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Attorney General after more judges

Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito has not ruled out other judges being investigated for irregularities in the course of their duties.

Dominguez Brito was talking to the press yesterday, Tuesday 17 November 2015, following the suspension of five judges who face accusations of belonging to a structure to manipulate judicial processes and release criminal suspects. Investigations by the Attorney General Office revealed that the structure acted as a corporation, and was organized by judges, employees, former judges and lawyers who made the legal system work from the inside to benefit paying clients.

El Dia reports that since 2012, people affected by the decisions of the judicial “mafia” had submitted complaints to the judiciary.

All five judges that have been suspended without pay will also be attending disciplinary hearings as ordered by the Judicial Branch Council (CPJ).

The judges, who were involved in cases that received press coverage as scandals are Jose Duverge Mejia, Roso Vallejo Espinosa and Victor Mejia Lebron of courts in the province of Santo Domingo, as well as judges Awilda Reyes Beltre and Delio German Figueroa of the National District. This is in addition to Francisco Valera Arias, resigning judge of the Judicial Branch Council (CPJ), who is allegedly the coordinator of the irregularities.

The Dominican Anti-Corruption Alliance (Adocco) has been demanding that the president of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Judicial Branch Council (CPJ) Mariano German Mejia report to the country on the real reasons behind judge Francisco Arias Valera’s resignation.

The most recent notorious cases involve judge Awilda Ines Reyes Beltre of the National District, known for her decision to release the councilor for Pedro Brand, Erinson de los Santos, accused of contract killing. She also is known for having ordered the Attorney General Office to return the airplane said to belong to Jose Santoro of the collapsed Banco de Peravia, and for returning US$20 million to the Prado real estate company in the Torre Atiemar case involving Arturo del Tiempo, who is in jail for drug trafficking in his native Spain.

Dominguez Brito said that more people were probably involved and that they would continue to investigate. The Attorney General praised the Judicial Branch Council for investigating the cases.

So far there has been no mention of any investigations into the judge who changed a preventive custody sentence to house arrest for two French pilots, despite there being a 20-year sentence for cocaine trafficking that they were appealing.

The Judicial Branch Council has also ordered the Judicial Branch Inspectorate to investigate the recent dismissal of the charges against the Colombian brothers, Huber and Angel Maria Buitrago, accused of drug dealing, which was handed down last week by a court in San Cristobal.

The Institutionalism and Justice Foundation describes the situation affecting the Judicial Branch as very serious: “The accusation formalizes the serious complaints from several quarters and individuals in recent months, which pointed at penal judges for being directly responsible for rulings, acts and several decisions that were in violation of the law,” stated Finjus, as reported in El Dia.

Diario Libre recalls that on 30 November 2012, then chief of Police Manuel Castro Castillo expressed his concern at a situation where most of the 4,856 accused criminals sent to court during his first five months at the helm of the Police were released.

Diario Libre reports that courts in the National District, Santo Domingo Province and San Cristobal are most frequently under investigation for controversial rulings by the judges.

Source: DR1, Almomento

Nov 18, 2015

Category: DR News |

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