The most emblematic trial in recent years in Argentina concluded yesterday. It was not a poor man on trial. It was a millionaire, the CEO of a multinational company, who lived in the luxurious Martindale County Club in Pilar, and who murdered his wife, stabbing her 74 times in front of their respective divorce lawyers. And this was not just any trial: It was a trial by jury.
We know all too well in Argentina that judges are particularly hard on the poor, but hesitant, lax, and unsteady towards the rich or powerful. What would happen now with the jurors? Would they act the same way? Would they reach unanimity? Would they convict a rich man of a crime carrying a life sentence? Or would they find Farré not guilty of insanity, as the defense asked them to do?
Yesterday, at three in the afternoon, after almost two hours of deliberation, the jurors knocked on the door of the deliberation room and announced that they had a verdict. The country stood still and was overcome by a suspense never felt before.
People crowded together in the streets and in bars in front of the television screens, watching live, as the highly anticipated outcome unfolded. Nothing like this had ever happened in Argentina with a judicial pronouncement.
It was the responsibility of a 35-year-old man, the jury foreperson, to read the verdict. The tension was unbearable.
“WE, THE JURY, unanimously declare the defendant GUILTY
of murder in the first degree as charged”
|The murderer and the victim, Claudia Schaefer|
The courtroom broke out in cheers, applause, and emotional embraces among the family members of the victim, and a national collective sensation that justice had been done emerged.
From that moment, the media and the public have not stopped talking about jury trials even for a moment. The overwhelming power of the jury verdict in San Isidro had changed everything. Journalists, lawyers, and the public eagerly learned about the operation of the institution. Perplexed, even skeptics and critics who did not radically change their opinions, could not help but see the jury with different eyes.
Suddenly, the jury trial was in the center of the national debate about what to do with our broken justice system. The jurors met their baptism by fire and were up to the challenge. They’ve done it again. They made the grade and showed that our representatives in 1853 were not mistaken.
Below are some of the best quotes of the day:
“JURIES ACHIEVED WHAT JUDGES COULD NOT”
(TV Program “Animales Sueltos”)
“THE JURY SPOKE FOR THE ERA”
(Soledad Vallejos, Página 12)
"THE NEW JUSTICE: TRIAL BY JURY"
"THE NEW JUSTICE: TRIAL BY JURY"
“UNANIMOUS 12 TO 0 AGAINST FARRE”
“JUSTICE WAS DONE. JURORS SHOW THAT THEY ARE QUICK, EFFICIENT, AND HONEST IN THE CASES THEY MUST DECIDE”
(Jorge Sandro, Prosecutor)
“THE VERDICT BROUGHT RELIEF, AND MUCH PEACE AND JUSTICE”
(Sandra Schaeffer, victim’s sister)
The verdict is announced in open court:
- La Nación (07/06/17): Así se eligió al jurado que encontró culpable a Fernando Farré [Ver]
- La Nación (07/06/17): Un sistema que comenzó en Córdoba con positivas experiencias en tribunales [Ver]
- La Nación (07/06/17): Los ciudadanos pueden transmitir un sentido comunitario de justicia [Ver]
- Página 12 (07/06/17): Cuando el pueblo emite opinión del femicidio [Ver]
- Página 12 (07/06/17): Los jurados que hablaron por una época [Ver]
- El Día (07/06/17): Un jurado popular condenó a Farré a perpetua por femicidio [Ver]
- Crónica (07/06/17): Prisión perpetua para el femicida Fernando Farré [Ver]
- Infobae (06/06/17): Cómo estaba compuesto el jurado que condenó a Fernando Farré [Ver]