Victor R. Caivano/AP
Mexican President Felipe Calderon, right, and Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala, left,
arrive at the Pardo Palace in Madrid, Wednesday, June 11, 2008. (AP)

Mexico Overhauls Judicial System

June 19, 2008 09:29 AM
by Cara McDonough
Under a new amendment signed by President Calderon, Mexico’s judicial system now allows public trials and a presumption of innocence.

30-Second Summary

The constitutional amendment signed by President Felipe Calderon means that “guilt or innocence will no longer be decided behind closed doors by a judge relying on written evidence,” reports the Associated Press.

The new system must be fully in place by 2016, but it may take even longer to change the culture surrounding the accused in Mexico.

“This is long overdue,” said analyst George Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. “It was a medieval system.”

Reform efforts have been in the works for the past decade, but the previous two presidents couldn’t get them passed.

“Now we can offer citizens a more transparent judicial system that respects human rights and protects your rights with more speed and efficiency,” Calderon said.

Calderon has good reason to welcome a more legitimate system: he says it will aid his fight against organized crime. Since he took office in 2006, the president has waged a war against drug-and-crime-related violence that has included amped-up military presence across the country.

Headline Links: Mexico to have U.S.-style public trials

Background: Mexico’s outdated judicial system

Related Topic: Calderon’s war on crime

Reference: Visiting Mexico


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