For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: August 21, 2009

Baja California Investigators to Train in Idaho as Mexico Transforms Criminal Justice System

(Boise) – A group of 20 criminal investigators from the state of Baja California, Mexico, will begin a full week of training at the Idaho POST Academy on Monday, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and POST Director Jeff Black said today.

The training will prepare the criminal investigators for Mexico’s change to a judicial system similar to U.S. courts. Over a period of seven years, Mexico’s judicial system will move from closed, written proceedings to open criminal trials in which the oral adversarial system will be used. The changes are the result of a constitutional amendment approved last summer by all 31 states in Mexico and the federal district of Mexico City. Reforms include the presumption of innocence, confrontation of witnesses and speedy trial rights.

The investigator training in Idaho is part of the Alliance Partnership, a continuing project of the Conference of Western Attorneys General, the National Conference of Attorneys General of Mexico, the Counsel of State Governments and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Training is funded with $1.5 million from the USAID. State Attorneys General have previously conducted training for 39 Mexican prosecutors in Texas and Colorado.

“The training for Mexico’s prosecutors and investigators is an important element in the U.S. – Mexico State Alliance Partnership, which was initiated to improve cross border cooperation in law enforcement matters,” Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. “There are people in government in Mexico who are putting their lives on the line every day in order to establish justice. In working with my colleagues in Mexico, it has become apparent that there is a strong desire for transparency and predictability through reforms to their legal system. I am optimistic that these reforms will result in increased stability and cooperation among us all.”

During their time at POST, the investigators will be trained in a variety of law enforcement practices including, evidence gathering and preservation, crime scene investigation and mapping, report writing and court testimony.

“With Idaho having such a long standing positive relationship with the government and people of Mexico, it stands to reason for Idaho POST to work closely with the Mexican law enforcement community in assisting them in improving their skill sets in regard to criminal investigations and prosecution,” Idaho POST Director Jeff Black said. “The goal of both our countries is to keep our local communities safe. Mexican police officers have disproportionately made the ultimate sacrifice over the last few years as compared to American police officers. It’s an absolute honor to be able to participate in such a monumental change of the Mexican judicial system.”

Earlier this month, Attorney General Wasden hosted Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora of the Republic of Mexico and 21 state attorneys general from Mexico. The attorneys general visited a drug court in Boise, attended demonstrations at the Idaho POST Academy and participated in a full day of meetings with 16 U.S. state attorneys general in Sun Valley.

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