Federal Judiciary, a light hammer

 •  0

By

From 2013 until 2015, the Council of the Federal Judiciary has barely sanctioned nine magistrates and 12 judges. It is unable to touch the members of the Supreme and the Electoral Courts.

judicatura-federal-plx

If the efficacy and honesty of the Judicial Power of the Federation were measured by the sanctions imposed to its servants and by the admitted “gravity” of the acts that derived the subsequent punishment, for the time being in the current administration the Council of the Federal Judiciary (CJF) could assure that everything is reasonably well, that there are few of the magistrates and judges that commit faults, and in such an event it is most likely that it would be light.

The latter is the deduced from the fall of disciplinary actions taken during the current government on behalf of the Executive Secretariat of Discipline of the CJF –officially in charge of surveilling and punishing those responsible of delivering justice- and those that surround them in that duty.

According to the data made public by the own Judiciary and the responses to the requests of access to information presented by Contralinea, it can be seen that while in 2013 46 sanctions were imposed, in 2014 they dropped to 10, and from January until October 2015 only seven cases have been imposed.

In its first 16 years (from 1995 until 2011), he Council of the Judiciary sanctioned 1,035 public servants of the Judicial Power of the Federation, of which 251 were circuit magistrates and 376 district judges (Contralinea issue no. 270).

magistrados-electorales-600

Most of the years between 40 and 50 sanctions were presented, there even were cases where the number of punished exceeded 80 (2002 and 2004, 82; 2003, 86; 2001, 88) and 60 (1997 and 2002, 64; 2000, 69).

The “mission” of the Executive Secretariat of Discipline is to act in order to “warranty the impartiality and honesty of the public servants members of the Judicial Power of the Federation”. But of all, as they only have the responsibility to act against “public servants and employees of the circuit and district courts”, i.e. that the members of the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico (SCJN) as well as the Federal Electoral Court (TEPJF) –ministers and magistrates included, of course- are untouchable for the highest judicial surveillance body of the country.

The Secretariat of Discipline submits the administrative procedures. But these normally take months, and years to resolve. Thus when they decide that the public servants have to be sanctioned or receive public warnings, the witnesses of the act have to remember the motive of the show off, as the facts have taken place years before, and even the person concerned could have climbed up in their judiciary career.

According to the Organic Act of the Judicial Power of the Federation and the Federal Law of the Responsibilities of Public Servants, the sanctions that could derive on public servants of the PJF are warnings (public or private), economic sanctions, suspension, dismissal of the position and “temporary ineligibility to hold a job, position or commission of public servants”.

In a context where drug lords such as Rafael Caro Quintero left prison on a mandate and order of a judge or in which dozens of persons remain imprisoned for political motivations due to a decision –explicit or not- by the judges, the CJF has focused in minor cases related with the personnel of the Judicial Power.

Furthermore judges and magistrates are being investigated by the Attorney General’s Office, by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit, by the Center of Investigation and National Security, or by the own Supreme Court, and not by the Judiciary.

The Global Impunity Index estimates that Mexico is the second most impunity-hit country among the 59 cases investigated and listed. The Philippines and Colombia complete the podium with the first and third place, respectively. The impunity in Mexico is generalized, has condemned the United Nations.

Despite that most of the blame fall on the judicial system, according to the judiciary most of the faults committed by the public servants assigned to judicial bodies (district courts, unitary tribunals and collegiate tribunals) are only “serious”. This is what determined the hammer of the Disciplinary Commission and the own plenum of the CJF, led by the Prime Minister of the Court, Luis María Aguilar Morales.

ultimo-normal-600

The cases

During 2015 (from January until the 20th of October), four circuit magistrates have been sanctioned by the Council of the Federal Judiciary. But none of the punishments went beyond a private warning:

José Saturnino Suero Alva and Alfonso Ortiz Díaz, both of the Second Criminal and Labor Collegiate Tribunal of the Seventh Circuit with a seat in Boca del Río, Veracruz, were sentenced for “lack of professionalism”; Mariá Elena Leguízamo Ferrer, of the Sixth Criminal Collegiate Tribunal of the First Circuit failed to comply with “a legal provision related with the public service”, same reason for which Roberto Lara Hernández, of the Sixth Criminal Collegiate Tribunal of the First Circuit, was also reprehended behind closed doors.

In the first 10 months of Luis María Aguilar Morales as the president of the Federal Judiciary only one district judge, Roberto Antonio Domínguez Muñoz, of the Fourth Federal Criminal District Court of Toluca, State of Mexico felt the rigor of a “private warning” for “failing to comply with a legal provision related with public service” (information request 440415). For this ambiguous motive many have been branded in their service sheet.

The gravest sanction during 2015 hit a court registrar: Jairo Hernández Garibay, of the Third Collegiate Tribunal of the Ninth Circuit, with its seat in San Luis Potosí, who was suspended given the fact that “he did not observed good conduct in his work and a lack of respect”. On his side José Refugio López Garduza, of the heavily sanctioned Second Criminal and Labor Collegiate Tribunal of the Seventh Circuit based in Boca del Río, received a “private warning” due to the “lack of professionalism” (information request 440815).

judicatura-federal-600

2014, when the hammer was taken back

In 2014 there were only 10 sanctioned persons. None was a circuit magistrate; no fault was considered serious. Four of them were district judges: Guillermo Baltazar y Jiménez, of the Third Court of the State of Aguascalientes, was warned publicly for “failing to comply the legal provision related with the public service”, which is considered as “not serious” (file 39/2012); José Luis Gómez Martínez of the Eighth Court of the State of Oaxaca, granted “improper appointments” and only received a “private warnings”, which neither is serious (22/2012); Juan Antonio Trejo Espinoza, of the Eighth Court based in Tijuana, also received a private warning for “failing to comply the legal provision related with the public service” (26/2012), and Rodolfo Pedraza Longi, of the Fourth District Court of Querétaro, received a public warning for his “deficiency in the entrusted service” (28/2012).

The Court Registrar of the Sixth District based in San Andrés Cholula, Puebla, Hazel Luz Idalia Mier Arriaga was denounced and sanctioned with a private warning, “for lack of professionalism and failing to comply duly with the entrusted public service”, something not serious (2/2011); on his side Juan Alfredo Camacho Ibarra, registrar of the Eighth Court of Tijuana, also suffered a warning –this one public- for “failing to comply with a legal provision related with public service”, a fact not considered as grave neither (26/2012).

The Justice Clerk Sofía Rubio Pulido, of the Collegiate Tribunal based in the City of Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, was suspended for 15 days due to the “lack of professionalism”, which again is not grave (97/2013).

Gustavo Sánchez Aguirre, administrative officer of the First Criminal and Administrative Collegiate Tribunal based in Acapulco. Guerrero, got a private warning because “he did not observe a good conduct in his position”, something neither considered grave (6/2013); another public warning, for not guarding nor taking care of “the documentation and information which based on his position” he should have kept under his care, Itzpapalotl Murillón Duarte received it, which is not grave (142/2011); Yeny Figueroa Cortez, an administrative officer of the Sixth District Court corresponding to San Andrés Cholula, she only received a private warning due to a “lack of professionalism” (2/2012).

2013, the last normal year

In 2013 there were 46 sanctioned persons, five of them circuit magistrates:

Carlos Nicéforo Adolfo Olea Peñaflores, of the Second Unitary Tribunal with residence in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, received a “private warning” for “failing to comply with a legal provision related with the public service”, something not serious (27/2012); Claudio Pérez Hernández, member of the Second Unitary Tribunal of Monterrey, also heard a “private warning” due to a complaint for the “lack of professionalism”, neither this case was grave, according to the CJF (427/2012); also for the “lack of professionalism” Edna María Navarro García, magistrate of the Sixth Unitary Tribunal Tijuana, received a “public warning”, but the lack was not considered as grave (10/2010); the work if Javier Pons Licéaga, of the First Civil and Labor Collegiate Tribunal with its seat in Guanajuato, was of a “light” character: “lack of professionalism and deficiency in the entrusted service “, therefore he received a “public warning” (97/2011); Juan Vilchiz Sierra, colleague of Pons Licéaga went along him in the punishment for the same reason.

Eight district judges saw the light hammer of the decisions of the Executive Secretariat of Discipline fall upon them, despite having criminal records:

tribunal-colegiado-300Alberto Ramírez Ruiz, of the Second District Court of Acapulco, failed to comply with “the legal provisions related with the public service”, nothing serious, for which he received a “private warning” (40/2012); Griselda Sáenz Horta, of the Fourth District Court of Cuernavaca, Morelos received the same sanction for the same reason (11/2012); due to a “lack of professionalism”, a fault hardly serious in his case, Ignacio Manuel Cal y Mayor García, of the First District Court of Tlaxcala had to endure a “public warning” after 3 years of process (827/2010), despite having a criminal record of “non-compliance of the maximal diligence of the entrusted service” (34/2007), of “notorious carelessness” (27/2000 and his accumulation 28/2000) and of “non-compliance of judicial provisions related with the public service” (12/2001); Jacinto Figueroa Salmorá, of the Eleventh Criminal District Court (of Amparo Lawsuits) of the Federal District, received a “public warning” for also “failing to comply with the legal provision related with the public service” (not serious, 35/2012), the plenum considered that he failed to comply “with the judicial provisions related with the public service”, and it was not the only time (599/2004, 78/2012 and 49/2012, “major fault to the minimal one”); the judge Jaime Arturo Garzón Orozco, of the Third Criminal District Court of Puente Grande, only received a “private warning” for the same official reason (24/2012); for the same, for failing to comply “with the judicial provisions related with the public service”, Jesús Salvador Frausto Macareno, of the Fifth Criminal Court of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, received a “private warning” (44/2012); Juan Manuel Díaz Núñez, of the Sixth District Court of Acapulco, whose fault also was labeled as non-compliance “of a legal provision related with the public service”, was punished with a “private warning” (53/2012); María Soledad Rodríguez González, assigned to the First Labor District Court of the Federal District was summoned privately for “not complying with a legal provision related with the public service” (9/2012).

Also three court registrars were punished in 2013: Carlos Alberto Villareal Salgado, of the First Civil and Labor Collegiate Tribunal based in Guanajuato, received a public warning for his “lack of professionalism and deficiency in the entrusted service” (97/2011); Claudia Valeria Dávila Montero, of the Second Civil Collegiate Tribunal of Toluca, was suspended for 3 months for “not preserving the own dignity of the judicial function in the performance of her duties”, in spite of being eye-catching, it is another fault considered as “not serious” (169/2011); Hilda Sandra Sainz Rendón, of the Second Administrative Collegiate Tribunal of San Andrés Cholula, was suspended for one year for “lack of professionalism”, a case considered as the only “serious” one for the time being of the current administration (286/2012).

Eleven court registrars also were sanctioned: Alejandra Ugalde Pérez, of the Ninth Court of Tampico, Tamaulipas, was suspended for 3 months for “not safeguarding nor taking care of the documentation and information, that due to her position she has to preserve”, something not serious (67/2011); Ángel Aristeo Granados González, of the Fourteenth District Court of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, only received a “private warning” due to a “lack of professionalism and deficiency in the entrusted service” (144/2011); Aracely Verástegui Zamarripal, of the First Criminal District Court of Monterrey suffered one of the punishments of the Executive Secretariat of Discipline imposed in almost 3 years: the destitution of the “notorious omission” (252/2012); in the case of Artemisa Venus Fernández Ángel, of the First District Court of Tlaxcala, the plenum needed almost 3 years to decide to impose a “private warning” for the “lack of professionalism” (827/2010); Héctor Alejandro Villafuerte Domínguez, of the Seventh District Court residing in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, also had a “private warning” for the same reason (50/2013); José de los Ángeles Martín Balán, od the Second District Court of San Francisco Campeche, had a “public warning” for “deficiencies in the entrusted service”(1166/2011); Jesús Federico Rojas Pesquera, also of the First District Court of Tlaxcala, received a “private warning” for his “lack of professionalism” (827/2010); Juan Carlos Méndez Moreno, of the Tenth District Court of Coatzacoalcos, received a “public warning” not only for the “lack of professionalism”, but also for the often-cited “deficiency in the entrusted service”(144/2011); for a “notorious omission”, Mario Gabriel Padilla García, of the Fifth Administrative District Court of the Federal District (396/2012) was publicly warned.

