Fourth year of OASIS workshops start at UdeG

OASIS workshop participants organize their defense for the mock trial02/06/18 (written by Genesis Lopez) – Justice in Mexico’s Oral-Adversarial Skill-Building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) program held its first oral advocacy workshop of 2018 from January 19- 26, 2018, in collaboration with the University of Guadalajara (Universidad de Guadalajara, UdeG). The workshop launched the fourth year of the OASIS program. The OASIS program, funded through the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), emphasizes oral litigation skills through practical skill building exercises and theory instruction from experienced litigators.

The extensive 40-hour workshop provided crucial instruction on oral techniques central to Mexico’s Criminal Justice System (Sistema de Justicia Penal, SJP). The SJP, fully implemented in 2016, introduced an adversarial model of criminal procedure, replacing Mexico’s traditional framework. This reform aims to increase transparency within the Mexican judicial system while reducing corruption and impunity that undermine the country’s progress. According to a 2016 report by the Center for Investigation and Development, A.C. (Centro de Investigación para el Desarollo, AC, CIDAC) Mexico’s implementation of SJP lacks a national strategy, consolidation, and equal access to a quality defense. The OASIS workshops provide its participants with skills imperative to the implementation of Mexico’s judicial system. Approximately 80 law professors and students from UdeG attended the workshop.

OASIS instructors pose for a photo

OASIS Training Director Janice Deaton led a diverse team of instructors from Chile, Mexico, and the United States. These instructors, included: Eduardo Alonso Domínguez, Miroslava Pineda Zuñiga, Al Amado, Victor Torres, Michael Mandig, Bertha Alcalde, Carlos Espinoza Vidal, Frank Sánchez, and Alex Navidad. The instructors addressed five major topics: theory of the case, opening arguments, interrogation, cross-examination, and closing arguments. Through a diverse agenda of theory and practical exercises, the participants learned to analyze cases and improve their oral litigation skills.

 

At the conclusion of the workshop, the participants applied the skills they learned over in a mock trial. The simulation was specially developed for the OASIS program, with participants adopting various roles on behalf of the defense or prosecution. The instructors acted as judges, overseeing the trial and providing constructive feedback.

Since its inception, OASIS has worked with over 800 law students and professors from public universities in Mexico, promoting greater dialogue and legal training pertinent to Mexico’s criminal justice system. The next OASIS workshop will take place at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, UANL) in Monterrey, Nuevo León from February 23- March 3, 2018.

Sources

Hallazgos 2016: Seguimiento y Evaluación de la Operación del Sistema De Justicia Penal en México.” Centro de Investigación para el Desarollo, AC, CIDAC. June 18, 2017.

 

 

 

OASIS International Symposium Cancelled due to Earthquake

9/08/17- (written by Lucy Clement La Rosa) Following an 8.2 magnitude earthquake in southern Mexico, Justice in Mexico has cancelled the remainder of their international symposium until further notice. The symposium event is co-hosted by Justice in Mexico’s Oral Adversarial Skill-building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico School of Law (Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM) in Mexico City.

The earthquake, which occurred late Thursday night, was the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in the last century. The earthquake struck in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, approximately 75 miles southwest of the town, Tres Picos. At least 26 people have died across Mexico and a tsunami warning is in effect for the southern coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, and Ecuador. In order to inspect for structural damage, President Enrique Peña Nieto closed schools in both Chiapas and Mexico City.

 

Sources

Graham, Chris, et al. “Mexico hit by ‘strongest earthquake in a century’ as magnitude 8.2 tremor triggers tsunami waves.” The Telegraph. September 8, 2017.

Justice in Mexico completes third OASIS study trip

08/23/17- (written by Lucy Clement La Rosa) From July 31st to August 11th, faculty and student delegates from the UNAM Law School (Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) completed the third 2017 study trip to the United States under Justice in Mexico’s Oral-Adversarial Skill-Building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) program. The two-week study trip introduced the UNAM participants to U.S. public officials and legal experts in the greater San Diego area and encouraged academic discussion of the U.S. criminal justice system.

Study trip participants outside the San Diego courthouse.

Study trip participants outside the San Diego courthouse.

The OASIS study trip funded through the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs offered UNAM professors and students the opportunity to attend seminars and workshops led by prominent individuals including the Honorable Runston Maino, the Honorable Dave Danielsen, Judge Chris Whitten, Judge Luciano Angulo, Monique Carter, Moises Santos, Daniele Novoa, Andrew Haden, Ansar Haroun, Carlos Varela, Luis Guerrero, and Lisa Rodriguez. The workshops were organized by OASIS study trip coordinator and University of San Diego (USD) professor, Allen Synder, and OASIS Training Coordinator and practicing criminal defense attorney, Janice Deaton.

