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Strange fruit of the poisonous tree

23 June 2010

“Fruit of the poisonous tree” is one of those great legal phases everybody learned from Law and Order:  meaning basically that evidence obtained by tainted means can’t be used to convict a person at trial.  However, it can be used to ridicule them.  Or, as election fodder.

In Puebla, apparently illegally obtained wiretaps of Governor Mario Marín Torres  have led to calls for him to step down from office. Marín is no stranger to the world of leaked wiretaps.  He was already famous as “gobernador precioso” from leaked conversations of his discussions with now incarcerated child prostitution ringleader Kamal Nacif Borges who congratulated Marín for illegally kidnapping journalist Lydia Cacho (who had exposed Nacif’s kiddy-porn and prostitution ring) .   Having creepy, rich friends and abusing power and attacking journalists may not be democratic, or even admirable, but the governor survived that particular scandal.  However,

The age of consent in Mexico is 18, and having weathered a scandal involving his ties to pedophiles,  which makes the tapes of torrid phone conversations from 1999 between Marín, then the 45 year old Presidente Municipal of Puebla and a 17-year old girl a particularly difficult problem.  He may get out of that, but it’s going to be a challenge to maintain his gravitas when “Jessica Z.” is heard cooing “You have a fat ass just like a baby.  It’s sooo cute! ” [ok, not a literal translation, but you get the point].   Not trafficking in such material doesn’t mean I don’t know where to find the leaked tapes.

Having a fat ass is a politician’s right (although we can make fun of it) and sex scandals don’t carry the same weight they do elsewhere, but other wiretapping scandals -may have a long term effect. Excelsior published transcripts of phone intercepts of Felix Herrera, the Governor of Veracruz, who is heard offering to use state funds and distribute poverty relief packages through PRI candidates in his state –which is, of course, as illegal as boinking a 17 year old (even if she does think you have a cute ass).  Probably more so.

Herrera has filed criminal complaints against rival political parties PAN and PRD, as well as Excelsior.  complaining about violation of personal privacy and abuse of state power (the wiretaps were supposedly done by CISEN, the Mexican intelligence agency).  I suppose that last statement should end with an exclamation point.. or two.

Of course, PRD and PAN are making the most of the accusations.  In a rush to the courthouse door, PAN is planning to file counter-charges against Herrera and PRI for abuse of authority and bribery.  Ganchoblog has more on the possible fallout for the 2012 Presidential elections.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. gmed permalink
    23 June 2010 2:18 pm

    Hey I just wanted to point out that the age of consent is not 18 in Mexico but varies depending on each state’s law. The lowest age of consent is 12 years old, although the age of “sexual freedom” is 18. It’s actually quite a complicated issue depending on if there was “trickery” involved, to get consensual sex with a minor. Here’s a link to wikipedia on it, but I think this would be an interesting topic for you to cover, and help us understand!

  2. 23 June 2010 4:05 pm

    I’ve seen that too, gmed — but it seems to be based on a misunderstanding of how the Roman (Napoleonic Code) legal system varies from the U.S.-British “common law” system. In Napoleonic Code, if a case does not fit the exact letter of the law,the judge’s ruling applies only to the specific case, where in “common law” it is precedent and applies to later cases.

    My understanding was the Mexican case that said sex with a 12 year old girl was legal involved an unusual situation (the girl was pregnant, and the father was barely 14) and the families of the two children were members of an indigenous commune, where “usos y costumbres” could be considered.

    And, of course, in Mexico, as in the U.S. federal law trumps state law.

  3. 10 January 2015 6:01 am

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