OASIS Training Coordinator Janice Deaton Participates in Seminar in Collaboration with the UNAM

The Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (UNAM) recently presented an online international seminar on the impact of home quarantines throughout the Americas on gender and domestic violence. The organizers invited two members of the OASIS team to present on gender violence in their countries: Janice Deaton, the Training Course Director at Justice in Mexico’s OASIS project, and Carmen Adriana Blanco Niño, an OASIS instructor from Barranquilla, Colombia. The seminar, “Perspectives in the Americas on Domestic Violence during COVID-19,” was held from April 20 through April 25, 2020, and was organized by UNAM professors Martha Malanche Gómez and Trilce Fabiola Ovilla Bueno.

Justice in Mexico’s collaboration with UNAM dates back to 2015 when UNAM hosted OASIS oral advocacy workshops. Trilce Ovilla Bueno was a participant in OASIS’s first trial skills workshop at UNAM, and in 2015, she participated in a study trip to San Diego and USD, where she and other outstanding OASIS participants from UNAM learned about the American justice system. Ms. Ovilla’s involvement with OASIS has continued since that time.

The Online Seminar

The seminar began with welcoming remarks from the Director of the Facultad de Derecho, Dr. Raúl Contreras Bustamante. Dr. Contreras was followed by UNAM Professor Marleke Ríos Nava, who gave the first presentation on an international overview of gender violence. She was followed by all-female presenters from Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, the United States, and Mexico, who discussed domestic and gender violence in their respective countries during the COVID 19 crisis.

Domestic Violence Around the World

Professor Ríos Nava provided an overview of gender violence around the world and explained the international regulation of women’s rights and gender violence. Professor Ríos argued the most important treaty in women’s rights is the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which has been signed but not ratified by the United States. Professor Ríos discussed the global rise in gender violence cases resulting from the COVID 19 pandemic and concluded by discussing various resources for victims of gender or domestic violence.

Gender Violence in Argentina

Dr. Adriana Beatriz Rodríguez discussed gender violence in Argentina. Dr. Rodríguez, who teaches social work at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, in Argentina, focused on the concerning factors brought on by the pandemic that tend to increase gender violence and domestic violence. She mentioned the home confinement and resultant inability to ask for help, as well as the other stressors brought on by the economic crisis surrounding the pandemic.

Domestic violence in Colombia

OASIS instructor Carmen Adriana Blanco Niño spoke on domestic violence in Colombia. Ms. Blanco has been a trial skills instructor with OASIS since its beginning in 2015 and is from the Universidad Libre de Barranquilla, Colombia.
Ms. Blanco likewise discussed the worrying conditions of confinement due to the virus, as well as the increase in alcohol consumption in Colombia during the pandemic. Ms. Blanco highlighted the correlation between heavy alcohol use and intimate partner violence. She provided statistics as well as resources for people suffering from gender violence.

Domestic violence in Paraguay

Dra. Nadia Czeranuik is from the Universidad Autónoma de Encarnación, Paraguay, where she teaches education and also teaches school to young children. Dr. Czeranuik addressed the problem of violence at the university level. There was also a discussion on the challenges when a teacher suspects a student is involved in gender violence. Dr. Czeranuik emphasized the importance of educating young children with appropriate gender values.

Domestic violence in Mexico

Dr. Elssie Núñez Carpizo, a law professor from UNAM, presented on gender violence in Mexico during COVID 19. Dr. Núñez, who specializes in law and sociology, concurred with the other speakers that the COVID 19 virus and the resulting safety measures have increased incidents of gender violence in Mexico. Dr. Núñez also provided resources for further learning.

Domestic violence in the United States

Ms. Deaton focused on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in the United States. She began by providing the results from the 2018 Thomas Reuters Foundation Perception Poll, which places the United States in the top ten most dangerous countries in the world according to global experts on women’s issues. Access the survey here. http://poll2018.trust.org/
Ms. Deaton then looked specifically at Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in the United States. As she explained, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Violence a public health problem. According to the CDC, about 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact. Regarding non-physical violence, over 43 million women and 38 million men experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Ms. Deaton commented on factors that increase the risk for perpetration and victimization of IPV, according to the CDC.

