Problems With Mexico’s Legal System
Unlike the U.S., Mexico’s legal system has no jury trials. In the majority of cases, there are also no oral arguments, meaning lawyers don’t stand in front of a judge to plead their client’s case. Judges usually never meet the accused. Everything is done via paperwork. Judges are subject to a Napoleonic code of justice, meaning laws are strictly codified, leaving them little room for judgment.
Most Mexicans have no idea what happens in a courtroom. Only specific parts of a trial are open to family members and others. The rest, including evidence for or against the accused, is sealed to the public until the case is closed.
Mexico’s legal system is amazingly horrible. That’s one of the things the US is helping them with, as part of the war on the cartels. It looks almost hopeless.
This article is old (from October 17, 2009) but I wanted to post it before my WSJ subscription runs out, so I can find it in the future.