President López Obrador has threatened to go after judges who regularly free suspected criminals who go on to commit new crimes.
It would be a strategy similar to the one the president has adopted with respect to gas stations — identifying at his Monday press conference those that sell the most expensive fuel.
“We’re going to be respectful of the judicial branch, but we will also be vigilant; if there are judges that are arbitrarily freeing crime suspects . . . that’s over now. There will now be a who’s who of the justice system.”
Reminding his audience that one of the central aims of his administration is to stifle corruption, he said judges will now have to act within the bounds of the law.
As an example of what can go wrong, the president recounted the case of a suspected criminal who was freed and then proceeded to murder the police officer who had arrested him.
“. . . The executive branch must intervene. This cannot be allowed to keep happening.”
On Tuesday, the president and the National Conference of Governors agreed to conduct an offensive against corruption in the judicial branch.
Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro will head up an initiative to develop a methodology to review cases of judicial corruption that can then be applied in every state.
He said his state is emblematic of the problem, claiming that for years the judicial branch has been hijacked by branches of government and individuals.
The judicial branch has been controlled, it has had its masters and there has been ongoing manipulation of decisions, Alfaro said, “and that history has come to an end.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with the newspaper Milenio, constitutional lawyer Alberto Woolrich suggested that the president’s threat to identify suspect judges should not be seen as a threat against the judicial branch, but as a response to the public’s demand to purge institutions of corruption.
“People are fed up with so much corruption. I don’t see this as a threat. Instead, it’s a measure to curb corruption among judges.”
The lawyer highlighted the case of Raúl Salinas de Gortari, brother of former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who was arrested for money laundering but later freed by the Supreme Court.
“How can you put faith in the Supreme Court, in these robed lawyers that supposedly respect the constitution . . .”
The lawyer added that corrupt judges directly undermine Mexico’s sovereignty, saying that though he did not fully agree agree with the president’s ideals, the situation requires immediate action. People throughout the country are fed up with situation, he said.