Examining Mexico’s Constitutional Reform on Criminal Justice and Security

Analyzing its impact on the corruptibility of the country’s judiciary structures

The majority of the Criminal Justice Reform was implemented during Enrique Peña Nieto’s time in office (from the San Diego Tribune ®).

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Mexico’s Constitutional Reform on Criminal Justice and Security[1] was published on June 18th, 2008. States were required to fully implement the Judicial Reform prior to June 18th, 2016. Timeliness in the adoption of the Judicial Reform has varied extensively across states, regardless of the fact that the Federal Government imposed multiple ‘soft deadlines’ for its implementation.

The Judicial Reform sought to transform Mexico’s justice sector in a comprehensive fashion, by updating ten fundamental judicial articles found in the Constitution. Seven of the articles relate to criminal justice; the most thorough — and publicized — alteration involved the substitution of the former written inquisitorial model of justice with an oral adversarial system. Said modification would theoretically reduce the discretion of political and judicial figures, by increasing the openness of the justice sector.

The Judicial Reform would supposedly encourage greater transparency, increase the efficiency of the judicial system, and ultimately lead to lesser corruption within the justice sector. Although the Judicial Reform led to improvements in several corruption indicators, its effect has not been widespread. Given the high costs associated with the Judicial Reform, one is forced to question whether its implementation has actually been overwhelmingly successful.

The Judicial Reform has arguably reduced corruption within certain judicial institutions. The extent of a state’s implementation of the Judicial Reform had a positive, statistically significant impact on the percentage decrease in the perceived corruption of its judges and various judicial agencies (i.e. State Procuratorate and Public Ministries).

Nonetheless, the positive impact of the Judicial Reform has not been translated to other arenas. The Judicial Reform failed to improve the public’s perception of whether corruption was being effectively combatted by state governments. Moreover, there appear to be no significant relationships between the extent of a state’s implementation of the Judicial Reform and the amount of anticorruption audits and sanctions executed in said federal entity.

There appear to be multiple factors that influenced the extent of a state’s adoption of the Judicial Reform. Particularly, the exact date a state first sought to phase in the Judicial Reform appeared to be important for its implementation progress as of 2014. Similarly, the amount of federal funding a state received for the adoption of the Judicial Reform played a significant role. Other measures concerning states’ human and infrastructural resources failed to register statistically significant relationships.

I. INTRODUCTION: EXPLORING MEXICO’S JUDICIAL REFORM

1. This paper evaluates Mexico’s Constitutional Reform on Criminal Justice and Security.[2] The Judicial Reform — which was promulgated on June 18th of 2008 — will theoretically be adopted in its entirety by all states prior to June 18th of this year. Consisting of transformative legislative revisions and far-reaching constitutional amendments, the Judicial Reform can be collapsed into four principal elements: 1) the introduction of an oral adversarial judicial system, in addition to alternative sentencing and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms; 2) the imposition of a greater respect for judicial procedures;[3] 3) the increased auditing of police agencies, coupled with modifications to their current modus operandi; and 4) the refinement of measures utilized to combat organized crime (Shirk, 2011).

2. Mexico’s Judicial Reform was spurred by the growing challenges faced by the country’s criminal justice sector over the past decade. An incessant wave of violence and organized crime activity has plagued Mexico over the past ten years (Heinle, Molzahn and Shirk, 2015). The endemic corruptibility of the justice sector has hindered efforts to curb delinquency (Shirk, 2011); for instance, an average of solely 20% of homicides successfully culminate in convictions, thereby evidencing the sheer degree of impunity found within Mexico’s judiciary (Zepeda, 2012). The perverted nature of Mexico’s justice sector has led to a dramatic reduction in the public’s approval of judicial institutions (Rodríguez Ferreira and Shirk, 2015). Thus, the Judicial Reform aims to restore the citizenry’s trust in Mexico’s judicial system, by attempting to deal a blow to criminal activity and diminish the pervasive corruption found within judicial agencies.

