Aug 27, 2012

In Mexico, Rehearsing to Inject Drama Into the Courtroom

NY Times: Karla Zabludovsky. MEXICO CITY — The witness’s testimony was beginning to show cracks. He grew visibly tense, his knuckles turning white as he gripped the table harder.

Catalina León, the defense lawyer cross-examining the witness in a triple murder case, had zeroed in on his inconsistencies. Indeed, the witness had witnessed little at all, having been standing at an angle that made it impossible for him to identify one of the men arrested in the crime.

“We were having a fit of laughter because they didn’t expect it and were very angry,” said Ms. León of the opposing counsel during a break.

Such tough questioning may seem the bedrock of courtroom justice in the United States, but here in Mexico, where trials are decided by judges and rely almost entirely on written briefs, the lively exchange was a rare sight. Rare enough, in fact, that it was still just a rehearsal, part of a training session conducted by American and Mexican prosecutors as this country revamps its justice system. Read more.

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