02/18/12 – The Tamaulipas State Judiciary is continuing to work towards opening a Criminal Justice Center (Centro de Justicia Penal), the first of its kind in Mexico, and where the first oral trials in Tamaulipas will take place. Holding oral trials represents a major step toward implementing the new justice system that will be operating nationally by 2016 as mandated in the 2008 Mexican constitutional reforms, recognized both Alexander Etienne Llano, president of the State Court, and Rosa Maria Alvarado, local deputy for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI). The latter, who is also the chairwoman of the local Congress, added that by the end of March 2012, the new Code of Criminal Procedure should be approved with the reforms and adjustments as expressed in the Federal Constitution, and that in 2013, oral trials should be underway.
Etienne Llano admitted, however, that Tamaulipas still lacks the necessary infrastructure to implement oral trials, although he did recognize that despite possibly never having the appropriate means, he is confident the new system will be fully in place by 2016. Although the state does not have sufficient resources at this point to make the transition, he did acknowledge that there is only one year before the first judicial district in the state is scheduled to have begun implementing oral trials. Therefore, continued Etienne Llano, there is still plenty of work to be done in the meantime as it is crucial that existing courts and offices are prepared for such changes when indeed the time comes.
The northern state of Tamaulipas is considered to be “very delayed” in its implementation of the new system since no relevant legislation has been passed that addresses or makes changes to the current criminal procedure, or that has sought to transition towards the new oral trials. That being said, a Mediation Law (Ley de Mediación) has existed in Tamaulipas since 2007.