3. The Judicial Reform is expected to reduce levels of corruption within the justice sector. The adoption of oral adversarial trials would supposedly “increase due process and accountability” (Zabludosky, 2012); coupled with a greater adherence to procedural matters — leading to a reduction in the discretionary powers of judges and lawmakers — it is quite evident that the Judicial Reform should mitigate the corruptibility of Mexico’s justice sector (INACIPE, 2015). Moreover, governmental officials argue that the Judicial Reform will eventually lead to improvements across the board in regards to governance and the rule of law (Secretaría de Gobernación, 2015).

4. Unfortunately, transitioning to the new judiciary system has proven to be an expensive endeavor. The Coordinating Council for the Implementation of the Criminal Justice System (CCISJP) — and its Technical Secretariat (SETEC) — has orchestrated the majority of efforts involving the Judicial Reform. Through the SETEC, the Federal Government has allotted significant amounts of resources to “convert court facilities, upgrade technology, and train judicial system personnel” (Rodríguez Ferreira and Shirk, 2015). States have received roughly $4 billion pesos (around $215 million dollars) from the Federal Government specifically for the implementation of the Judicial Reform (CIDAC, 2016).

5. States’ individual adoption of the Judicial Reform has varied extensively. While some states implemented elements of the reform quite early (even prior to 2008), less than half of the nation’s municipalities operated under the new justice standard by the end of 2014 (Rodríguez Ferreira and Shirk, 2015). Multiple states had either not applied the revised judicial procedures to all criminal processes or had restricted the implementation of the Judicial Reform to certain municipalities (Rodríguez Ferreira and Shirk, 2015). The divergence in states’ adoption of the Judicial Reform cannot be accounted for by a single factor. Regrettably, experts worry that — due to the imminence of the deadline for the reform’s full implementation — states that phased in the Judicial Reform in a protracted fashion will rush through the process, leading to deficiencies under the new judicial model (CIDAC, 2016).

6. The rest of the paper is organized as follows: Section II provides background information on the measures included in the Judicial Reform that should presumably reduce corruption within Mexico’s justice sector. Section III analyzes the impact of the Judicial Reform on multiple measures of judicial corruption. Section IV assesses which factors were fundamental for a more extensive adoption of the Judicial Reform (by a given state). Finally, Section V discusses the policy implications of the aforementioned analyses, and concludes.

II. HYPOTHESES: WHY MEXICO’S JUDICIAL REFORM SHOULD REDUCE CORRUPTION WITHIN THE JUSTICE SECTOR

7. The Judicial Reform cemented the presumption of innocence as a core value of Mexico’s criminal justice system. Formerly, Mexican justice officials typically operated under the mindset of “detaining to investigate” (Consejo de los Derechos Humanos, 2014); the Judicial Reform sought to eliminate that notion altogether, by instituting a greater respect for due process. Rather than “detaining to investigate”, the Judicial Reform champions “investigating to [possibly] detain” (de la Barreda Solórzano, 2014). This mindset alteration could reduce corruption in two separate regards: firstly, concrete evidence is now required to open a judicial case, possibly reducing the recurrence of corruption-motivated accusations.[4] Moreover, justice officials will no longer possess the “preventive imprisonment card” (to the same extent as beforehand) as a way of coercing the accused to bribe (de la Barreda Solórzano, 2014).[5]

8. The institution of oral adversarial trials allows for greater transparency and accountability. The former written inquisitorial model — due to its concealed nature — arguably provided greater opportunities for corruption (Barney and Zwier, 2012).[6] The new judicial model — which instituted the verbal presentation of arguments by both parties to a trial — is founded upon a yearning for increased openness within the justice sector (Shirk, 2011). The incentive for judges to engage in corrupt acts is thus diminished, as there is a greater possibility for them to get caught (given the more transparent nature of verbal trials).[7] Evidently, judges’ dictums on oral cases are inherently subject to greater public scrutiny than ones delivered during written trials.[8]

9. Under the new judicial model, confessions and testimonies are no longer granted probative value unless rendered before the judge(s) assigned to the case. The endemic corruption of Mexico’s police agencies proved to be a breeding ground for manufactured confessions (Meyer, 2014). Therefore, the sentencing process has become more transparent as a result of the Judicial Reform, since confessions obtained during police interrogations are no longer granted probative value (Rodríguez Olvera, 2008). Now, confessions must be voiced during the course of an open trial, thereby reducing the police’s ability to influence the course of a case. Potential bribers are therefore discouraged from paying-off police agents, since their discretion has been hindered.

10. The Judicial Reform reduces the independent authority granted to a single judge. Under the written inquisitorial model, a single judge had oversight over the entire trajectory of the case (from the pre-trial investigations to the final dictum itself). The Judicial Reform delegates these tasks to two separate entities: a ‘Control Judge’ will now handle the pre-trial affairs, and an ‘Oral Trial Judge’ — with no prior knowledge about the case whatsoever — will be in charge of the actual trial procedures (Blanco Escandón, 2006). Moreover, the Judicial Reform mandates the establishment of a ‘Vigilance Judge’; this figure oversees the entire trial process in order to determine whether his co-judges committed any abusive actions (Blanco Escandón, 2006). The decentralization of the trial process should reduce corruption: firstly, corrupt judges’ ability to influence the outcome of a trial would be diminished, since they would no longer be in command of the entire process.[9] Similarly, judges may become less willing to engage in corrupt acts, due to the increased probability of them being caught (by their co-judges).[10]

11. The greater value awarded to scientific and forensic evidence undermines the discretionary powers of criminal justice officials. The Judicial Reform mandated an increased investment on scientific and forensic equipment utilized by Public Ministries during the course of an investigation (SETEC, 2016). Consequentially, scientific evidence was assigned a greater weight than testimonial attestation during the course of a trial (SETEC, 2016). Given the appreciable proneness to corruption of testimonies (relative to scientific evidence), the measure should arguably reduce the number of altered sentences. Moreover, corrupt judges should find it harder to disregard concrete evidence when attempting to influence the course of a trial.[11]

12. The improved efficiency of the trial process eliminates an incentive to bribe. Written inquisitorial trials tended to be infamously sluggish, with the average trial lasting an average of one to three years (Shirk, 2011). Oral adversarial trials are more versatile, with the standard case lasting only a few months (Shirk, 2011). Given the simplification of the judicial process, there is no longer an incentive to bribe for expediency purposes.

13. The implementation of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms reduces the need for corruption. Unlike the written inquisitorial model — which favored a dictum-based conclusion to a trial — the new judicial model encourages alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (Rodríguez Ferreira and Shirk, 2015). A party to a trial — rather than feeling forced to bribe the judge(s) in order to obtain a beneficial ruling — can now engage in negotiations with the other bloc to such an end.

III. ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF MEXICO’S JUDICIAL REFORM ON CORRUPTION INDICATORS

14. The aforementioned hypotheses suggest that — following the implementation of Mexico’s Judicial Reform — judicial institutions’ corruption levels should have decreased. Through the use of multiple regression analyses, I sought to determine whether or not the Judicial Reform did indeed have a positive impact in the fight against judiciary corruption.

15. Mexico’s Judicial Reform appeared to have a favorable impact on citizens’ perceived corruption of judges. There was a statistically significant relationship between a state’s implementation of the Judicial Reform[12] — as of 2014 — and the percentage decrease in citizens’ perceived corruption of judges.[13] At a 5% level of significance, a one standard deviation increase in a state’s implementation score was associated with a 4.36% decrease in the perceived corruption of its judges (Box 1).

16. Similarly, the Judicial Reform appeared to have a favorable impact on citizens’ perceived corruption of the State Procuratorate and Public Ministries.[14] There was a statistically significant relationship between a state’s implementation score and the percentage decrease in the perceived corruption of the State Procuratorate and Public Ministries.[15] Nonetheless, the results were somewhat weaker than those related to the perceived corruption of judges, as significance only held at the 10% level. A one standard deviation increase in a state’s implementation score was associated with a 2.85% decrease in the perceived corruption of the aforementioned judicial agencies (Box 1).