The CDC’s report can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ipv-technicalpackages.pdf

Sexual Violence on University Campuses

Next, Ms. Deaton discussed the issue of sexual violence on American university campuses. In 2012 and 2019, the American Association of University Professors conducted surveys that showed a quarter of undergraduate women at the schools reported nonconsensual sexual contact.

The report can be found here: https://www.aau.edu/sites/default/files/AAU-Files/Key-Issues/Campus Safety/Revised%20Aggregate%20report%20%20and%20appendices%201-7_(01-16-2020_FINAL).pdf

Response to Sexual Assault and IPV in the United States

Ms. Deaton listed some of the recent public responses to sexual violence, including the #MeToo movement. This movement has highlighted the prevalence of sexual assault throughout the country and in 2017, five of the “Silence Breakers” leading the #MeToo movement were named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.” There have recently been several high-profile sexual assault trials where famous celebrities have been convicted.

Intimate Partner Violence During COVID 19

With this background, Ms. Deaton explained the United States is confronting many of the same pandemic-related challenges as Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, and Mexico. That is, the statistics she presented showed an approximate 25% increase in reports of IPV since the quarantine or home confinement restrictions were imposed in mid to late-March, 2020. Ms. Deaton reported that there are resources for victims of IPV, however, the conditions of confinement make reporting difficult since victims cannot get away from their abusers. Ms. Deaton concluded by providing a list of resources for more information.


UNAM presented a very interesting international seminar on a compelling subject: gender violence and the impact of COVID 19. Over 180 participants attended the week-long online seminar, from various Latin American countries as well as Spain. The all-female cast of presenters are experts in law or sociology and gave similar perspectives of a problem that is all too common in each country.

Works Cited

Anderson, Nick, et al. “Survey finds evidence of widespread sexual violence at 33 universities.” Washington Post. October 15, 2019.

The world’s most dangerous countries for women.” Thomas Reuters Foundation. 2018.

Lumborg, Bjorn, and Michelle A. Williams. “The Cost of Domestic Violence is Astonishing.” The Washington Post. February 22, 2018.

Filipovic, Jill. “The Silence Breakers: Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.” Time. December, 2017

Campus Sexual Assault: Suggested Policies and Procedures.” American Association of University Professors. October, 2012.

Justice in Mexico Completes Second OASIS Study Trip

7/18/2018 (written by Quinn Skerlos)- From July 2 to July 14, Justice in Mexico held the second 2018 Oral-Adversary Skill-building Immersion (OASIS) Study trip at University of San Diego (USD). The participants were 13 administrators, students, and law faculty from the Universidad de Guadalajara (UdeG), and Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), and Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP). The OASIS study trippers were primarily composed of 12 law professors and law students from UdeG and UANL, but also included the Director of BUAP’s School of Law and Social Sciences, Luis Ochoa Bilbao. Now the eleventh OASIS study trip implemented by Justice in Mexico, these study trips provide a cultural immersion and study opportunity for selected Mexican law professors and students to experience the United States criminal justice system and meet with relevant legal experts, academics and public officials, including judges, professors, and attorneys. This program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs under the Mérida Initiative.

With the direction of OASIS Training Director, Janice Deaton, and OASIS Regional Director and USD law professor, Allen Snyder, the OASIS study trip participants attended a variety of lectures given by legal experts and academics, toured various facilities relevant to the United States criminal justice system, and engaged in group discussions guided by Janice Deaton and/or Allen Snyder. The majority of the study trip was held in San Diego at USD, however, participants also had the opportunity to visit San Francisco and meet with several public officials and representatives of the San Francisco community.

OASIS participants have the opportunity to meet and engage with various members of the legal community, including judges, attorneys, and law professors.

OASIS participants have the opportunity to meet and engage with various members of the legal community, including judges, attorneys, and law professors.

