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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The mission of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego, is to support multidisciplinary research on Mexico, U.S.-Mexican relations, and Mexican-origin populations in North America. The Center also sponsors comparative studies with substantial Mexico components. Beyond serving the University of California, the Center pursues close collaboration with Mexican institutions. As the premier institution of its kind, the Center seeks broad dissemination of its findings in order to inform public and scholarly debates in both Mexico and the United States.

The Director of the Center is Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, who received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University and is an associate professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UCSD.

Cover page of An Evaluation of Process Rights Applying the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice and U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Study of Mexican Children

An Evaluation of Process Rights Applying the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice and U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Study of Mexican Children

(2006)

The aim of this study was to analyze and compare process rights of minors applying the Beijing Rules and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and Juvenile Justice Law for minors in the (Mexico- U.S.) border state of Sonora. In order to determine what due process rights were enforced during juvenile process, a study was undertaken of the minors subject to process in January 2001. In this study, a checklist was used to determine variables regarding: the type and severity of the crime committed by the juvenile; the number and type of acts charged by the prosecuting attorney; the number of hours that the juvenile was kept under arrest before (s)he was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Council; the process in the Council; the actions of the defense attorney in the tutelary process; the existence of legal, psychological, social, and family foundations determining the initial and final resolutions; and the resolution issued by the Council. Results of this study show that under the State Juvenile Law, minors are not accorded basic procedural safeguards. Secondly, they are not afforded the care or treatment provided for by the parens patriae principle during the process, sentencing, or placement. Investigating, processing, and sentencing minors for offenses committed are all the responsibility of one organ, and any appeal must be filed to this same organ.

Thus minors are denied the essential elements for a fair and just trial. In all the reviewed cases, a defense attorney was named in the initial transcripts, but signatures and promotions were nonexistent in most of the cases. This could mean that the right to counsel was formally satisfied but practically nonexistent. Upon initial contact with the prosecuting attorney, interviews were extracted from the minors without the presence of a parent or guardian. Minors are submitted to process for committing any antisocial behavior even when it is not punishable under the state or federal criminal code.

In brief, these results show that despite the signed agreement with the United Nations, minors’ rights in this Mexican state are not respected in accordance with the U. N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Beijing Rules.

Cover page of Neighborhood Organizations, Local Accountability and the Rule of Law in Two Mexican Municipalities

Neighborhood Organizations, Local Accountability and the Rule of Law in Two Mexican Municipalities

(2006)

This paper focuses on the role of neighborhood associations as the primary intermediaries between residents and municipal government. Drawing from fieldwork in two metropolitan municipalities of the State of México, it identifies the ways that residents interact with local government authorities as they express their concerns about public safety and policing, as well as their ideas and demands for responses to these issues. The research has important implications for all three aspects of the rule of law discussed in this volume. It touches on the ways that leaders of neighborhood associations perceive and respond to issues of public order within their jurisdictions; it considers the accountability of municipal officials to their constituents; and, by comparing conditions and patterns in two sharply contrasting localities (Huixquilucan and Nezahualcóyotl), it encompasses questions of access to justice on both individual and neighborhood bases. However, the paper concludes that the principal problem facing residents concerned about public security is not systematic discrimination based on socioeconomic status, but rather, the obstacles that typical neighborhood councils face in prompting municipal governments to take action.

Cover page of The Challenge of Transparency: A Review of the Regulations Governing Access to Public Information in Mexican States

The Challenge of Transparency: A Review of the Regulations Governing Access to Public Information in Mexican States

(2006)

This text provides a critical review of the way in which access to public information began to be more open in Mexican states, as a result of the first state legislation on the matter. It compares the various models and procedures adopted by the states in light of an original theoretical proposal. The article is divided into two parts. The first describes the theoretical assumptions supporting the three levels of analysis used to

compare state laws: one concerning the normative conditions for beginning the process of opening up public information, another referring to the organizational problems associated with this process and a third defining the jurisdictional sphere.

In the second part, ten criteria drawn from these three levels of analysis are used to undertake a critical comparison of the status of access to public information in the Mexican federal regime. The conclusion is that this process is still incipient,

incomplete and fragmented.

Cover page of When and Why “Law” and “Reality” Coincide? De Jure and De Facto Judicial Independence in Mexico, Argentina, and Chile

When and Why “Law” and “Reality” Coincide? De Jure and De Facto Judicial Independence in Mexico, Argentina, and Chile

(2006)

Our central question is: Under what circumstances can we expect a theoretically informed and reproducible measure of judicial independence de jure to be a good proxy for what we can expect to happen in reality? We argue that whether the de jure measure can be considered a good proxy for, to overestimate or to underestimate, judicial independence in reality depends on the distribution of power among the ruling political groups. Having identified those political conditions, and what Supreme Court judges can expect from them, we explore what is the likely behavior of these judges regarding decisions on cases where the government violates the rule of law or horizontal accountability. Having laid out our theoretical expectations in six different scenarios, we proceed to illustrate them using Mexico Argentina, and Chile.

