A BLOG from our #ABKLaw Partner John S. Esposito, Esq.
Joaquin Guzman (El Chapo) was convicted of all counts on Tuesday after a three month trial that exposed the inner workings of one of the world’s most notorious drug cartels. The kingpin, who attained folk hero status in parts of Mexico, now awaits sentencing where he is almost certain to receive life sentences.
While the guilty verdict was expected what surprised many was the length of the jury deliberations. Given El Chapo’s notoriety, and the reported mountains of evidence, both casual as well as legal observers anticipated a quick verdict, perhaps even within a day. Nobody expected the jury to deliberate almost a week.
The participants in the process, including the prosecutors, defense team, Judge and most certainly the jury, deserve high praise for jobs well done. Our criminal justice system was also on trial and regardless of “winners or losers” the trial seemed to be a shining example of why our system is the best there is.
Kudos to a defense team that fought long and hard despite a daunting task. To prosecutors who did their jobs without fear or fanfare. To the Judge who insured a fair trial as well as one that moved expeditiously without unnecessary delay. Mostly, to a system that works best when average citizens are willing to put their lives on hold, serve as jurors, and make the time and effort to conscientiously deliberate. Some asked “what’s taking the jury so long?” The answer may be as simple as they knew the seriousness of their job and made sure to get it right. They could have walked out in a day with the same result and it is likely no one would have blinked an eye.
El Chapo will undoubtedly appeal but the percentage of successful appeals in federal criminal trials does not bode well for his chances of success.
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