The case that rocked Dominican Republic Justice
Santo Domingo.- Therelease of dangerous felons on meager bonds and the numerous acquittals inmajor corruption cases stunned Dominican Republic´s Judiciary this year, reachinga flashpoint with the first-ever incarceration of a sitting judge, AwildaReyes, and former judge Francisco Arias.
The expanding scandal withfive other judges suspended thus far, three of them prosecuted in disciplinarytrials, makes 2015 the tumultuous year for the judicial system, and includes thefiring of several prosecutors and has questioned even the actions of SupremeCourt chief justice Mariano German.
The disciplined andindicted judges have been accused of taking bribes to hand down rulings favoringfelons, drawing scathing rebuke from society.
Justice minister FranciscoDominguez uncovered the latest scandal in November; a structure allegedlyheaded by Arias which manipulated court proceedings and set low bonds, mainly fordrug traffickers, money launderers and people linked to organized crime.
As a result the JudicialCouncil suspended without pay and ordered a disciplinary trial against the judgesJose Dionisio Mejia, Rosó Vallejo Espinosa and Victor Mejia Lebron. It also orderedthe suspension of judges Awilda Reyes and Delio Germán.
But it was Reyes´ case thatrocked the judicial system, as she allegedly admitted to the chief justice oftaking a bribe money to release Pedro Brand city councilman Erickson Saints(Ney), now being held on charges of kidnapping and the murder of severaldrivers from rival transport unions.
Reyes also facescharges of setting a low bond to release of the main suspect in the confiscationof 40.12 kilos of cocaine, and of having ordered the return a plane to thefugitive president of the bankrupt Peravia bank, José Luis Santoro, and US$20million to Prado Universal Corp., linked to the Torre Atiemar scandal of theSpanish drug trafficker Arturo del Tiempo.