Many of the incidents were presumably more minor missteps, but included on the list were several cases involving some of the more notorious capos to be arrested in recent years. In 1997, for instance, one judge dismissed drug trafficking charges against former Sinaloa Cartel boss Hector Palma Salazar without justification, sending him to prison instead for weapons possession, which carried with it a sentence of just six years.
Another judge twice dismissed charges of money laundering against the founder of the Sinaloa-linked Colima Cartel, Adan Amezcua Contreras. The judge was suspended from his post for ten years as a result.
Overall, however, the majority of the sanctions were simple reprimands, issued either publicly or privately. Just 156 of the cases in which sanctions were handed out were deemed grave, and experts told Contralinea that Mexico lacks mechanisms to more easily remove dishonest or incompetent judges from their posts.
These statistics and anecdotes are a reminder that, despite the judicial reforms passed in 2008, Mexico still lacks a way to effectively deal with corrupt judges.
The 2008 reforms have emerged as a pillar of Calderon’s response to Mexico’s public security dilemma, and an answer to critics who say that the results of Calderon’s crime policies have been purely negative. According to this argument, despite the short-term spike in violence -- some 17,000 killings last year were linked to organized crime, compared to roughly 2,700 in 2007 -- Calderon and his team have set the stage for a long-term improvement in security by modernizing the judicial system.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Problems in the Judicial Branch
Drawing on a recent article from Contralinea, I have a new piece at InSight here. Highlights: