04/28/11 – Mexico City’s plans to install cameras in its court rooms in order to record audio and video footage of oral hearings have moved forward after being approved by the Federal District’s Board of Public Safety. The government of the Federal District (Gobierno del Distrito Federal, GDF) feels that this act will increase the perception of transparency and trust within the Mexican population, allow authorities to check for inconsistencies in court room procedures, and give officials the ability to study and analyze any irregularities in order to come up with ways to improve the GDF’s judicial system. The proposal to begin videotaping oral hearings was first presented by the head of the GDF, Marcelo Ebrard, in March 2011.
It has been estimated that this project, which has been contracted with Sistemas Mer, may cost up to 9 million pesos, which is equivalent to roughly $780,000 U.S. dollars. Sistemas Mer’s Sales Director Salvador Alvarado has estimated that it will cost between $20-40 thousand U.S. dollars to set up and maintain equipment in a single court room. These estimations include the costs of necessary equipment and training so that judges and other court room officials can operate the cameras independently without the physical presence of Sistema Mer employees. According to news source Reforma, an exact estimate of the number of court rooms that the GDF wants to target is not yet available ,but the Superior Court of Justice of Mexico City (Tribunal Superior de Justicia del DF) has stated that there are at least 20 different rooms that need to be serviced.
For more information on the videotaping proposal, click here.