September 2013

CWAG Brings Mexican Prosecutors to the

3rd North American & Caribbean

Regional Conference

From left to right: Alfonso Del Valle, US Embassy, Mexico; Abel Galvan Gallardo, Baja California AGO; Miguel Angel Corral Ríos, Sonora AGO; Selene Lopez Najera, CWAG; Frank Collins, CWAG; David Siqueiros Nieblas, Sonora AGO; Miguel Angel Barbosa Ramos, San Luis Potosi AGO; Edgar Chaparro Benzor, Chihuahua AGO; Gloria Guadalupe Galvan Roman, Durango AGO; Patricia Soto Aguilar, San Luis Potosi AGO.

In August, the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) and National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute (NAGTRI) hosted the 3rd North American & Caribbean Regional Conference with the theme "Current Challenges and Strategies in the Fight against Transnational Crime."


The 150 conference participants included prosecutors and other law enforcement officials from various countries in North America. CWAG brought 14 participants and 3 panelists to the conference. Abel Galvan Gallardo, the Organized Crime Section Chief of the Office of the Attorney General in Baja California, participated in the panels on Weapons and Drug Trafficking, and Developing Investigations into Organized Crime.


Anthony Da Silva, Deputy Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the California Attorney General's Office, gave a presentation on the basics of money laundering investigations, and participated in the Using Money Laundering Investigations to Disrupt Organized Crime Networks panel.


Silverio Sandate, a private attorney working as an associate with the firm of Von Wobeser y Sierra in Mexico City, participated in the Intellectual Property Theft panel. Mr. Sandate shared detailed information about the incidence and effects of IP theft in Mexico.


The program was a valuable opportunity to bring international prosecutors together to get a feel for their differing perspectives on transnational crime and the other topics, in addition to the ability to network with colleagues from around the region.


IAP General Counsel Elizabeth Howe expressed her invitation for greater participation in the organization by prosecutors throughout Mexico, and noted that much information is available on their website, at

International Collaboration on

Combatting Cybercrime

Twenty-one government attorneys from 16 countries participated in the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute's (NAGTRI's) third International Fellows Program on June 1-9. The attorneys met at the National Association of Attorneys General headquarters in Washington D.C. to learn about and discuss strategies for combating cybercrime, which claims 1.5 million victims daily and costs $110 billion each year worldwide.


CWAG sponsored the participation of Sergio Castro Guevara, Prosecutor from the Chihuahua Attorney General's Office, specialized in attention to victims, and special advisor on crimes of violence against women in Cd. Juarez and Chihuahua, in the 2013 Program.


The purpose of the NAGTRI International Fellows Program is to provide a forum for elite assistant attorneys general and other government attorneys from around the world to learn from each other, explore common issues together, and establish an international network to the mutual benefit of

their respective offices.


The 2013 class explored, from the perspective of each Fellow, strategies for battling cybercrime. The class discussed and analyzed together the issues involving cybercrime. Fellows composed brief articles dealing with the year's theme. The Fellows also participated in a panel at New York University Law School where their articles were presented. Fellows were given the opportunity to meet with officials from the federal law enforcement, including United States Attorney General Eric Holder, and judicial community in Washington, DC, as well as state law enforcement officials from the area.


Fellows participating in the program were Louise Manukian from Armenia, Glenn Kolomeitz from Australia, Ermin Imamovic from Bosnia, Didi-Nuraza Latiff from Brunei, Snejana Maleeva from Bulgaria, Michael Segu from Canada, Christal Chan from China, Haim Wismonsky from Israel, Sergio Castro Guevara from Mexico, Maartje Nieuwenhuis from the Netherlands, George-Maria Tyendezwa from Nigeria, Patricia Agostinho from Portugal, Jayantha Jayasuriya from Sri Lanka, Hou-hsein Chung from Taiwan, Gary Balch from the United Kingdom, Robert Shapiro from Colorado, Andrew Kobe from Indiana, Stephen Ruckman from Maryland, Tom Ralph from Massachusetts, Olga Vysotskaya from North Carolina and James Lee from Rhode Island.
  NAGTRI 2013 Fellows

The Good Judge 

By Frank Collins, CWAG Alliance Partnership Legal Advisor 


What makes a judge "good"? A judge obviously plays a pivotal role in any criminal justice system. This is no less true with Mexico's transition to oral trials. But what makes a good judge? To understand this, we must first understand what the Mexican judge does in the new oral trial system.


Mexico's new system bears many similarities to that of the United States. Nevertheless, one major difference is the absence of juries. In Mexico, criminal cases are decided by a panel of three judges. Furthermore, the panel of judges need not be unanimous to convict, a majority is sufficient.


In the U.S., juries play the role of the fact-finder, while judges play the role of the referee. In Mexico, the panel of judges does both. This, of course, is not that alien to the U.S. system. In many misdemeanor cases or cases where the prosecution and defense agree not to try a case to a jury, a single judge can play both roles as well.


The next step in understanding what constitutes a good judge, is understanding the goal of the criminal justice system itself.


