Judges fail to decide on stalled hearings

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IN THE FACE of growing public concern and a call from the country’s Attorney General, Kenia Porcell, the judges of Panama’s Supreme Court seem unable to speed up the wheels of justice.

 Meeting in extraordinary session Friday, failed to reach an agreement on habeas corpus petitions filed by defendants in the Odebrecht case being investigated by the Special Anti­-Corruption Office.

 Many see the petitions as delaying moves by defense attorneys to keep their high profile clients from facing justice something denied by the well paid lawyers representing the likes of ex-president Ricardo Matrinelli, and former Vice president Felipe Virzi, both  facing multiple charges.

After complaints from Porcell that corruption investigations have been stymied by the tardiness of judges those who could spare the time    finally met at 10.30 a.m. on Friday, June 2, but with the weekend looming the  discussion ended at 1 pm, and the magistrates who receive $10,000 a month for their labors decided to resume the discussion Monday.

At the meeting  were judges Hernán De León (who presided), Harry Diaz, Oydén Orega Durán, Jerónimo Mejía, Efrén Tello (Substitute for Ángela Russo), Secundino Mendieta (alternate for Luis Ramón Fábrega), Asunción Alonso (substitute for José Ayú Prado the court’s president and most traveled judge)  ) and Wilfredo Sáenz (substitute for Abel Zamorano). Cecilio Cedalise did not attend and did not send his substitute.

Urgency does not appear to be in the lexicon of the supreme aministrators of justice.

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