Cover page of The role of regulatory improvement program in the strengthening of rule of law in Mexico

The role of regulatory improvement program in the strengthening of rule of law in Mexico

(2006)

This paper attempts to identify the role that regulatory improvement program play in the building of liberal democracy in Mexico. It argues that the use of regulatory improvement tools has strengthened the “rule of law” principle. The use of instruments such as Regulatory Impact Analysis or Public Consultation help to build an accountable government that informs and explains about their decisions. This article is divided into three main sections. The first part introduces the analytical framework to evaluate a liberal democracy. The second section explains how the regulatory reform program maintains and encourages the rule of law. Likewise, it analizes some of the mechanisms or instruments the Mexican government has envisioned to ensure the succes of the regulatory reform program. The final section evaluates this public policy from the Mexican experience.

Cover page of Rendición de cuentas y democratización. La revisión de las cuentas públicas municipales en el estado de Sonora

Rendición de cuentas y democratización. La revisión de las cuentas públicas municipales en el estado de Sonora

(2006)

This work has two main purposes: to analyze, from the point of view of information transparency and accessibility, the normative framework of how municipal authorities are held accountable in the state of Sonora and to briefly review and explore the assessments rendered over their accounts. Thus, the work revises March and Olsen’s neoinstitutionalist approach to accountability, then proposes a list of features for the information, the process and the social environment of public accounts, revises the normative framework of municipal accounts in the state of Sonora; describes the content of assessments of the year 2003; presents a sample of the observations and conclusions and reflects and comments on the observations, marks and sanctions made within the assessments. One of the main ideas of this work is that the democratization of the public accountability requires the development of a network of independent and interplaying public agencies, social groups and civic organizations who watch the authorities and holds them accountable.

Cover page of Cooperation and Conflict between Firms, Communities, New Social Movements and the Role of Government

Cooperation and Conflict between Firms, Communities, New Social Movements and the Role of Government

(2006)

Cerro de San Pedro is a semi-abandoned historic mining town located in the center of Mexico, the State of San Luis Potosi. Cerro de San Pedro is a small village 10 miles east of the City of San Luis Potosi, the Capital of the State of San Luis Potosi. Cerro de San Pedro is located in the mountains above the valley of San Luis Potosi and is part of the watershed area for the valley and its major cities. The valley is the source of 73% of the water for the area. It is a ghost town containing the ruins of shops, churches, estates and a hospital.

Cover page of La Justicia Electoral Mexicana y la Anulación de Comicios:

La Justicia Electoral Mexicana y la Anulación de Comicios:

(2006)

Este ensayo propone hacer un análisis de la justicia electoral de México en el periodo de octubre de 1996 a diciembre de 2005. El ensayo se divide en cuatro secciones. La primera es una revisión general de la reforma electoral de 1996. La segunda sección es un estudio cuantitativo de los 24 casos de anulación de comicios que ha decretado la justicia electoral mexicana en el periodo señalado. La tercera sección es un análisis de las consecuencias políticas en cuatro casos: dos gubernaturas estatales y dos distritos electorales federales de mayoría relativa. La cuarta sección es un balance general de las determinaciones para anular los comicios. La conclusión del estudio es que la justicia electoral de México ha declarado anulaciones por diversas causales y con distintas pruebas.

Cover page of Mobilizing Across Borders: The Case of the Laguna San Ignacio Saltworks Project

Mobilizing Across Borders: The Case of the Laguna San Ignacio Saltworks Project

(2006)

This analysis outlines a successful binational campaign to protect critical grey whale habitat by using the rule of law in Mexico to hold the state and its representatives accountable to their constituencies, and thus to stop an industrial saltworks project in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Beginning with a review of the facts of the dispute over an industrial saltworks development at Laguna San Ignacio; then tracing the role of binational cooperation in the Campaign itself; and highlighting the ten most important coordinated actions taken by the binational coalition; followed by analysis of the outcome in light of the cooperation. An afterward will discuss the rule of law in relationship to the land easements recently put in place to further protect the lagoon. The Laguna San Ignacio campaign is one of the best case studies of the challenges and successes of cross-border, cross-sectoral, and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Cover page of Non bis in idem: Mexican Regulation and International Standards

Non bis in idem: Mexican Regulation and International Standards

(2006)

One of the most heated debates over Mexico’s ratification of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court dealt with a violation of the non bis in idem principle. Whether one agrees with the jurisdiction of the ICC or not, what came to light with this disagreement is that the Mexican Constitution might be at odds with international human rights standards with regard to this Principle. Consequently, there is a need to make a comparative assessment between both bodies of law. While the obvious starting point is Article 23 of the Mexican Constitution, which states this principle, an extensive study cannot stop there but must include its judicial interpretation. Furthermore, only the precedents that seem to stretch the application of the principle will be considered, because it is through these borderline cases that we can establish the extent of the Principle (It should be noted that this approach is not common, since there is no system of precedents in Mexico; however, it is only through the judicial gloss that we can ascertain the extent of the Principle). Next I will examine (using the same method) International Human Rights Law, in particular the American Convention on Human Rights, because it is the only international instrument that includes a non bis in idem provision that applies to Mexico. Once the descriptive part of the paper is done, there will be enough material to make a full comparative analysis to determine whether Mexican regulation of non bis in idem fulfills international human rights standards and, in case this is answered in the negative, what is needed to comply.