Next week, Mexican chief justices, associate justices and judges from four states will participate in high-level discussions with the Los Angeles Superior Court’s and county criminal justice experts according to the Public Relations office of the Los Angeles Superior Court. The Mexican judges are preparing for their criminal courts’ transition from document-based trials to a witness-based system.
The jurists will consult with court and law enforcement leaders, the public defender, probation chief, and district attorney. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will welcome them to City Hall.
From Monday, May 3, to Wednesday, May 5, the Mexican delegation will observe criminal case procedures at LASC to expedite the constitutionally mandated reform of Mexico’s criminal trial system. Spearheaded by LASC Judge Teresa Sanchez-Gordon, their L.A. itinerary includes observing criminal trials and juvenile court operations, inspecting a state-of-the-art forensic laboratory, and reviewing jails in L.A. County.
The judges represent court systems in Baja California, Chihuahua, Oaxaca and Veracruz. When Mexico’s criminal trial transition is completed in 2016, judges will preside over an adversarial system, evaluating witness testimony elicited by both prosecution and defense attorneys. Although criminal case decisions will be issued by judicial tribunals, the conversion alters the judicial approach of how evidence is collected and how trials are conducted.
The trip is organized by Judge Sanchez-Gordon, who led and participated in several Mexican-U.S. judicial conferences over the past decade. The educational visit to Los Angeles is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) office in Mexico City, the Mexican-American Bar Association, the California Judges Association and the California Latino Judges’ Association.
To interview the Mexican judges, call 213-974-5227.