Monday, April 30, 2007

Trial Rescheduled for the San Miguel Rapist

For the second time the trial for the San Miguel rapist has been rescheduled because the defense attorney didn't show up either time. But the good news is that the rapist is still in jail while he waits for trial.

Mexico's legal system differs from the USA legal system of Common law. It is derived from Napoleonic law and MEXonline has a general overview. It says the following about Mexican Criminal Law.

Mexican criminal law has several interesting and distinctive features. In Mexico, one is deemed guilty until proven innocent. No death penalty exists in Mexico, a feature Mexico shares with most Latin American countries for historic reasons. In Mexico, the commission of fraud is a criminal offense, unlike most fraud in the U.S., which is usually considered a civil "tort". In virtually all Mexican prisons, prisoners are allowed regular conjugal visits, and greater freedoms within the confines of the prisons, than in most U.S. penitentiaries. Mexican law never allows parole or bail on personal recognizance. An individual charged with a criminal offense must post a financial bond to be released on bail, which may not be available if the potential sentence in years surpasses a certain limit under a formula set forth in Mexico's Constitution.

(Conjugal visits are one thing I don't think the rapist should be allowed!!!!)

But seriously, as I understand it, under Mexican law the defense attorney can fail to show up for four times and stall the trial but on the fourth time, the judge can dismiss the attorney and levy a fine against him/her. Then the judge will appoint another defense attorney. I don't have any idea if the new attorney has the privilege of not showing up four times and delaying the trial again.

It is very frustrating for the women who were raped. Their lives are on hold because they want to be here when the trial finally takes place. None of us really understands the legal system here like we do in the USA where we see shows like "Law and Order" and we have exposure to what legal terms mean and some idea about strategies. But with the unknown here, we start to wonder if justice will ever be served to the rapist. The USA Embassy in Mexico City and our local consul are also monitoring this trial so we will hope that nothing falls through the cracks.

The next trial date is May 29th and I'll try to post what happens.

To read some of the previous entries about the San Miguel rapist go to: Crime in Paradise, Crime in Paradise II, Crime in Paradise III,The rapist is still in San Miguel, Mary and the Rapist, Another Rape Attempt and The San Miguel Rapist is Jailed.

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