CORRUPTION IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IN COLONIAL MEXICO

A SPECIAL CASE

TORRES AGUILAR, MANUEL

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Editorial:
DYKINSON
Año de edición:
2015
ISBN:
978-84-9085-507-2
Páginas:
174
Encuadernación:
Rústica - Pasta blanda

Disponibilidad:

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A. THE TRIAL OF AN ALCALDE MAYOR IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM OF THE SPANISH INDIES: GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

B. SHORTCOMINGS AND DEFECTS OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IN THE INDIES

a) The general shortcomings of the judicial system in the Indies and in the peninsula

b) The meagre salaries of officials of justice and abuses in proceedings

c) Procedural arbitrariness of the alcalde mayor: fines and false accusations

d) Abuses in the use of prison: the punitive nature of the torture

C. THE MEASURES OF PROTECTION FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

a) The protective judicial bodies

b) The Audiencia and the lower officials

D. INDIGENOUS LITIGIOUSNESS

E. THE INTERVENTION OF THE AUDIENCIA

a) The adoption of the first precautionary measures

b) First arrest, first procedural measures

F. THE CHALLENGE AS A MEANS OF DELAYING TRIAL

G. THE FAILURE TO OBSERVE THE PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES

H. OTHER STALLING TACTICS

I. A DISLOYAL SUBORDINATE

J. THE ACCEPTANCE OF A INCONSISTENT CHALLENGE AND OTHER DELAYING TACTICS

a) The demand for justification of the challenge. The reaction of the accused

b) The apparent urgency of the accused to proceed with the trial. Concerns over the competence of the witnesses of both parties

K. “TURNING THE COURT OF JUSTICE INTO A THEATRE OF INIQUITY”

L. THE ALCALDE MAYOR’S INTERROGATION PERIOD

a) The beginning of an extensive interrogation. The confidence and self-conviction of the accused

b) The account of each accusation: replies, evasions and justification for his behaviour

c) A bad example to his subordinates. Widespread corruption as a justification for his insatiable thirst for personal profit

d) Having a duty to proceed with impartiality in all matters...

e) Physical and verbal mistreatment. Response and dilatory arguments

f) The meagre salaries of officials and procedural extortion

g) The use of cruel measures of constraint on prisoners: his “penchant” for the stocks

h) “The Indians of Xochimilco are devious and wicked”

i) The alcalde mayor and the widespread corruption of the system. Attempts to justify his conduct

j) Four hundred and forty-seven victims, at least

k) “Prison was not invented for punishment but for the custody of prisoners.”

l) Imposing compulsory duties on natives

m) Irregularities in the collection of taxes

n) Imposition of other arbitrary financial sanctions

o) The defence’s justification for the lack of proceedings

p) “Cheap” lawsuits: the accusatory process as a weapon against officials

M. THE TRIAL’S FINAL STAGE; NEW PROCEDURAL TACTICS. THE DEFENDANT’S ALLEGED RESTITUTION TO HIS POSITION

a) Request for bail

b) Eight days’ concession: several months of absence

c) The dispute over the existence of a royal decree from the new Viceroy restoring the defendant to his position

d) Issues relating to the presentation of the Royal Decree

N. THE DEFENDANT’S DEATH AND HIS CIVIL RESPONSIBILITY. AN UNCONCLUDED TRIAL

LEGISLATION AND ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS

GLOSSARY OF SPANISH TERMS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

This book examines a criminal proceeding in the second half of the eighteenth century processed in the Royal Audiencia of Mexico, by the residents of a nearby location of Mexico, against the Mayor. The set of allegations is so serious, and such abuses are committed against the inhabitants that the suspension of the exercise of his office was determined to educate the whole cause. However, the highlight of the process is the handling of all procedural ways for delaying the procedure conducted by him. It allows us knowing the current procedural law and the operations that made some judges, lawyers, prosecutors, officials, etc., sometimes for their own benefit and to the distinct detriment of their trade and the role they were entrusted. In most of the alleged crimes against him, the spirit of unjust enrichment is involved, which raises once again the question of the use that some bailiffs from their office made to get their wages supplements to justify the investment involved in the purchase of the trade. In any case, the severity and variety of such crimes committed by the Mayor, offer an illustrative example of a wrongdoing which deserved a greater hardness on the performance of the Royal Audiencia. The reader will go through every step of the process feeling the fact from the coldness of a document drafted with an exquisite precision.

Manuel Torres Aguilar (1963), is Tenured Professor of Law History and Institutions of the University of Cordoba (Spain), where he teaches the subjects of Law History and Conflict: past and present and its resolution techniques. He is Director of the UNESCO Chair in Conflict Resolution at this University. In 1993 he was given an Extraordinary Doctorate Award. He has developed research stays at the Institüt für österreichische und deutsche rechtsgeschichte of University of Vienna together with Professor Werner Ogris; at the Istituto di Storia del Ditritto of the University of Catania under the leardership of Professor Manlio Bellomo; and at the Istituto di Storia del Diritto of the University of Perugia under the leadership of Professor Alessandro Giuliani. He was guest lecturer in the Department of World Studies of Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond VA). He is Permanent member of Institute of History of Indiano Law and Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti de Messina (Italy) and Corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation. His main research topics are history of criminal law, history of the Inquisition, history of public administration and, currently, history of conflicts and culture of peace. He has published four monogrpahs, over fifty articles. He was Substitute Judge and Vice-rector of University of Cordoba and International University of Andalusia. He is Secretary of the YearBook of History of Law of the Ministry of Justice.

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