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Friday, August 23 2019 @ 10:18 pm EDT

Modification of Law 40 Approved in Second Debate

Law & LawyersOn Tuesday night, the full session of the National Assembly unanimously approved in second debate amendments to Law 40 regarding criminal responsibility for adolescents. This amendment says that minors who are being investigated for murder will remain in preventative detention for the duration of the investigation and judicial process. It is expected the amendment will be approved this Wednesday in the third and final debate, as part of special sessions which will culminate on June 4. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: This initiative is part of a package of reforms aimed at helping to curb the increasing violence in the country. There is no doubt that right now, many of the violent crimes in Panama, especially those related to gangs and drugs, is being perpetrated by minors - under 18 years of age. Before this change, prosecutors were practically compelled to let minors go free to their homes while the investigations continue. And, everyone in Panama knows that the really bad offenders go right back out on the streets to keep doing what they were doing before. This new law will allow the prosecutors and judges to keep the bad guys locked up, where they should be. The cops know exactly who the bad guys are in the rough neighborhoods, and until now their hands were somewhat tied. This move will, at the very least, make them keep their heads down somewhat. And, once they are caught, they will stay in prison until tried.

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