08/23/17- (written by Lucy Clement La Rosa) From July 31st to August 11th, faculty and student delegates from the UNAM Law School (Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) completed the third 2017 study trip to the United States under Justice in Mexico’s Oral-Adversarial Skill-Building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) program. The two-week study trip introduced the UNAM participants to U.S. public officials and legal experts in the greater San Diego area and encouraged academic discussion of the U.S. criminal justice system.
The OASIS study trip funded through the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs offered UNAM professors and students the opportunity to attend seminars and workshops led by prominent individuals including the Honorable Runston Maino, the Honorable Dave Danielsen, Judge Chris Whitten, Judge Luciano Angulo, Monique Carter, Moises Santos, Daniele Novoa, Andrew Haden, Ansar Haroun, Carlos Varela, Luis Guerrero, and Lisa Rodriguez. The workshops were organized by OASIS study trip coordinator and University of San Diego (USD) professor, Allen Synder, and OASIS Training Coordinator and practicing criminal defense attorney, Janice Deaton.
While the majority of the workshops were held within the USD Law School, the UNAM participants also visited San Diego’s Federal Court building, State Court building, the Office of the Public Defender, and the Hall of Justice. The seminars provided the participants direct interaction with U.S. federal and state officials, who shared relevant knowledge and personal experiences in the criminal justice sector. The workshops covered a variety of criminal justice topics including, but not limited to, the rights of a defendant, interpretation services within federal and state courts, the defense and prosecution perspective of an oral trial, the role of psychiatrists in the criminal system, and the logistics of plea bargaining. The meetings and workshops contributed to the overall objectives of the OASIS program: providing resources and training, such as oral litigation techniques, that will encourage judicial transparency and reform under the new criminal justice system in Mexico.
The last day of the study trip on August 11th consisted of a special session dedicated to the future of the Justice in Mexico program. The session promoted a dialogue of prospective challenges for the Justice in Mexico and panel discussions related to judicial reform efforts, including greater transparency and legal education, in Mexico. Finally, the day was concluded with a reception and dinner celebrating the Justice in Mexico’s 15th anniversary.