San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Court suspends judge that sentenced alleged drug traffickers to house arrest

Judge Kattia Jiménez was suspended Monday by the Plenary Chamber of the Supreme Court for having given two Mexican prisoners, suspected of drug trafficking, house arrest sentences.

Ten out of 19 magistrates ruled in favor of the suspension for the judge, who worked in the San José suburb of Pavas, after a detailed report from Carlos Chinchilla, a Supreme Court magistrate. Originally, Chinchilla suggested that Jiménez be removed permanently from her position, but the full court opted for a temporary suspension.

In May, residents from San Martín village in Moravia, in northern San José, demonstrated in the streets against the possibility that the two alleged drug traffickers would be placed on house arrest in their neighborhood. Another community, Las Orquídeas, in northern San José, also protested for the same reason.

The suspects were arrested while trying to cross the Nicaraguan border October 2010 in a small plane that crashed with 177 kilograms of cocaine hidden in its wings. One of the two pilots died, while the other remains hospitalized.

The investigation against Jiménez was opened by the Judicial Investigation Police when she decided to grant the two Mexicans house arrest. The magistrates agreed that this decision lacked a “clear and precise” basis.  

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