50-year maximum prison term retained

At least three magistrates would cut the maximum penalty for murder and other crimes from 50 to 30 years.

They are Fernando Cruz Castro, Nancy Hernández López and Anamari Garro Vargas, but this opinion did not prevail when the Sala IV constitutional court reaffirmed the 50-year maximum penalty.

The three the only magistrates to vote to make the penalty unconstitutional.

The Poder Judicial noted that an international treaty mandates a 30-year sentence except for what were called exceptional cases, like genocide.

The 50-year term is not just for murder. A criminal who is convicted of a multitude of crimes cannot be sentenced in total to more than 50 years.

However, none actually serves that much. Prisoners usually serve about half their term. They also accumulate two days for each day served in preventative detention. That may be for as long as two years.

And hardly any person convicted of a willful murder gets the maximum in the first place. One recent conviction resulted in an eight-year term.

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