Dozens marched in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, to demand justice for the killing of Heidi Yoselín Bacilo Gómez, a young girl murdered in early June, whose accused killer will be tried in an oral hearing. During the demonstrations, family, friends, and neighbors of the victim distributed pamphlets to passers-by warning that oral trials can allow the guilty – in this case a family member of the victim who has reportedly confessed to the crime – to go free if insufficient evidence is presented, suggesting a lack of trust in investigating agents in the collecting and handling of evidence. Salina Cruz mayor Héctor Becerril Morales joined the family in its demands for justice in the case.
Oaxaca has taken a particularly aggressive approach to implementing oral trials statewide and applying them to all crimes. Supreme court president Anuar Mafud has championed the reforms since their inception, particularly their prompt application in the Mixtec indigenous region of the state. Many states preparing to implement the reforms, such as Baja California, have looked to Oaxaca as a model, and have engaged in training exercises with justice officials and experts from the state. Many attorneys, however, have been critical of the process, claiming that the reforms are being implemented faster than personnel can be adequately trained.
From the June Justice in Mexico Project’s Monthly News Report:
Bautista Ramírez, Epigmenio Fidel. “Repudian juicios orales.” El Sol del Istmo June 12, 2009.