Skip to main content

Mexican justice: Ayuda, por favor!

Michael O'Hare, professor of public policy | March 7, 2011

Everyone knows about the river of blood – criminals’, bystanders’, and good guys’ – flowing in Mexican streets as the country tries to get on top of its drug trafficking problem and the corruption of police and military it has engendered.  What’s less well known is the pervasive inability of the criminal justice system to protect citizens from ordinary crime by distinguishing real perps from victims of police setups and frames, a situation that probably has a fair amount to do with the drug war’s gruesome persistence.

Two of our students, Roberto Hernandez and Layda Negrete, have kicked this latter hornets’ nest with amazing results, making a documentary about one murder investigation and trial that is changing the world south of the border, and maybe elsewhere.  But the system to which police and trial judges have accommodated themselves over decades isn’t going down without a fight. After having given false testimony against  defendant Toño, and recanted it in a second trial that was only possible because the defense lawyer in the first had forged his license papers, the sole witness has decided that he would prefer his humiliation not be made public, and a judge in Mexico has enjoined showing the movie.  Of course it’s unthinkable that the cops and prosecutors stood him up for this charade.

These Abogados Con Cámaras could use some help (no good deed goes unpunished: all the profits from the theatrical distribution are being contributed to a criminal justice NGO) in cash, and in print.  Now it’s not just a justice issue, but also a free speech issue; censorship and corruption hiding behind a ludicrous privacy figleaf.

Cross-posted from The Reality-Based Community.

Comments to “Mexican justice: Ayuda, por favor!

  1. Dear Professor O´Hare:

    I am a mexican attorney based in the State of Jalisco, an state that promotes it self as the second economy in the country. However, justice is almost jurassic.
    Here, as everybody in the country, we are worried about the “war” against criminals and all its implications. But, as a calamity that is bigger than those clearly identified sectors of criminals, is the corruption.
    Carrying out a trial before a Court of law has become a matter of influence traffic and bribes. I am not talking about big cases or interests, but about ordinary judicial cases: the system is corrupt in all levels.
    The economy of our State has been damaged by a legal system that is ruled by the interests of those that converted the trials in a personal business.
    Many people quit from going to Court, cos’ they are not going to get justice there. Therefore, other means of resolving conflicts are taking place, many of them, as you can suppose, are unlawful.
    Then, we don’t really know any more what is worst: The power of group of criminals or the generalized corruption of the government. We know something: Against the criminals there is a war.
    Thank you for this space of communication.

  2. Hi i have read an article in LA times, the study uc Berkeley have conducted about public thinking regarding immigrants deteriorating of californian’s life due to immigrants, do you anything about this survey conducted here by you’re university??? i dont believe any part of that, becouse California have been at all times an state of immigrants!!! and we have great times!! and bad times of economics recessions. as amatter of fact his State its been one of the best State sof the Union thanks to immigrants, dont you think?? can you help me to identify who have such record regarding such study??? i would like to know more about it.


Comments are closed.