Despite U.S. Aid, Mexican State’s New Court System Appears Broke and Not Ready for Implementation

Court Gavel

Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican States of Tamaulipas and Coahuila to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities.  The writers would face certain death at the hands of the various cartels that operate in those areas including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by Coahuila’s “JM Martinez” and Breitbart Texas’ Ildefonso Ortiz.

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Coahuila — Less than three months before this border state needs to fully implement a new judicial system, court officials claim that the courthouses are not only inadequate, but the funds for basic office needs have run dry.

It remains unclear what happened to the judicial funding. The U.S. government provided $68 million in aid to Mexico in 2014 in an effort to get the new judicial system up an running.

This border state is one of the states that, according to court officials who spoke out to Breitbart Texas, continues to lag behind with employes having to purchase office supplies out of their own pocket. Breitbart Texas visited the border city of Piedras Negras where the state does have one courthouse with two small courtrooms for the trials. However, high ranking officials with the Coahuila Attorney General’s Office who spoke with this reporter stated that they have not been provided with the bare essentials to keep the courthouse running.

One clerk that spoke out under the condition of anonymity stated that his office doesn’t even have paper and he had to provide his own materials.

When it comes to the logistics, Coahuila was originally scheduled to have one courthouse in each of it’s six judicial regions. Breitbart Texas was able to only locate three courthouses, one in Saltillo, one in Piedras Negras, one in Monclova. A command level state police officer that spoke with this outlet confirmed that the lack of courthouses has resulted in police officers having to transport prisoners from throughout the state to the three courthouses in the state.

According to various police sources in Coahuila, prisoners from Ciudad Acuna and Sabinas are transported in police convoys to the courthouses in Piedras Negras and Monclova respectively due to the lack of courtrooms in their particular jurisdiction.

In 2014, the U.S Agency for International Development known as USAID provided Mexico with $68 million in aid for the implementation of a series of reforms that would turn that country’s judicial system from one that had written trials to one with public oral trials. The move is part of the ongoing Merida Initiative or Plan Merida which provides aid to Mexico in an effort to stem the growth of organized crime in that country. The funds that were received by Mexico were then to be disbursed to the 31 states in that country in an effort to help the transition.

The judicial reform in Mexico has been widely promoted by that country’s federal government since it is set to add some transparency to a judicial process that is largely perceived to be full of corruption.

According to the information published by Mexico’s Secretariat of the Interior,  the new judicial system is set to be fully operational on June 18, 2016. However, the process has been plagued with delays. Mexico’s El Universal reported in early 2015, that at the time, only six states in the country had achieved a 60 percent implementation rate. Last October, Coahuila’s El Zocalo Newspaper interviewed a local congressman who warned that Coahuila continues to lag behind in the implementation of the judicial system.

“Our judicial system has been in crisis for years, we don’t need more improvements, the learning curve is intolerable,” Congressman Leonel Contreras was quoted by Zocalo. “The delivery of justice is not a game, we can not take the luxury of taking the liberty of innocents and letting criminals go free.”


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