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).

Justice in Mexico Completes First OASIS Study Trip

OASIS Study Trip 1 participants and Justice in Mexico staff.

OASIS Study Trip 1 participants and Justice in Mexico staff.

7/2/18 (Quinn Skerlos) – From June 10 to June 23, 12 administrators, representatives, and law faculty from the Universidad de Guadalajara (UdeG), and Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon (UANL) took part in the first of three 2018 Oral-Adversary Skill-building Immersion (OASIS) study trips at University of San Diego (USD). This group of 12 study trip participants included the deans of the law schools of both the UdeG and UANL, José de Jesús Becerra Ramirez (UdeG) and Oscar Paulino Lugo Serrato (UANL). OASIS Study trips are designed by Justice in Mexico to provide a training and study opportunity for Mexican law professors and students that allows participants to experience the United States criminal justice system. 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.

Under the direction of the OASIS Training Director, Janice Deaton, OASIS Regional Director and USD law professor Allen Snyder, the UdeG and UANL participants met with legal experts, academics and public officials, including judges, professors, and attorneys. While the majority of the study trip was held at USD facilities, the study trip participants also had the opportunity to briefly visit the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law in Los Angeles, CA.

OASIS Study Trip participants have the opportunity to meet with legal experts, academics and public officials.

OASIS Study Trip participants have the opportunity to meet with legal experts, academics and public officials.

The study trip was comprised of daily sessions on the stages of the United States legal system, which included group debriefs, site visits and meetings with public officials and institutional representatives. OASIS study trip participants had the opportunity to visit both federal and state courts in Los Angeles and San Diego, including the Appellate Court and the Federal Court. The visits were bookended with breakout sessions to discuss relevant legal topics pertinent to the U.S. criminal justice system. Aside from experiencing the foundations of the United States legal system, the group learned about legal topics such as alternative sentencing, separation of powers, and the use of evidence.

The program agenda’s accomplished guest speakers included: Tony Da Silva (Office of the Attorney General), Ruby Anaya (California Western School of Law), Carlos Varela, Luis Guerrero, Janice Deaton (USD), Michael Ramsey (USD), Judge Mitchell D. Dembin (Southern District of California), Professor Allen Snyder (USD School of Law), Associate Dean Margaret Dalton (USD), Judge Lisa Rodriguez (San Diego Superior Court Judge), Dean Stephen Ferruolo (USD), Professor Máximo Langer (UCLA), Professor Rubén Hernández-León (UCLA), Dr. Peter Reich (UCLA), Professor Laura Gómez (UCLA).

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.