OASIS Participants Earn 2nd Place in Argentina’s International Moot Court Competition

Eduardo Martínez Martínez, Diego Manrique Azzolini, and Brenda Montes de Oca Acatitla prepare for the final case argued in the National University Criminal Litigation Competition in Argentina.

Eduardo Martínez Martínez, Diego Manrique Azzolini, and Brenda Montes de Oca Acatitla prepare for the final case argued in the National University Criminal Litigation Competition in Argentina.

12/10/15 (written by msmith) – A team of OASIS workshop and study trip participants, Eduardo Martínez Martínez, Diego Manrique Azzolini, Brenda Montes de Oca Acatitla, and Axel Valverde Andalón, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico Law School (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM),  participated in an international moot court competition in November.  The team of four UNAM students were coached by two OASIS instructors. The three other UNAM students on the team were Jazmin Martínez García, Brandon Miguel Reyes Salinas, and Ximena Decelis Chavez.

After winning the regional competition in Mexico, the UNAM team traveled to Argentina to compete in the National University Criminal Litigation Competition (Concurso Nacional Universitario de Litigación Penal).  In the elimination round, the UNAM team argued three cases, with three UNAM students per case. The first case against the Catholic University of Chile (Universidad Catolica de Chile) was argued by Eduardo Martínez Martínez, Diego Manrique Azzolini, and Brenda Montes de Oca Acatitla. The second case against the University of Pampa, Argentina (Universidad de la Pampa, Argentina) was argued by Axel Valverde Andalón, Jazmin Martínez García, and Eduardo Martínez Martínez. The third case against the University of Columbia (Universidad de Colombia) was argued by Brandon Miguel Reyes Salinas, Diego Manrique Azzolini, and Brenda Montes de Oca Acatitla. In the final, Eduardo Martínez Martínez, Diego Manrique Azzolini, and Brenda Montes de Oca Acatitla argued against the University of Guanajuato (Universidad de Guanajuato). The international competition was organized by the Institute of Comparative Studies in Criminal and Social Sciences (Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales y Sociales, INECIP), the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and the National University of la Plata (La Universidad Nacional de la Plata).

The UNAM team holds their 2nd place trophy in the international moot court competition.

The UNAM team holds their 2nd place trophy in the international moot court competition.

The UNAM team came in second place. As Brenda Montes de Oca Acatitla recalls her time in Argentina, she notes  how much her time in OASIS helped her prepare for the competition. “I reviewed my notes that I had taken throughout my time in OASIS to prepare my opening statements and cross-examination questions with the structures that were given to us during the course…Argentina applauded us a lot, the evaluators  constantly told us we knew well how to manage the witnesses, how to transmit what we wanted to communicate and that there was always consistency from the opening statement to the closing statement.”

 

 

 

Justice In Mexico Awarded $2 Million Grant to Continue OASIS

OASIS_two colors_cmyk-0110/22/15 (written by mwagoner) – University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico program has been awarded a $2.35 million grant to continue its work on the Oral Adversarial Skill-Building Immersion Seminar (OASIS). This is the second round of funding awarded to Justice in Mexico by the International Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) through the Merida Initiative. The goal is to conduct a new set of training courses, international study trips and symposia on oral adversarial litigation skills over the next two years.

Justice Alberto Pérez Dayán of the Mexican Supreme Court, Dr. Ma. Leoba Castañeda Rivas, Director of the UNAM Law School, and Dr. David Shirk, Director of Justice in Mexico and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of San Diego. The photo was taken at OASIS symposium held at UNAM Law School, Sept 24-25, 2015.

Justice Alberto Pérez Dayán of the Mexican Supreme Court, Dr. Ma. Leoba Castañeda Rivas, Director of the UNAM Law School, and Dr. David Shirk, Director of Justice in Mexico and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of San Diego. The photo was taken at OASIS international symposium held at UNAM Law School, Sept 24-25, 2015.