While the majority of the workshops were held within the USD Law School, the UNAM participants also visited San Diego’s Federal Court building, State Court building, the Office of the Public Defender, and the Hall of Justice. The seminars provided the participants direct interaction with U.S. federal and state officials, who shared relevant knowledge and personal experiences in the criminal justice sector. The workshops covered a variety of criminal justice topics including, but not limited to, the rights of a defendant, interpretation services within federal and state courts, the defense and prosecution perspective of an oral trial, the role of psychiatrists in the criminal system, and the logistics of plea bargaining. The meetings and workshops contributed to the overall objectives of the OASIS program: providing resources and training, such as oral litigation techniques, that will encourage judicial transparency and reform under the new criminal justice system in Mexico.

The last day of the study trip on August 11th consisted of a special session dedicated to the future of the Justice in Mexico program. The session promoted a dialogue of prospective challenges for the Justice in Mexico and panel discussions related to judicial reform efforts, including greater transparency and legal education, in Mexico. Finally, the day was concluded with a reception and dinner celebrating the Justice in Mexico’s 15th anniversary.

Justice in Mexico completes second OASIS study trip

07/24/2017 (edited by lcalderon) —From July 2nd to July 15th, six professors and six students from the UNAM Law School (Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) participated in the second 2017 OASIS study trip to the United States in order to learn about the U.S. criminal justice system as a part of the Oral-Adversarial Skill-building Immersion Seminar (OASIS). This program is

OASIS study trip 2 participants

UNAM Law School professors and students at the James R. Browning Courthouse

made possible by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. UNAM faculty and students had the opportunity to meet and learn from prominent public officials and legal experts in the Bay area community including University of California Berkeley Professors Melissa Murray and Andrea Roth, University of San Francisco Professor Connie de la Vega, representatives from the California Bar Association, Noel Belton and Veronica Ramirez from Probation Services, Rich Sarlatte from Pretrial Services, Prosecutor Andrew Scoble from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Public Defenders Geoff Hansen and Carmen Smarandoiu, Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler, Superior Court Judge Gerardo Sandoval and California Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar. The classes and meetings were designed and organized by two distinguished OASIS Regional Coordinators: Professor Charles Weisselberg from the University of California Berkeley and OASIS Training Coordinator and practicing criminal defense attorney Janice Deaton.

OASIS study trip participants had the opportunity to visit both federal and state courts in San Francisco, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They were able to engage with federal judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys to gain insight from both sides of the courtroom. Aside from visits and discussions, participants were able to learn training skills to disseminate oral trial techniques. OASIS Training Coordinator and Instructor Janice Deaton led two “Train the Trainer” sessions on teaching oral trial skills. Mrs. Deaton guided the participants through the training, allowing participants to practice oral trial techniques and learn to provide effective critique and feedback.

UNAM Law School Participants Complete OASIS Study Trip at Harvard Law School

OASIS Boston participants next to a statue of John Harvard, one of the Founders of Harvard College

OASIS Boston participants next to a statue of John Harvard, one of the Founders of Harvard College

6/13/17 —From June 5 to June 16, six professors and six students from the UNAM Law School (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Facultad de Derecho) participated in the first of three 2017 study trips to the United States in order to learn about the U.S. criminal justice system as a part of the Oral-Adversarial Skill-building Immersion Seminar (OASIS). This program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. With the assistance and direction of OASIS Regional Coordinator and Harvard professor Philip Heymann, UNAM faculty and students had the opportunity to meet and learn from prominent public officials and legal experts in the Boston community including Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, prosecutors John Capin and Jordi de Llano, defense attorney and Harvard professor Andrew Crespo, DOJ Assistant Deputy Bruce Ohr, Director of the Organized Crime division for the U.S. Attorney Generals Office Cynthia Young, Chief United States District Judge Patti Saris, defense attorney Rob Goldstein and federal prosecutor Fred M. Wyshak Jr.

Study trip participants had the opportunity to visit both federal and state courts in Boston. They were able to engage with federal judges and defense attorneys to gain insight from both sides of the courtroom. Aside from visits and discussions, participants were able to learn training skills to disseminate oral trial techniques. OASIS Instructor Peter Mitchell from the Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Division in New York City led a “Train the Trainer” session on teaching oral trial skills. Mr. Mitchell guided the participants through the training, allowing participants to practice oral trial techniques and learn to provide effective critique and feedback.