A BAD NEIGHBOR TO THE SOUTH
Local readers may already know all about the escape hatch provided to criminals by the Mexican Government. International readers on the other hand, (we seem to be popular overseas) are probably not aware that Mexico has dug in its heels and refuses to extradite US fugitives wanted on a variety crimes, including murder.
At one time, Mexico refused to extradite fugitives who were facing a possible death sentence in US courts. Mexico has no death penalty and it believes the US shouldn't have one either. But then, Mexican politicians went one step further and refused to extradite fugitives who were looking at a possible life sentence in the US. Apparently, Mexico doesn't believe in life without parole (LWOP) either.
As a result, Mexico is now home to some 3,000 wanted US fugitives. Despite political efforts at the national level, Mexico isn't giving them up. Los Angeles County District Attorney, Steve Cooley, decided to put some grass roots pressure on Vicente Fox and the dubious Mexican criminal justices system by launching a website -- www.escapingjustice.com. It covers a number of the more celebrated and heinous cases.
Mexico is neither a model of prisoner rights or of proactive, corruption-free law enforcement. Local and regional Mexican cops, despite some straight-up heroes, can be bought. The heroic cops are usually either killed or driven out of the force. And a few media heroes who took a shot at corruption in print were assassinated.
The average Mexican citizen, caught between official corruption and rampant crime, has frankly had enough. Earlier this year, over 100,000 citizens marched in Mexico City demanding better police protection and aggressive prosecution of murderers and kidnappers. Buying off judges and prosecutors is commonplace. It's the elephant in the living room that nobody wants to acknowledge.
Check out the escapingjustice.com website and you'll get a sense of the scope of the situation as well as the personal stories of the survivors.