OASIS advocacy training program is intended to provide skill building and exchange opportunities for legal professionals and students. The current INL-sponsored partnership, will help law faculty and students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM), Mexico’s largest public university to improve the long-term functioning of the Mexican justice system in anticipation of major criminal procedural reforms to be implemented by June 18, 2016.

OASIS has three specific objectives that will continue to guide Justice in Mexico’s efforts during years two and three of its partnership with UNAM: 1) provide three 40-hour litigation workshops to law professors and students of UNAM’s Law School, 2) provide three training/study tours to the United States; and 3) provide one international symposium on oral, adversarial, accusatory criminal justice systems, Mexico’s criminal justice reforms, and the role law schools will play in the transition to this new criminal justice system.

The OASIS grant employs a half dozen USD alumni and dozens more have collaborated with the project in recent years, giving them opportunities for hands on experience in project management and working with leading experts to make a difference in addressing real world policy issues.

Dr. David Shirk, Director of Justice in Mexico, said that “there are arguably few issues more important in Mexico and U.S.-Mexico relations today than strengthening the rule of law, security, and human rights. Our students and graduates are getting to be a direct part of that effort. In this sense, Justice in Mexico is one of the programs that helps realize and express our University’s commitment to promoting social justice, not to mention to working with Mexico and the border community of which we are a part.”

“The OASIS program is unique in its duration and impact,” Dr. Shirk explains, “This kind of educational outreach and policy engagement is frankly not supported at major research institutions, which tend to be myopically focused on purely “academic” research. The fact that we’ve been able to sustain this program here—with generous support from private and government donors—is one of the things that helps make the University of San Diego such a unique place, both for our faculty and our students.”

Over the course of the past year 240 UNAM law school professors and students have been trained in the OASIS program, and the new funding will allow Justice in Mexico to train 480 more over the next two years.

 

International Symposium on Oral Adversarial Justice Systems in Mexico City

Panel presentations at the international OASIS symposium

Panel presentations at the international OASIS symposium

10/12/15 (written by rkuckertz) – September 24-25, Justice in Mexico’s Oral Advocacy Skill-building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) co-hosted the International Symposium on Oral Adversarial Justice Systems with the Law School of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM) in Mexico City on UNAM’s law school campus. In an impressive turnout, over 700 students, faculty, and local community members and officials attended the two-day symposium on the progress and goals of Mexico’s comprehensive justice reform.

The symposium served as the conclusion to OASIS’s year-long training and education program. Throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, OASIS sponsored training courses in oral adversarial litigation skills in Mexico City as well as visits to various cities in the United States where participants observed how the U.S. justice system operates. The UNAM symposium evaluated the success of OASIS’s activities and the justice reform in general while also identifying future training and infastructure needs in order to maintain the reform’s growing momentum across Mexico’s 31 states and the Federal District.

Mexican Supreme Court Justice Ministro Alberto Pérez Dayán was first to speak on Mexico’s justice reform following the symposium’s introduction on Thursday evening. Ministro Pérez Dayán outlined the various challenges that remained in regards to the new justice system’s implementation. He noted that courts would first have to name competent judges and justice system participants as well as provide continuous training for these actors. Furthermore, he spoke of a “cultural change” which must occur in order for the reform to be successful. He explained that must be a clear “before” and “after” in regards to the reform; courtroom technology must be modernized, courts must learn to move from a document system to an oral system, and all actors within the justice system must adhere to strict rules and guidelines that allow the system to operate in a consistent fashion across the country.

The second panel of the night focused on the states’ remaining challenges in regards to the new justice system’s full implementation. State supreme court justice José Miguel Salcido Romero of Chihuahua opened the panel by expressing the importance of relying on police investigation and the proper collection of evidence in order to reach a case verdict. He explained that previously, Mexican courts had relied heavily on confessions in the courtroom, causing police investigation and the processing of forensic evidence to take a backseat throughout the adjudication process. State supreme court justice Apolonio Betancourt Ruíz of Durango continued the discussion by asking the question, “what does society want?” He elaborated by stressing that current Mexican society is demanding justice and that this should be the “grand mission” of every courtroom judge rather than the mechanical application of written laws.