judicatura-federal02-plx

The case of the registrar of the Second District Court of Culiacán, Sinaloa, Juan Carlos Rincón Amador, distinguishes himself among the others: in 2010, the plenum of the Judiciary decided to suspend him for 15 years, in addition to imposing an “economic sanction”, for having disposed of “money for his benefit”, a fault that was considered as “serious” (93/2009). Three years later on the 15th January of 2013, the disciplinary Commission added a suspension on the already suspended Rincón Amador, this time for 3 years and 11 months, that will be effective until 2026 and expiring by 2030, added to 37, 425 pesos of fine; the motive: having “obtained additional benefit to the proven compensations that the state grants for the fulfillment of his duties and a deficiency in the entrusted service” (104/2011).

The judicial prosecutors Alejandra Pinzón Lara (“public warning”, 160/2012), Alicia Guadalupe Chávez Beltrán (“private warning”, 299/2011), Claudia Vanesa Soto Huitón (“public warning”, 56/2012), Daniel González Lara (suspension of 3 days, 32/2012), Guadalupe Robles Montes de Oca ((“public warning”, 266/2012), Héctor Rafael Rodríguez Estrella (suspension for 30 days, 87/2011), Jorge Armando Meneses Gutiérrez (“public warning”, 110/2011), Juan Édgar Mejía Martínez (“public warning”, 266/2012), Julián Eduardo Samos Méndez (“ineligibility” for 3 months, 125/2010) and María Eugenia Navarro Farías (“public warning”, 109/2011) also were touched by the Executive Secretariat of Discipline.

The administrative officers: Juan Manuel Tourlay Guerrero, of the Fifth Federal and Amparo District Court of Toluca, was disqualified for 1 year for “lack of respect and integrity” that is considered as “serious” (1770/2011); Karina Anahí Sánchez Martínez, of the Seventh District Court of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, for her “lack of professionalism”, despite being considered as “not serious”, was disqualified for 5 months (83/2011); for its part Elías Isaac Bamaca Hernández was dismissed of his charge for “not complying with the legal provisions related with the public service” (19/2012). Five officials more have received public and/or private warnings.

Throughout the Social Communication Office of the Judiciary, in charge of Jorge Camargo, Contralínea requested an interview to the Councilor of the Judiciary Alfonso Pérez Daza, in charge of the Commission of Discipline. However, until the closing of edition no response had been received.

Mauricio Romero, @mauricio_contra

[BLOCK: INVESTIGATION][SECTION: FRONT PAGE][SECTION: JUSTICE]

(Translated by: Axel Plasa)

RELATED TEXTS

Contralínea 464 / del 23 al 29 de Noviembre 2015

contralinea-464-m

TWEETS:

[EN]: From 2013 until 2015, the Mexican Judiciary has hardly sanctioned 9 magistrates and 12 judges.

[FR]: De 2013 á 2015, le corps judiciaire mexicain á peine a sanctionné 9 magistrats et 12 juges.

[IT] : Da 2013 a 2015 il settore giudiziario messicano appena ha sanzionato a 9 magistrati e 12 guidici.

[DE]: Von 2013 bis 2015 hat die mexikanische Justiz gerade mal 9 Staatsanwälte und 12 Richter bestraft.

[EN]: Mexico: The Judicial Council, unable to investigate members of the Court and electoral Tribunal.

[FR]: Mexique: Conseil judiciaire incapable d’enquêter les membres de la cours et du Tribunal électoral.

[IT] : Messico: Consilio giuduziario incapace d’indagare i membri della Corte e del Tribnunale elettorale.

[DE]: Mexiko: Justizrat unfähig die Mitglieder der Gerichter und der Wahlgerichter zu untersuchen.

Consejo

While the sanctions decreases against judges and magistrates, drug lords such as Caro Quintero leave prison by mandate and signature of judges.

To obtain additional benefits to the proven compensations that the State grants for the duties, the serious fault of the court registrar Rincón Amador.

 

Leave a Reply