In San Diego, agenda highlights included: site visits to the San Dan Diego State and Federal Court, a tour of the San Diego Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), a mock-trial simulation, and lectures led by legal professionals from the Public Defender’s Office, Office of the Attorney General, Pre-trial Services, etc. In San Francisco, participants visited and met with members of the Ninth Circuit Court and the San Francisco Superior Court, and toured the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, a historical landmark and former high-security prison. Overall, the trip focused on providing analysis of the U.S. criminal justice system, and reinforcing the theory behind and practice of oral, adversarial and accusatorial criminal justice systems. This focus is intended to promote the participants’ appreciation for judicial reform in Mexico and reflect positively in their forthcoming academic and professional trajectories.

The program agenda’s accomplished guest speakers included: Allen Snyder (USD), Associate Dean Margaret Dalton (USD), Gregg McClain (Office of the District Attorney, San Diego), Scarlet Espinoza (Ninth Circuit Court, San Francisco), Judge Gerardo Sandoval (San Francisco Superior Court), Maria Elena Lopez Evangelista (Office of the Public Defender, San Francisco),  George Gascon (District Attorney of San Francisco), Judge Christopher Whitten (Superior Court of Maricopa County), Tony Da Silva (Office of the Attorney General, San Diego), Theresa Talplacido (San Diego MCC), Judge John Houston (District Judge for the Southern District of California), Janice Deaton (USD), Monique Carter (Office of the Public Defender, San Diego), Scott Pirrello (San Diego District Attorney’s Office), and Veronica Cataño Gonzalez (Supreme Court of Baja California).

Second OASIS workshop of 2018 is completed at UANL

03/09/18 (written by Genesis Lopez) – Justice in Mexico’s Oral Adversarial Skill Building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) program held its second oral advocacy workshop of 2018 from February 23- March 3, 2018, working collaboratively with the Department of Law and Criminology (Facultad de Derecho y Criminología, FACDYC) at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, UANL) in Monterrey. The OASIS program, funded through the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, emphasizes oral litigation skills, which are provided through these workshops.

The extensive two-week workshop provided critical instruction regarding the oral techniques central to Mexico’s Criminal Justice System. Approximately 85 participants, law professors and students from UANL, attended the workshop. OASIS Training Director Janice Deaton led a diverse team of instructors from Colombia, Mexico, and the United States. These instructors included: Christopher Pastrana, Bertha Alcalde, Anthony Da Silva, Jorge Gutiérrez, Michael Mandig, Albert Amado, Adriana Blanco, Carlos Varela and Iker Ibarreche.

The instructors addressed seven major topics:

Theory of the case: The strategy behind the decisions and actions a lawyer takes. This assists the participants in making strategic decisions, which help solve a case.

Opening Statements: Understanding the importance opening statements have in regards to the trial, specifically the jury. Participants learned how to prepare and present an effective opening statement.

Interrogation: Establishing the credibility of the witnesses, laying out the scene, and introducing the events that took place in relationship to the case.

Cross-Interrogation: Questioning of a witness where the opposing party looks to discredit their testimony and credibility.

Introducing Evidence: Determining whether or not the evidence one wishes to present is real, testimonial, demonstrative, or documental.

Use of Depositions: Understanding how to utilize previous statements, especially to refresh a witness’s memory during trial.

Closing Statements: Reiterating the important arguments, theories, and evidence that are relevant to the case. Participants learned how to structure their closing arguments and strengthen their communication skills.

At the conclusion of the workshop, the participants attended a plenary session on ethics and applied the skills they learned in a mock trial. The simulation was designed specifically for the OASIS program and gave the participants the opportunity to showcase what they earned over the course of two weeks. They adopted specific roles and the instructors acted as judges, overseeing the trial and providing feedback.

At the closing ceremony, the FACDYC Director, Oscar Lugo Serrato spoke with Justice in Mexico’s Program Coordinator, Octavio Rodriguez and discussed the importance of practical trainings like the OASIS workshop. They also discussed the significance of bi-national relationships between universities. The next OASIS workshop will take place at the (Universidad de Guadalajara, UdeG), ­­­from April 13 –April 21, 2018.

























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.


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.




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.