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Stopped since 2020, trial of former magistrate accused of abuse of authority

Gustavo Castillo Garcia

Newspaper La Jornada
Saturday January 21, 2023, p. 4

For more than two years, the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office to Combat Corruption (FECC) has tried to prosecute former magistrate José Ángel Mattar Oliva as allegedly responsible for the crimes of abuse of authority and degrading treatment, but the hearing has not even been held initial hearing because five judges who have heard the case have excused themselves.

Officials of the Federal Judiciary (PJF) revealed that among the arguments that the judges have used for not holding the initial hearing and charging the former magistrate are issues of friendship, having been his student or having esteem for him.

On March 1, 2019, it was published in the Official Journal of the Federation the installation of the FECC, and on May 14 of that year, based on a complaint filed by the Federal Judicial Council (CJF) against it, the investigation file FED/FECC/FECC-CDMX/0000001 was initiated. /2019. It was the first file of that body of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR).

On August 8, 2020, the FECC, headed by María de la Luz Mijangos Borja, requested the initial hearing to file charges against former magistrate Oliva Mattar. The prosecution of the file was carried out before the Federal Criminal Justice Center based in Cancun, Quintana Roo; however, the proceeding has been deferred or suspended five times.

The magistrate is remembered in the judicial field because in July 2006 he opened the door for a former president to be tried for the first time in the country’s history, estimating that there were sufficient elements to accuse Luis Echeverría Álvarez of genocide and issue an order of arrest against him.

Mattar Oliva considered Echeverría one of those responsible for setting up a plan to partially destroy the national opposition group to the government called the National Strike Council, made up of students and sympathizers of the 1968 student movement.

His story changed when in 2019, the CJF initiated an ex officio disciplinary procedure, and through resolution number 19/2019-III he was sanctioned in accordance with the provisions regarding administrative responsibilities, patrimonial situation, control and accountability. Even the former magistrate sought that the plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation revoke the sanction.

Information from the CJF indicates that a complaint was filed against Mattar Oliva. The case was prosecuted and the initial hearing was set for September 24, 2020. However, according to jurisdictional sources, one day before the proceeding, the judge in charge of the matter excused himself to hear the proceedings.

The initial hearing was postponed until October 7, 2021. That day the proceeding began, but Mattar Oliva’s defense attorney said that because his client had injected himself with morphine to alleviate his condition (which is not specified in the proceedings) , could not speak and the judge deferred it for November 4 of that year.

However, on October 29, 2021, Mattar Oliva’s defense requested the recusal of the newly assigned judge. The judge appointed to conduct the proceedings declared himself excused. The case went until March 8, 2022, but was deferred to April 1. Despite this, on March 25, Mattar Oliva requested the recusal of Judge Jesús Alejandro Ávila Gutiérrez. The hearing was again suspended by the judge’s dispensation.

On May 30, 2022, the PJF issued an agreement for the hearing to be held on June 27, and two days before it was to take place, a new recusal appeal was filed.

To date, no agreement has been issued for the FGR to impute the crimes of abuse of authority and degrading treatment to former magistrate Mattar Oliva. There is also no record of complaints against judges who have excused themselves or the possible commission of crimes against the administration of justice for not expediting the procedure.

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