State supreme court justice Alejandro González of Michoacán furthered the dialogue on the states’ remaining challenges by addressing the problem of infrastructure. He highlighted the importance of having adequate courtroom facilities and outlined several ongoing and completed projects in Michoacán. He also spoke to the significance of national cooperation throughout the reform process, prompting the audience to consider if the reform would become a national dialogue or “a jurisprudential Tower of Babel.” State supreme court justice Jorge Ignacio Pérez Castañeda of Baja California concluded the panel with a discussion of the quantity and quality of personnel needed to operate within the new justice system. He specifically focused on the role of municipal police, explaining that because these officers are the first point of contact between citizens and the new penal system, their continued training on the new system should be a priority for Mexican states.

The symposium’s second day began with a panel discussion dedicated to the training processes necessary for the new justice system’s full implementation. Dr. María Candelaria Pelayo Torres, Director of the Judiciary Institute of Baja California (Instituto de la Judicatura de Baja California), opened the dialogue with an emphasis on the academic nature of the reform. She noted that the entire law education system requires a transformation in order for future lawyers and judicial operators to have an adequate understanding of how their roles will change in the new justice system. As a result, she explained that there is a high demand for outstanding academic institutions that have the resources and instructors to provide adequate training in the new language of oral adversarial litigation.

Panel presentations at the international OASIS symposium

Panel presentations at the international OASIS symposium

San Diego defense attorney and OASIS Principal Instructor Janice Deaton elaborated on effective training methods and reflected on her instruction experiences with the OASIS program. She stressed that all training programs should employ the model of “learning by doing” in order to teach their participants how to effectively utilize oral adversarial litigation skills in a courtroom. Dr. Dan Schneider of American University expanded upon this notion by encouraging lawyers not to be passive participants in the justice system, but its main actors. He also reflected upon his experience with the OASIS training program, explaining that its participants had the opportunity to observe the strategy and thinking of the lawyers in a vehicular homicide court case in Maryland. He referred to the practice of law as “an art” which involves critical thinking, social skills, and an eagerness to challenge authority. Dr. David Fernández Mena, Coordinator of an American Bar Association Rule of Law Initative(ABA-ROLI) program, explained how he and his organization are working to transform the practice of law throughout Mexico. Through his ABA-ROLI program, Dr. Fernández Mena trains professors and universities on how to teach law in the context of the new justice reform. He stressed that efforts such as these are imperative, as there are currently no official accreditation or training systems for university professors to teach law as it will be practiced under the reform.

Friday’s second panel included several UNAM law professors who compared their experiences with the justice system in Mexico and in the United States. Professor Julieta Lara Luna began the panel with a comparison of the treatment of victims in both legal systems. She maintained that the new justice system should be devoted to the promotion of human rights. Dr. Tito Armando Granados Carrión continued with this theme, emphasizing the “human side” of the justice system. Dr. Granados Carrión expressed that the justice reform “offers the opportunity to humanize the justice system and its citizens.”

The panel discussion continued with several insightful comparisons of the U.S. and Mexican legal systems. Professor Miroslava Pineda Zúñiga made the observation that many Mexicans do not consider the U.S. justice system to be the “final goal” for Mexico due to the manner in which it is portrayed in the media. However, she noted that the U.S. system is principally based on the use of logic and critical reasoning, which is what the Mexican justice system should choose to emulate. She also conveyed the importance of citizen participation and trust in the system, which she claimed would improve its credibility. Dr. Alberto del Castillo del Valle added to this comparison by highlighting the similarities of the U.S. and Mexican constitutions. He specifically focused on the “forgotten” role of rights or guarantees, which are present in both documents. He concluded by emphasizing that these guarantees should be respected within the new system. Professor Eduardo Alonso Domínguez highlighted the use of mediation as a form of case resolution within the United States. He reminded the audience that ninety percent of U.S. cases are resolved through agreements between the plaintiff and the defense as opposed to oral trials. He applied this principle to the Mexican justice system, declaring that negotiation will be an essential process to the effective resolution of cases. Professor Ignacio Hernández Orduña concluded the panel with a discussion of the specific procedures employed by both the U.S. and Mexican legal systems.

