At Least 17 "Confessed" Drug Traffickers Released Under New National Torture Protocol
La Jornada: Alfredo Méndez
In two recent weeks, at least 17 drug traffickers and ''confessed'' operators of various criminal groups were released after federal courts seated in the states of Jalisco and Tamaulipas revoked prison sentences upon confirming that the police and/or military who apprehended them used methods of torture to extract confessions.
In recent months, criteria issued by various federal courts (unitary and collegiate circuit) have been standardized. [The standardization comes] after the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) last year issued a national protocol governing the performance of judges faced with proven instances of torture. The national protocol forces them to grant the freedom of a prisoner who has been subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, even if a prosecutor had provided evidence of his full [participation] in the crime for which he is charged.
According to records of the Federal Judiciary (PJF) consulted by La Jornada, judges of the first and third Unitary Courts of Jalisco and judges of the Second Collegiate Court of Tamaulipas, ordered the immediate release of several members of the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels. Of the convicted and confessed criminals who gained their release, fourteen belonged to the Gulf cartel.
Federal Judge José Montes, with the Third Unitary Court of Jalisco ordered the immediate release of the accused, after 5 years and 10 months' imprisonment, upon considering that the Attorney General's Office (PGR) could not prove that their confessions were lawful. The court ruling says:
''From the evidence recounted earlier, it can be deduced that the defendants were beaten and that the State [failed to] demonstrate that the confessions surrendered to the Public Prosecutor's Office in Guanajuato was voluntary.''
Pursuant to various amparos [protections, similar to injunction] granted by the Third Collegiate Court of Jalisco, Montes Quintero overturned the ten-year prison sentence that he himself had issued against the accused for organized crime and possession of cartridges for the exclusive use by the Army, and he determined they did not commit any crime.
In another decision issued by the Second Collegiate Court of Tamaulipas, according to records of the Federal Judiciary, three Sinaloa cartel operators arrested in August of 2011 and tortured by the military that apprehended them, were also released.
In the arrest operation conducted in the state of Tamaulipas, the military entered a residence without a search warrant issued by an appropriate federal judge, so the Appellate Court found that the evidence gathered in the residence (arms, money and other objects that the accused were using to commit crime), '' lacks any evidentiary value.''
All the confessed criminals already left the Federal Social Rehabilitation Centers numbered 12 located in Ocampo, Guanajuato; 13 located in Miahuatlan, Oaxaca, and 14 Gómez Palacio, Durango, as required by the judicial rulings. The names of those released are reserved.
This is actually very good news. Convictions that result from Mexican criminal investigations and prosecutions are totally unreliable because the government invariably violates the defendant's constitutional rights. Quite recently, a U.N. official commented that Mexico had perfectly adequate laws, but that nobody ever did anything with them. President Pena Nieto and this Mexican Congress just enacted anti-corruption laws, but did not have the political will to actually make them mean anything. Typically, Mexican legislators were quite careful to write the legislation in such a way that it could not be used to prosecute any of them. The Mexican president, whose recent scandals supposedly were the reason for the anti-corruption laws, was left completely untouched and untouchable.
Ideally, the dismissal of these cases by some Mexican courts means that the country is developing an independent judiciary. It may also be the courts are stepping up to fix problems that the executive and the legislature have not been willing to fix. But dismissals like these, based on the government's violation of the defendant's constitutional rights, are quite unprecedented. However, it appears that the judiciary is limiting its actions to dismissal of charges against low level organized crime members accused of purely criminal violations. In addition, the dismissals are coming out of just few courts. So, the courts appear to be unwilling to dismiss charges against political prisoners like Dr. Mireles, unwilling to abandon the judiciary's traditional deference to the Executive in suppressing political adversaries.
Despite this, dismissal of cases for violation of constitutional rights when confessions are elicited via torture is an important first step. The government prosecutors, the police and the military all routinely rely on torture to obtain confessions, as U.N. Commissioner Mendez recently wrote. As a result, the Mexican government has lost all credibility when it convicts anybody or when it parades alleged criminals in front of TV cameras.
Just as an example, when U.S. law enforcement officers investigate and arrest a suspect, the vast majority of the public believes that the arrest was carried out professionally and competently. A vast majority of the public also believes that any resulting conviction or dismissal of the charges is valid. I am not saying the the majority of the public always likes a court's ruling, on either side, but they trust the system.
Contrast this with public opinion in Mexico, where the public is totally skeptical about anything the government says or does in a criminal investigation. Come to think of it, the courts that are dismissing cases where confessions were obtained through the use of torture are themselves skeptical of the government.
So, until the government learns to preform competent, professional and unbiased investigations, its crime fighting efforts will lack credibility. The only institution that can force the government to clean up its act is the judiciary. Assuming that the judiciary gets off its collective ass and does its job.
Everything you say makes sense to me and is according to other info I take from other places, particularly in regard to judicial reforms. If one looks in the macro sense, it is going in the right direction, trajectory.
The thing my gut tells me is that even though the court may make an order, it will be a bureaucrat to execute it. I heard once a statement to the effect, "Mexico has some of the best laws on earth, but never enforces them." So, whether law or court order some other branch of government has to carry it out. The guys with money, bullets, and keys are in control.
And Dr.Mireles what? they release these scum of the earth but not Dr.Mireles whom liberated almost all Mexico. This is when the navy s als really need to go in MX and rescue him and give him asylum here in the US.
" Es más chíngon el chapó que el gobierno mexicano"
Now they will have to actually investigate crimes and collect evidence instead of relying on the 'ol torture method to incarcarete someone.Is that not called 'competentcy'.Welcome Mexico to the 21st century.