ABC 7 – An Army veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan will be deported to Mexico, a judge ruled last week. Miguel Perez Jr., 38, was a legal permanent resident when he joined the Army and said he thought he became a legal U.S. citizen when he enlisted. However, that was not the case.
Reuters – Juan Jose Esparragoza Monzon, son of notorious drug lord Juan Jose Esparragoza, alias “El Azul”, is missing from prison in Culican and is presumed to have escaped.
Daily Mail – The final moments of El Chapo before he was extradited from Mexico to the US to face trial for drugs charges have been released. CCTV footage of Joaquin Guzman, better known as ‘El Chapo’, shows him pacing around his cell of the maximum security prison in Juarez before boarding a plane.
CSMonitor – Last Thursday evening, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was extradited to the United States from Mexico. Although the United States has repeatedly requested the extradition of the notorious drug kingpin, the date of his arrival – on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration – caught many officials in both countries off guard. But the timing may send a message about US-Mexican relations, close observers say, pointing to the need for future cooperation between the two neighbors – especially on the so-called drug war.
DW – Mexico has said it is aiming to extradite Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the US by February. The drug lord’s lawyer says he will “fight to the end” and plans to continue stalling the process.
WSJ – An accused drug kingpin, whose mansion yielded the world’s largest cash seizure, faces imminent extradition to Mexico after a refusal by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts to grant an emergency stay. Wednesday’s order could end a nearly decade-long U.S. legal battle for Zhenli Ye Gon, who has been in custody since 2007.
Reuters – A Chinese-Mexican businessman accused of drug trafficking could be handed over by U.S. authorities to Mexican authorities as early as next week as he has nearly exhausted his legal options, ending a years-long extradition battle. Zhenli Ye Gon’s July 2007 arrest in the United States and the seizure of $205 million in cash at his Mexico City home several months earlier, played a role in high-profile money laundering investigations by U.S. authorities at the British banking giant HSBC and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. casino company.
AP – Mexican authorities say they have detained a second suspect in the killing of a journalist who was dragged from her home earlier this year. The suspect faces prosecution for crimes including the killing of Anabel Flores Salazar, who was a crime reporter for a newspaper in Orizaba. She was kidnapped by gunmen Feb. 8 and found dead in neighboring Puebla state the next day.
Telegraph – A 13-year-old rape victim from northern Mexico has been denied her legal right to an abortion after a judge ruled that the sex was consensual, despite medical evidence that she was subjected to sexual violence.
Vice News – Walking into the Guachochi jail — located in the mountains of Chihuahua — turns upside down most preconceived notions of Mexican prisons. There are no tell tale signs of overcrowding, domination by internal mafias, endemic corruption, or the underclass of prisoners incarcerated for trivial crimes.
Instead Guachochi has empty beds and a reputation for being filled with inmates convicted of serious crimes who neither consume drugs nor seek to bribe guards. All of the 253 prisoners are indigenous, most of them with Rarámuri roots, but it is also possible to find primas, tepehuanes, and guarijíos — Chihuahua’s other three ethnic groups.
InSight Crime – Mexico is currently in the process of implementing historic changes to its criminal justice system, but the planned reforms include due process exceptions in organized crime cases that could undermine the initiative’s intent.
TeleSur – An alleged leader of the Zetas Drug Cartel is on trial this week in San Antonio, Texas, where he stands accused of killing and incinerating dozens of inmates from a prison in the border town of Piedras Negras, in the northern state of Coahuila. Marciano Millan Vazquez is expected to confess to participating in the extrajudicial killing of hundreds of people by the criminal group.
NYT – Mexican judges have temporarily halted the extradition of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug kingpin known as El Chapo, pending the outcome of appeals filed this week by Guzmán’s lawyers.
Financial Times – As of last weekend, Mexico’s quasi-medieval inquisitorial system that jurists say has long relied on trumped-up charges and confessions beaten out of suspects is officially gone. In its place come oral trials open to the public, with cross-examination and a new reliance on evidence under a constitutional reform approved in 2008.
By Juan Montes / Wall Street Journal
On a recent day, hundreds of construction workers laid bricks in a fevered rush to finish a new courthouse in the violence-torn city of Acapulco. Their work was just part of Mexico’s broad and daunting effort to build a new criminal justice system.
Every criminal case in Acapulco now will be heard using a new judicial process based on U.S.-style oral trials. It replaces a centuries-old inquisitorial system that effectively presumes defendants are guilty and hands down sentences on the basis of written evidence reviewed behind closed doors.
Within two weeks of its Acapulco rollout, the new system is supposed to operate across the entire country.
“This is the biggest change in Mexico’s judicial system in recent history—a cultural change without precedent,” said María de los Ángeles Fromow, the Interior Ministry official who has led the implementation of the new system across the country.
Supporters say the changes will create a more transparent and accountable system where defense lawyers and prosecutors confront each other in public before a judge or panel of judges.
Critics say parts of the country aren’t ready for the changes and criminals could avoid punishment in the short term, especially in places like this Pacific coastal city widely considered Mexico’s murder capital.
Business Insider – The Mexican Foreign Ministry has approved the extradition of jailed drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to the US to face charges including drug trafficking, homicide, and money laundering in Texas and California.
Coming after two rulings by two Mexican judges, the ministry’s decision effectively clears the way for Guzmán’s transport to a US courtroom. But, as US experts and Guzmán’s own lawyers have said, the kingpin still has means to fight his transfer.
InSight Crime – Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office is seeking to bring new charges against soldiers implicated in the June 2014 massacre of almost two dozen people after a judge recently released the remaining three suspects in the case due to lack of evidence.
EuroNews – The extradition to the United States of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has moved a step closer after a second Mexican judge gave the go ahead. The process still awaits approval of Mexico’s foreign ministry, and it can be appealed.
NDTV – Mexico convicted and sentenced 10 government officials to prison for up to 29 years over a 2009 fire at the ABC day care center in Sonora that killed 49 children, court sources said.
By Michelle Mark and Reuters / Business Insider
For the last eight years, Mexico has been trying to overhaul its justice system, described by many as dysfunctional, with a series of extensive reforms set to be implemented next month.
But Mexico isn’t even close to being ready.
A study published by CIDAC, an independent Mexican think tank, said that the country needs 11 more years for the reforms to be implemented at the current pace.
The reforms, which have a constitutional deadline of June 18, replace Mexico’s current system with one more similar to the US’s criminal-justice system.
Because of the slow-moving nature of written proceedings, a massive case backlog has formed in Mexico’s courts. The result: a patchy and antiquated justice system that leaves some perpetrators unpunished and suspects languishing in prison awaiting trial for years.