The third panel of the day was dedicated to the measurement and evaluation of the justice reform’s implementation. Dr. David Shirk, professor at the University of San Diego and the Principal Investigator for Justice in Mexico, began the panel discussion by describing the context in which the justice reform began and how Justice in Mexico has worked to support this reform. He also emphasized the importance of “taking the pulse” of the new justice system’s performance through methods of regular evaluation.  Dr. Matthew Ingram, professor at State University of New York at Albany, expanded upon these methods by presenting his findings on the three factors affecting the diffusion of the reform across the Mexican states. He explained that the principal mechanisms moving the reform were federal instruction, political party ties across the states, and geographic networks between states. Professor Octavio Rodríguez Ferreira, Justice in Mexico’s Project Coordinator, concluded the panel with a discussion of Justiciabarómetro, a research initiative through Justice in Mexico that evaluates levels of professional development of actors within Mexico’s justice system as well as the perceptions of these actors regarding the functionality of the justice system. All three panelists agreed that recent research has only provided a minimal analysis of the current status of the justice reform and that there is a great need for more accurate measurements and indicators of the new system’s performance.

Dr. Maria de los Angeles Fromow

Dr. Maria de los Angeles Fromow presents at the international OASIS symposium

The symposium’s final conference included a lecture by the renowned Dr. María de los Ángeles Fromow, Technical Secretariat of the Coordinating Council for the Implementation of the Criminal Justice System of the Ministry of the Interior. Dr. Fromow shared many insights into the implementation of the new justice system, reminding the audience that six Mexican states have already achieved full implementation and sixty-two percent of the population is currently operating under the new system. She noted the importance of both political and economic will in the implementation process. Dr. Fromow was joined on stage by Dr. María Leoba Castañeda Rivas, the Director of UNAM’s law school and a respected collaborator of Justice in Mexico’s OASIS project.

The symposium was a monumental success, presenting a thorough picture of the justice reform’s past successes and remaining challenges moving forward. Justice in Mexico would like to thank all of the symposium’s panelists and moderators, UNAM’s law school, its faculty, and its director, Dr. María Leoba Castañeda Rivas for their dedicated collaboration and commitment to justice reform in Mexico.

OASIS International Study Trip in San Diego

OASIS_Sandiego7

OASIS San Diego participants (University of San Diego)

08/28/2015 (written by msmith) – Eight faculty and five students from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Law School were chosen to participate in a two-week study trip to learn about the U.S. criminal justice system. Called the Justice in Mexico Oral Advocacy Skill-building Immersion Seminar (OASIS), this study trip was made possible by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement as part of the Mérida Initiative. During their two weeks in San Diego, the UNAM visitors participated in a series of workshops with USD law professor Allen Snyder as well as special sessions with trial judge Chris Whitten, prosecutor Gregg McClain, criminal defense attorney Ezekiel Cortez, private investigator Juan Lopez, Judge David Danielson, and Deputy Attorney General Anthony da Silva.

On the first day, participants toured University of San Diego and watched a specially edited version of the 1979 ABC documentary, “The Shooting of Big Man: Anatomy of a Criminal Case,” based on a Harvard law research project. Professor Allen Snyder led discussions following the film focused on such topics as how the argument of self-defense was a key factor in determining the outcome of the case. There are two parts of self-defense, the defense had to prove that the defendant was actually afraid and that it was reasonable. Professor Snyder emphasized how the defense attorneys had to also connect with the jury on an emotional level and not just an intellectual level to make sure they could understand how the defendant felt during the incident. Another important discussion that came from watching the film was the question why is the judge not the expert of the law rather than the jury? Professor Snyder’s response was, If Jack Jones, the defendant, was afraid, what expertise does a person need to have to understand that fear? As Professor Snyder explained there is also a downside of expertise when judges start lumping together all criminal defendants because they have seen so many cases.

