Estado de Justicia report is heavy on history and replete with old data

The report on the state of Costa Rican justice reads more like a history text and does not address current problems.

The Estado de Nación report, released Tuesday, came to the obvious conclusion that the Poder Judicial is a political actor and that it has influenced health care by accepting and ruling on appeals by citizens.

The emphasis for much of the report was the safeguarding of rights of those involved in the criminal process.

The report concluded that in about a third of the cases, the rights were in jeopardy.

The report was replete with academic style citations, and the section on criminal justice, that which probably is of most interest to expats, used old data.

The statistics reflected cases in 2000 and from 2007 to 2009. Still the authors said of 1,550 criminal cases 33.4 percent were rejected by the prosecutors and 31.9 percent were just filed away.  Of these, 15.2 percent went to trial, and just 8.7 percent resulted in a conviction.

Just 1.3 percent were handled in an alternative way, such as conciliation, it said.

Researchers concluded that the more serious crimes, such as murder, have a higher probability of going to trial.

The report also said that the chances of a dismissal were higher when the suspect is a woman.

The research was hampered because a lot of the data was on paper, said the report.

Criminal cases were highlighted in just one chapter. Another chapter treated labor cases, and one even reported on a detailed content analysis of newspaper reporting on the judicial branch. It found most of the reporting in four major newspapers to be accurate.

The report said that the Poder Judicial has many mechanisms to influence political decisions. Among these is the process whereby the court can rule on the constitutionality of a pending bill.

The report also traced the development of the court from 1905 and some waves of reform that brought changes. One chapter emphasizes the 20 years from 1992 and the various laws that made changes in the judicial system. However, the report noted that there was little evaluation of the effects and impact of these reforms.

The report noted that the Sala IV constitutional court resolved 4,386 appeals based on health between 2006 and 2013. About a third were from persons who sought some type of medication and had been denied it by the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social. Some 58 percent of these were upheld by the court.

The most historic and the first of these decisions was the one in 1997 when the court held that a patient should be given antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV, the report noted.

The report is available on the Programa Estado de Nación Web site.

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.