Court officials seek special system for handling organized crime cases

The judiciary is presenting a proposed law to give special treatment to organized crime cases. Among other changes, four judges will hear each case instead of the normal three. The extra judge will provide continuity in case one cannot continue, court officials said.

The president of the  Corte Suprema de Justicia, Zarela Villanueva Monge, also said that judicial employees soon would be evaluated and graded. The categories are much like a report card.

The court president outlined the proposals in a session Wednesday. She was accompanied by President Luis Guillermo Solís.

Also there were  Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, president of the Asamblea Legislative, and  Luis Antonio Sobrado González,  president of the Tribunal Supremo de Elección.

The first proposal creates special rules for cases related to organized crime and drug trafficking. Investigators will have more time and have more legal tools, said the court without amplifying the concept. There also will be wiretap and special rules for reviewing personal bank accounts, the court summary said. There also was a reference to protecting judicial employees.

The second legislative proposal sets up an evaluation system ranging from a grade of less than 70 percent to more than 95 percent for judicial employees.

Not immediately clear was why the courts would need new laws to make these changes which would seem to be related to internal policies. Procedures for wiretapping and access to bank information already exist for criminal investigations.

The court president had ordered an investigation of the infiltration of drug cartels into the Poder Judicial. A report on the findings have not been released.judicial062515

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