State prosecutor Gregg McClain discussed with participants the organization of the state prosecution system. McClain described the role of the prosecutor as being the person who decides if the great weight of the state should come down on a person accused of a crime. What matters to the prosecutor is the evidence and therefore the duty to investigate is of the highest importance. The danger of young lawyers is whether the state must punish someone to the maximum. McClain tries to show young lawyers the larger picture and look at what is right, what is justice in each particular case. Thus, for McClain, taking special attention to look at whether the defendant is opportunistic or dangerous, drug driven or antisocial, and asking the questions can the defendant be convinced not to commit crimes, if he wants rehabilitation, education, whether he is employable should also play an important role in the prosecutors sentences.

OASIS San Diego participants meet with Anthony Da Silva

OASIS San Diego participants meet with Anthony Da Silva

The OASIS participants visited the California Attorney General’s office in downtown San Diego. Participants met with several attorneys, beginning with Anthony DaSilva. Mr. DaSilva spoke to participants regarding the appellate process. He discussed the appellate briefs; what needs to be included in the briefs; time limits, and oral arguments. Oral arguments are held in San Diego in front of the Fourth Appellate District of California, and most argument last from ten to fifteen minutes per side.

The appellate court relies on the criminal codes, laws, and case precedent when deciding the case. They hear arguments and read the briefs. After the oral argument, they have 90 days to render their decision in the form of a written opinion (published) or a memorandum (not published). Following the decision of the appellate court, a litigant may appeal to the Supreme Court of California.

Mr. DaSilva also discussed the death penalty. These cases have automatic appeal to the Supreme Court, and begin with the appellate courts. They are very backlogged, up to twenty years in the Federal Circuits. Mr. DaSilva explained which cases can be charged with the death penalty.   He also explained the victims’ families may be present for the execution, and in California it is done with lethal injection. Finally Mr. DaSilva spoke regarding habeas corpus. The participants were very interested in this mechanism, as there is a similar one in Mexico called “Amparo.” The grounds for habeas corpus are a violation of Constitutional rights during the criminal proceedings, ineffective assistance of counsel, or insufficient evidence for a conviction.

Participants also met with criminal defense attorney Ezekiel Cortez, and attorney Janice Deaton’s private investigator Juan Antonio Lopez. Janice Deaton is also a criminal defense attorney. Mr. Cortez is a past representative for the Criminal Justice Act attorneys with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He spoke with the group regarding the realities faced by criminal defendants in federal court, the plea bargaining system and the sentencing structure in American courts. Mr. Cortez answered questions regarding any differences in penalties and sentenced imposed upon defendants who choose to go to trial and those who plead guilty. He also addressed oral trial training efforts both within the United States and throughout Latin America. Licensed private investigator Juan Lopez gave a brief introduction about defense investigation in criminal cases, about the licensing requirements for investigators, and about subpoena powers enjoyed by the defense in criminal cases. He was asked about international investigations and what type of subpoena powers he has in, for example, Mexico. Mr. Lopez and Ms. Deaton discussed common issues that arise in investigating cases for trial.

OASIS San Diego participants with Judge Danielsen

OASIS San Diego participants with Judge Danielsen

Judge David Danielsen and participants met in the Hall of Justice Court House downtown courtroom where Judge Danielsen discussed the history of modern sentencing and the problems with our US criminal justice system. He discussed prison overcrowding and the fact that California has only 10 University of California campuses while it has 33 prisons. He also talked about how poor people have to represent themselves so he asked how do we deliver justice to people who can’t afford it. Judge Danielsen also mentioned racism as a major problem in this country and the disproportionate number of people of color coming before the criminal courts.

