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Mexico experiments with openness in court

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  1. Court Access
From The Dallas Morning News: A Texas-bordering Mexican state where the drug trade subsists on public corruption, and murders this year have topped 700, is trying…

From The Dallas Morning News: A Texas-bordering Mexican state where the drug trade subsists on public corruption, and murders this year have topped 700, is trying a new approach to crime: Public trials, with the burden of proof now foisted onto the government.

U.S. funds to the tune of $3 million are backing the new program in Chihuahua state; a similar one is underway in Nuevo Leon, The Morning News reports. Prosecutors have to present their evidence against defendants in courtrooms outfitted with video cameras, The Morning News says. For centuries the Spanish Inquisition-rooted system of law has "favored written testimony and secrecy."

Organized crime is sure to test the fledgling program, The Morning News says. And it does have its skeptics — "The problem is not so much the reform," one forensics expert there told the newspaper, "but that the old, antiquated, political system remains in place." Nonetheless, it’s a step.