Justice in Mexico

Michoacán adopts technologies from Baja California and Guanajuato to streamline transition to new criminal justice system

03/23/12  – The judicial branch of Michoacán announced this month that it has decided to follow a judicial management and administration model developed by Baja California when it moves into implementing the new adversarial criminal justice system (Nuevo Sistema de Justicia Penal, NSJP), which the state will officially begin doing in February 2013. Luis Alberto Villarreal Ontiveros, the NSJP judicial administrator in Baja California, explained that his state had been selected to provide technology transfer and advice to Michoacán on this matter.

Michoacán chose the Baja Californian system due to the quality of its case management organization capacities. State judicial branch case management duties under the new adversarial system—in which each case centers around courtroom events—will be quite different from duties under the old system—which was less centered on hearings, and more on document tracking.

Michoacán reports that the advantage of the Baja California model lies in that it is the only one in the country to provide detailed, electronic tracking of every judge’s activities state-wide. This helps reduce human error, and promotes efficiency and transparency through increased data accessibility, according to Baja California’s Villarreal. The Baja Californian model also utilizes a “Unique Case Number” system (Número Único de Caso), which allows judiciary and law enforcement throughout the state—including the judicial branch, state prosecutors, the Secretary of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública, SSP), and public defenders—to communicate with each other about case activity more efficiently, and with fewer security risks.

The Michoacán judiciary has also formed a consulting relationship with Guanajuato, in order to refine its resource allocation planning process for the transition. Michoacán initiated this partnership due to Guanajuato’s similar geography and demography, because Guanajuato is transitioning just slightly ahead of Michoacán (it began in September 2011), and because Guanajuato’s projections on resource requirements for the initial stages of the process have proved effective.

The projections were made through a simulation program developed by Guanajuato’s Center for Research in Mathematics (Centro de Investigaciones Matemáticas). Under the new agreement, Guanajuato will share this simulation program with Michoacán. To date, Guanajuato attributes 5.4 million dollars in savings (about 69 million pesos) to the program’s influence on its human resources, training, infrastructure, and equipment spending.

(Written by mwserrano)


 “Asume Michoacán modelo judicial de BC.” Enlace Informativo. March 8, 2012.

“Adoptará Michoacán modelo BC de NSJP.” El Mexicano. March 7, 2012.

“Muestran el Nuevo Sistema de Justicia Penal en Michoacán.” MonitorBC.info. March 3, 2012.

“Incorporará Michoacán nuevo software para el desarrollo del Poder Judicial.” Provincia. March 1, 2012.

“Trabaja Michoacán en simulador del nuevo modelo de justicia penal.” MiMorelia.com. February 23, 2012.

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