Following this discussion, participants attended a moot court of an appellate oral argument, sponsored by the Federal Bar Association at the San Diego Federal Courthouse. United States District Court Judges John A. Houston, Marilyn L. Huff, and Ninth Circuit Judge Owens presided over an oral argument regarding the Voting Rights Act. The moot court was held to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

On the participant’s last day, Arizona civil and tax court judge Chris Whitten took participants through a mock readiness hearing. A readiness hearing is a hearing in front of the judge with the prosecutor and defense attorney present where the parties decide if the case is going to trial, continued or some plea bargain reached. Participants also heard from Judge Whitten on the limiting amount of power judges now have when prosecutors are given so much control with the plea agreements. According to Judge Whitten, there is no check on the prosecutor and that if a judge does not agree to a plea agreement, the prosecutor will go to another judge. In Judge Whitten’s words, the judge’s hands are bound by their plea agreements. A judge is supposed to have discretion but in our current system discretion is removed and given to the prosecutor because of plea agreements.

Dr. David Shirk, Director of Justice in Mexico and Associate Professor in Political Science at University of San Diego, made closing comments about the OASIS initiative and the significance of thinking long term with reasonable expectations when contemplating judicial reform in Mexico. Participants participated in a closing ceremony with Dr. Shirk, UNAM law professor Jacqueline Zenteno Hernandez, UNAM law professor Maria de Lourdes Chamol Rodriguez, Judge Chris Whitten, Professor Allen Snyder and Mr. Octavio Rodriguez where participants were given their certificates of participation.

 

 

 

OASIS International Study Trip in Boston

Oral Adversarial Skill-Building Immersion Seminar (OASIS)

08/01/2015 (written by msmith) – The Justice in Mexico Oral Advocacy Skill-building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) hosted a two-week study trip for 8 faculty and 4 students from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Law School to learn about the U.S. court system, criminal justice procedures, and international law.

This OASIS study trip was made possible by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement as part of the Mérida Initiative. During their two weeks in Boston, the UNAM visitors participated in a series of workshops with Harvard law professors Alex Whiting and Phil Heymann, as well as special sessions with trial judge William Young, prosecutors Jordi de Llano Stephen Heymann, and Fred M Wyshak Jr., and criminal trial and appeals attorney Martin G. Weinberg.

Participants toured Harvard Law School and watched a specially edited version of the 1970s ABC documentary, “The Shooting of Big Man: Anatomy of a Criminal Case,” based on a Harvard law research project. The documentary shows events in the criminal justice system normally hidden from the public: numerous jailhouse sessions between the defendant and his public defender attorneys; the preparation of the case by defense, police and prosecution; and interviews with witnesses and the victim. It culminates with the jury trial and verdict.

Discussions following the film focused on such topics as the different role the police statement plays in a criminal trial in Mexico, as well as questions regarding how evidence can be withheld from the jury. Participants reflected on the question of whether the adversarial system is more concerned with winning than it is with justice, and on some of the achievements and limitations of the U.S. criminal justice system today.

Harvard Professor of Practice Alex Whiting participated in multiple sessions with the UNAM visitors, explaining the pretrial and trial processes, the role of the jury, the process of discovery, techniques for preparing witnesses, methods for providing an effective cross-examination, how to examine plea agreements, and other aspects of the U.S. adversary system.

Professor Whiting explained that U.S. trial proceedings constitute a system of discovery in which the parties (defense attorney, prosecutor, jury) are forced to get to the “truth” of a case together, albeit in a manner that creates checks and balances through an adversarial process. In the pretrial phase, the merits of the criminal investigation are tested by the prosecutor, defense attorney and judge. During the trial, the evidence produced by that investigation is then tested by these same parties before a jury. This system operates in contrast to Mexico’s mixed, inquisitorial system, in which the prosecutor plays a primary role in representing the “truth” to the judge, with a less prominent role for the legal counsel of the accused.

Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division for the United States Attorneys Office for the District of Massachusetts Stephen Heymann and Harvard Professor Philip Heymann discussed with participants the Brady v Maryland (1963) case, the process of conducting an investigation, and the obligations of the government to provide exculpatory evidence to the defendant during the discovery process. Exculpatory evidence is evidence that is favorable to a defendant in a criminal trial, in that it exonerates or tends to exonerate the defendant of guilt.

The Brady case was a landmark US Supreme Court case in which the prosecution had withheld from the criminal defendant certain evidence. The defendant challenged his conviction, arguing it had been contrary to the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Much of the discussion in this session touched upon the investigative techniques prosecutors and police must use as well as what can go wrong. Participants were given a hypothetical situation in which the prosecutor finds out someone is going to be killed. Should the prosecutor warn the person and compromise the investigation or not say anything?

Boston Study Trip

OASIS – Boston International Seminar

While in Boston, the UNAM faculty and students also visited the federal courthouse to attend a sentence hearing and to meet with presiding federal trial judge William Young in his chambers. Participants were able to meet with Judge Young before the sentence hearing and debriefed with him afterwards. Judge Young explained to participants that he gives a sentence based on a defined process and that sentencing is the hardest part of being a judge. As Judge Young explained there are four common goals of sentencing: retribution, specific deterrence, general deterrence, and rehabilitation. With each sentence issued, a judge strives for a combination of these four goals.

Criminal trial and appeals attorney Martin G. Weinberg spoke to participants about the role of the defense lawyer. As Martin said in class, the constitutional rights of the accused are on the shoulders of the criminal defense lawyer. The defense lawyer is creating a counter-narrative of the facts presented by the prosecutor. For Martin, the accused are extremely vulnerable and he identifies the three roles of the defense lawyer as to defend the rights of the guilty; 2) fight for their constitutional liberty; and 3) fight for the innocent. Professor Philip Heymann moderated the discussion and asked Martin questions regarding when the defendant should take the stand as well as what Martin asks of the jury in a closing argument.

Assistant US Attorney Fred M. Wyshak Jr. also met with the UNAM participants to discuss public corruption cases and the guidelines FBI agents must now follow when handling informants. Mr. Wyshak, a prosecutor who has been at the helm of some of the higher-profile criminal cases in federal court in recent years, heads his office’s public corruption and special investigations unit. In particular, he discussed the case of the United States v. Bulger (1972) to highlight what can go wrong when FBI investigators become corrupted by the mob. It was a trial three decades in the making; the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger, the South Boston mobster charged with 19 murders and operating his own army of paid-off FBI agents, state troopers, and Boston police who protected him instead of his victims for 20 years beginning in the 1970s.

Study Trip Conclusion

Professor Heymann concluded the two-week study trip with a seminar on adversarial criminal procedure in the U.S. and how it will be implemented in Mexico. Using the Socratic method, Professor Heymann called on participants and engaging them in an active discussion. As Professor Heymann emphasized in this discussion, part of the purpose of exploring the U.S. trial system in detail over the course of the two week visit is also to consider ways to avoid future problems in new system in Mexico. The discussion also emphasized the fact that written law is not sufficient to dispel the culture of corruption that currently exists and that the commitment and convictions of the operators of Mexico’s new criminal justice system will be essential to transform this culture.

Closing event - Boston

Closing ceremony with UNAM’s Law School Dean

 

The two-week workshop concluded with a formal ceremony attended by Dr. María Leoba Castañeda Rivas, the dean of the UNAM law school, who praised the excellent program organized by Dr. Heymann, as well as the earnest and active participation of the UNAM faculty and students. Dr. Castañeda stressed the importance of the seminar for strengthening the UNAM’s capacity to assist in the education and training needed for the implementation of the new criminal justice system in Mexico.

 

Summary by Justice in Mexico Program Associate Micaela Smith.