these irregularities.

The recent case of Florence Cassez, who was originally sentence to 96 years in prison, is a great example of how poorly structured Mexico’s Legal System is and lacks the training and knowledge at all levels.

Cassez was charged with kidnapping back in 2005, but was arrested one day prior to a televised sting operation, in which authorities set up the scenario and forced her to participate in.

Here is where all of the “irregularities” began which is the reason why in Wednesday’s hearing at the Supreme Court of Justice in Mexico, there was a vote of 3-2 in favor of her release due to the fact of all of the irregularities during due process and the violations of her rights for consular assistance.

This is not something new that happens in Mexico, which in another case where a former Marine Lance Corporal, Jon Hammar, was arrested when he crossed the border from Brownsville, Texas, into Mexico with a Roebuck shotgun while trying to register it in the Mexican side of the border.

Hammar was held for almost a week until his family members and the U.S. embassy were both notified.

John Ackerman of the Institute of Legal Research at Mexico's National Autonomous University, told yahoonews that “It's unclear whether the ruling will influence other cases in demanding that defendants' right and due process be followed in prosecution and gathering evidence,” and added, "The hope is that both the criminal justice reform and this kind of decision would create a demand for crimes to be investigated in a more professional manner. Just new rules and decisions are not enough. You need institutional transformation and political will and political independence for these investigators, which is something we haven't achieved yet."

The victims in this case are claiming for justice, which the Mexican government is being heavily criticized for not protecting the rights of its citizens. Instead, again this is one more time that the laws were applied, but justice was not served.

Omar.Martinez@sandiegored.com

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