Several years ago I was prosecuting a murder case. The trial had dragged on for nearly three months and we were in the heat of the Arizona summer. We were all tired, including the jury. But as with any trial reaching its culmination, you have wired energy that overrides any fatigue.


I was finishing my first closing argument (in the U.S., the prosecution gets a first closing, then the defense, then the prosecution gets the last closing). In the end, I raised my voice and pointed at the defendant telling the jury that it was finally time, time to bring this man to justice.


The defense attorney began his closing. This defense theme was that we are here to follow the law, not to do justice. Justice, he said, was for God.


My teeth clenched. I was indignant. When the defense attorney finished, I rose again for my final closing argument and made sure the jury knew their duty was to do justice. My final words to them were: "Do justice. Do it through the law. But do justice." The defendant was convicted.


Was I right? Are we here for justice or simply to follow rules and laws? In truth, it's a trick question. The goal is justice. The way you reach justice is through the law. Should one doubt whether this truism applies in Mexico, the proposed Code of Criminal Procedure lays it out for all to see:


"Article 16. The Code should be interpreted in a manner that brings about justice, clarifies facts, protects the innocent, ensures the guilty do not go unpunished and that harms caused by the crime are repaired." ("El Código debe ser interpretado de manera que propicie se haga justicia, se esclarezcan los hechos, se proteja al inocente, se procure que el culpable no quede impune y que los daños causados por el delito se reparen.")


A good judge wants these things. A good judge wants to convict the guilty and protect the innocent. He strives to heal harms.


A good judge wants to admit evidence. This evidence must certainly be relevant and legally obtained, but the judge should want the opportunity to weigh it. Excluding evidence from consideration narrows the judge's ability to reach a just verdict. The judge may determine that the evidence is not persuasive, but he wants to make that determination himself. Only when a party convinces him that evidence must be excluded should he do so.


A good judge knows the law, but he also knows the law is a pathway to justice. Justice is the goal. The guiding light of justice should steer a judge's every word and action. A good judge does justice. He does it through the law, but he does justice.



Visit the CWAG Alliance Partnership Website

User ID: Alliance Password: AP2009
CWAG Alliance Partnership Programs

The CWAG Alliance Partnership facilitates collaboration between U.S. and Mexican state Attorneys General's Offices. Available services include:

  • Contacts Database
    • Comprehensive, sortable contact information for people involved with AP trainings, meetings and events
  • Quick-Response Contact Information
    • Direct contacts within the U.S. and Mexican AGO's for help on specific cases
  • Case Consulting
    • Help preparing a case for oral trial, from investigation to arguments, by an experienced U.S. criminal prosecutor
  • Office Reviews/Efficiency Audits
    • A team of experts observes and advises on processes and procedures, to help address a specific issue or give a general perspective
  • Best Practices Consulting
    • Experienced professionals share hard-earned knowledge about relevant matters
Issue: 2013-4
In This Issue
International Association of Prosecutors
Cyberime Collaboration
The Good Judge
Visit CWAG on the Web
CWAG AP Programs
Call for Arson Investigation Instructors
Call for Arson Investigation Instructors  




The International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) is a worldwide organization dedicated to knowledge, training, and professionalism of everyone who is responsible for determining the causes of accidental fires caused. The association of 7500 members include researchers from police and fire departments, as well as attorneys, experts, scientists, engineers, and staff of insurance companies. The association has 75 chapters, of which two are in Mexico.



The partnership brings together people involved in fire investigation to follow common goals, and developing training in Spanish to support its mission to provide the best training on scientific principles and research standards of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that are accepted in the United States and many other countries. For more information about NFPA please visit their website in Spanish or English


The IAAI is launching a campaign for prosecutors and experts interested in participating or carry out presentations and / or training in Mexico or other Spanish speaking countries, as stakeholders in exchanges with others in this profession. For more information please contact George Codding to or Ricardo Torres Both are members of the board of directors of the IAAI and can correspond with you in Spanish or English. For more information please visit their website  







For all information and requests, contact:


Alejandra Caraveo

AP Program Liaison

Cell: 303.304.9206




Frank Collins

AP Legal Advisor

Cell: 602.505.2927

Ágora Magazine is published by the US Northern Command, the Department of Defense's unified homeland security command. Their area of operations includes all of North America, and as part of their outreach, they publish the magazine in English and Spanish to highlight topics of interest to Mexican government and law enforcement.


You can subscribe at no cost on their website:

This material was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.
INL-Mexico Logo

State Alliance Partnership


Council of State Governments


Border Legislative Conference


Border Governors' Conference


Southwest Border Anti-Money Laundering Alliance


National Association of Attorneys General


United States Agency for International Development


US State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement


North American Center for Transborder Studies at ASU


Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


Trans-Border Institute at University of San Diego

Join Our Mailing List

The CWAG Alliance Partnership promotes the Rule of Law in Mexico, offering a forum for strengthening relationships between U.S. and Mexican State Attorneys General, and providing oral advocacy training in support of Mexico's constitutionally mandated criminal justice system reforms. 

Karen White, Executive Director

Conference of Western Attorneys General Alliance Partnership