Constitutional Reforms in the Criminal Justice Area

July 17, 2008
Constitutional Reforms in the Criminal Justice Area

On June 18, 2008, constitutional reforms to Mexico’s criminal justice system were published in the Official Journal of the Federation (DOF). One should consider thatsuch reforms follow the general outline of the criminal justice system in the United States and, without doubt, are designed to be an effort to modernize Mexico’scriminal justice system. The central elements of the reform are ten constitutional articles containing changes in the written system of administering and impartingcriminal justice in Mexico, to an oral system that expressly establishes the presumption of innocence under Mexican law. The reforms contemplating a change to an oral criminal justice system suppose the need to completely reform the way prosecutors (ministerios publicos), judges and attorneys perform their roles in the legal system. For this reason, a transitory article provides a term of eight years for the Mexican federal government and Federal District to issue and put into force the necessary amendments to existing laws or new laws to be incorporated into the new procedures system proposed under the reforms. Some states, such as Nuevo Leon, Chihauhua, the State of Mexico and Oaxaca have already implemented oral criminal justice systems.

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