Oral trials begin in the city
Although the new oral trial system officially went into effect in Guanajuato on September 1, 2011, in San Miguel de Allende such trials were not being held for lack of trained personnel and facilities. On February 24 of this year, Judge Miguel Valadés Reyes, president of the Guanajuato Supreme People’s Court, announced that on March 1 the first oral trials—for now, only family-related cases—would be possible in San Miguel de Allende. In these kinds of trials, he remarked, “in less than two hours the conflicting parties will have a legal resolution.”
Valadés said one must consider that each case involves a long process before it is presented in the oral courtroom facilities, because sometimes there are previous agreements between the involved parties. The whole process must not last more than 40 days.
For Atención Valadés commented that because San Miguel is a city with a considerable number of English-speaking people, the oral trials could be bilingual if the involved parties provide the interpreters. He noted that if there is a child involved in the legal case, the state will provide all the needed services.
The oral trial system started in the most populated cities of the state, such as León, Celaya, Salamanca, Irapuato and Guanajuato, and this system of hearing family cases has had good results, said the president. Since 2011 more than 10,000 lawsuits have been resolved, not counting those settled out of court. In 2016 all trials, regardless of type, must be oral in the entire state.
The courtrooms constructed in San Miguel have high-quality technology, video recording systems and closed-circuit television, besides the equipment to record all the information generated by the trials.
To show the press how this kind of trial works, the Procuraduría General de Justicia held a reenactment of an oral trial. In the case, a father was seeking custody of his 10-year-old daughter, who was mistreated by her mother. There were several phases of the oral process because the mother did not want to reach an agreement and then she asked for an amparo. In the end, after the involved parties presented witnesses and proof, the judge, Daniel Aguilera, issued a verdict: The mother would see her daughter once a week, under supervision, and the judge also recommended psychological therapy for the parents and the girl.