viernes, 15 de julio de 2016

Lomas de Zamora: Two resonant cases concluding with unanimous guilty verdicts. The Court of Appeals overturned an unbelieavable trial judge decision of unconstitutionality

Two high profile cases in Lomas de Zamora were decided by juries, and both resulted in unanimous convictions.

In addition, the Court of Appeals strongly supported the jury trial against an unusual decision of a judge.


CASE DARÍO Avalos: "The jury gave us a lesson"

The first of these judgments, the "Darío Avalos” case, is undoubtedly the most important trial by jury made in the Province of Buenos Aires thus far. Not only because of the number of defendants (six), but because it involved a very serious and violent dispute among two rival factions of the UOCRA (the union of construction workers), which resulted in the shooting and death of Darío Avalos.

The whole trial was conducted with extremely strict security measures and hundred of demonstrators outside the courtrrom.

After four exhausting days of trial and almost eight hours of deliberation, the jury rendered their unanimous verdicts of conviction for the six defendants. Thus, the jury partially moved away from both prosecution and defense case theories. The prosecution charged all the defendants with first-degree murder, claiming that Avalos' death was a premeditated ambush. The defense countered that it was impossible to identify who killed Avalos, since the more than 20 people from both rival factions took part in the generalized rumpus. Thus, they claimed his death was not premeditated and asked for an acquittal or a conviction for the lesser-included offenses of attempted murder and aggression.

The jury considered proven that it was a planned ambush, but convicted only the two leaders of one of the factions of first-degree murder. For the remaining four defendants, the jury decided that they were responsible for attempted murder and aggression. The judge sentenced the first group of defendants to life imprisonment, and sentenced the other group to four years in jail.

The private prosecutor stated to the press that in a high profile case—a case with tremendous political pressures—"the jury has given us a lesson."


TRIAL JUDGE´S DECISION OVERTURNED:  "Gómez always wanted to be judged by ordinary citizens"

In an impeccable decision, the Court of Appeals of Lomas de Zamora flatly rejected the questionable decision of a trial judge, who ordered a bench trial for Gómez, a policeman charged with murder, despite his express petition to be tried  by a jury of his peers.

Ex officio and without any of the parties so would raise, the judge held that the jury law 14,453, drafted and passed by the Legislature of the province of Buenos Aires, was unconstitutional because such power had been delegated by the Framers to the Federal Congress (art. 75 inc. 12 ° of the Constitution). The Court of Appeals fulminated such an interpretation and proceed and ordered the court to conduct the trial with citizens as required three times in our Constitution.