Box 1

17. Nonetheless, the Judicial Reform did not have a statistically significant impact on other corruption indicators. Specifically, regression analyses yielded no significant relationships between states’ implementation scores and the following dependent variables: the percentage increase in the perceived intensity of a state’s anti-corruption efforts, and the percentage increase in the number of anticorruption audits and sanctions carried out in a given state.[16]

18. Interestingly, there appeared to be a strongly significant association between a state’s illiteracy indicator and the percentage increase in the number of anticorruption audits authorized by said state between 2010 and 2014.[17] Quite unexpectedly, the regression’s coefficient turned out to be positive, thereby hinting that higher illiteracy levels are associated with a greater percentage increase in the amount of anticorruption audits carried out in a given state. Nonetheless, one could argue that higher illiteracy levels — inherently related to the quality of a state’s educational system — could induce increased predatory behavior by public officials, who are seeking to take advantage of the possibly uninformed nature of their taxpayers. An increased proneness to engage in corrupt activity could certainly result in a higher amount of anticorruption audits, solely due to the plausibly greater number of corrupt officials (or to the overall greater frequency of corrupt activities). Overall, it does not seem reasonable to favor higher illiteracy levels solely for its association with increased anticorruption audits.

IV. INVESTIGATING THE REASONS BEHIND THE VARIATION IN STATE’S IMPLEMENTATION OF THE JUDICIAL REFORM

19. The Judicial Reform arguably reduced corruption within the justice sector. Based on the regression analyses run in the prior section, it seems that the extent of a state’s implementation of the Judicial Reform did impact said federal entity’s standing on several judicial corruption indicators. Thus, through the use of multiple regression analyses, I sought to determine which characteristics of a state played a key role in ensuring a prompt implementation of the Judicial Reform.

20. I expected multiple financial, infrastructural and human resources indicators to play a prominent role in regards to a state’s timeliness in the implementation of the Judicial Reform. Nonetheless, after accounting for states’ GSP per capita and illiteracy level, only two potential factors remained statistically significant: the number of days between a state’s creation of a Commission for the Implementation of the Judicial Reform (CIJR) and the Ministry of the Interior’s 2014 Report (on states’ implementation scores); and the total amount of federal funding a state received for the implementation of the Judicial Reform between 2010 and 2014.

21. States’ initial promptness concerning the adoption of the Judicial Reform played an important role in regards to their implementation progress as of 2014. The Judicial Reform included a provision mandating states to create a CIJR.[18] These agencies were responsible for orchestrating the implementation of the Judicial Reform within their specific state. It appears to be that states’ timeliness in regards to their establishment of the CIJR played a fundamental role in accelerating their adoption of the Judicial Reform.[19] At a 10% level of significance, a one standard deviation increase in the ‘duration’ variable increased states’ implementation scores by 0.423 points (Box 2).[20] Evidently, this result is quite reasonable, as it seems appropriate that states that promptly addressed the Judicial Reform’s initial mandates would have implemented it to a greater degree by 2014.

22. Similarly, the total federal subsidy a state received from the SETEC played a prominent role concerning the extent of its implementation of the Judicial Reform. The Federal Government subsidized a (differing) portion of states’ expenses concerning the implementation of the Judicial Reform. The amount of annual funding granted to each state was determined by the SETEC (CIDAC, 2016). As expected, there was a strongly significant positive relationship between the total amount of funding states received (over the 2010–2014 period) and their respective implementation scores. At a 1% level of significance, an increase of one hundred million pesos in federal funding was associated with an implementation score improvement of 1.826 points (Box 2).[21]

23. The relationship between the total amount of federal funding a state received and its implementation score was quite robust. Indeed, the significance of a state’s federal subsidy held even when running a combined regression with the ‘duration’ variable. In this case — at a 1% level of significance — an increase of one hundred million pesos in federal funding was associated with an implementation score improvement of 1.697 points (Box 2).[22]

Box 2 Part 1
Box 2 Part 2

24. Other potential explanatory variables failed to hold a statistically significant relationship in regards to states’ implementation scores.[23] Possible factors related to the human resources and infrastructural capacities of states — the number of judicial personnel, the quantity of judicial institutions, and the percentage of the state’s budget dedicated to judicial purposes — did not prove to be significant.

V. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS

25. Overall, the impact of the Judicial Reform appeared to be positive, yet not overwhelmingly so. While its implementation seemed to improve states’ standing in regards to several perceptive measures of corruption, this positive relationship failed to translate to other — more objective — arenas. The exorbitant costs associated with the Judicial Reform make its categorization as a monumental success hard to swallow.

26. Nonetheless, it may be too early to make a conclusive judgment about the Judicial Reform’s value. As indicated by my ‘duration’ variable, the vast majority of states only began exploring the intricacies of the Judicial Reform a few years ago.[24] Given that my ‘duration’ variable tabulated states’ creation of their respective CIJR — whose first task was to study the federal reform, not even begin its local implementation — it seems premature to measure the success of such a transformative mandate solely four years after its implementation.

27. Regardless of whether its impact was sweepingly positive or not, it is still possible to derive several policy recommendations from the experience of the Judicial Reform. A substantial portion of the following policy implications may apply not only to the justice sector, but also to other fields that the Federal Government is seeking to revamp.

28. Given that the ‘duration’ variable played a fundamental role in accelerating states’ implementation of the Judicial Reform, the Federal Government should increase its enforcement of mandated deadlines. Whether it be for an extension of the Judicial Reform — or a completely different project altogether — enforcing states’ promptness in regards to their adoption of a federal mandate may facilitate its timely implementation. Given the arguably inherent association between timeliness and quality, greater oversight by the Federal Government should be beneficial for all parties involved.

29. Similarly, the Federal Government should ensure that ‘late-implementation states’ — i.e. states that began adopting the Judicial Reform close to the end of the process — actually implement the mandate in an adequate fashion. The Judicial Reform definitely had some positive effects, as proven by our regression analyses. Therefore, unpunctual states should be compelled to implement the entirety of the mandate in a prompt — yet appropriate — fashion, in order to reap the full benefits offered by the Judicial Reform.

30. Federal subsidies for judicial endeavors should not be decreased, in light of the strongly significant relationship between the total amount of federal funding a state received and its performance concerning the implementation of the Judicial Reform. Although I recognize that federal subsidies may be cut due to economic setbacks, the fundamentality of federal assistance in regards to states’ implementation of the Judicial Reform — even after accounting for various other factors — makes it hard to negate the importance of federal subsidies. This point is particularly relevant, given that the SETEC reduced federal subsidies by 29% for 2016 (CIDAC, 2016). Unfortunately, this may have a substantial impact on the ability of ‘late-implementation states’ to meet the federal deadline in a timely, yet satisfactory manner.

31. Interestingly, the SETEC incremented federal subsidies by 97% after 2013 (CIDAC, 2016).[25] Given our results concerning the importance of federal funding for states’ implementation of the Judicial Reform — and in light of the fact that our study solely spanned the 2010–2014 period — the Federal Government may wish to apply these ‘subsidy spikes’ immediately following a reform’s ratification (rather than waiting a couple of years). One can only imagine the difference in advancement states could have achieved if they had received said increased federal funding early on during the process. Moreover, one can logically speculate that increased initial funding would have reduced the amount of ‘late-implementation states’.[26]

32. The Judicial Reform sought to revamp a blatantly antiquated model of justice; the magnitude of the required transformation thereby resulted in it being a costly pursuit. Evidently, the Judicial Reform was long overdue. In order to reduce the costs associated with such radical transformations to the justice sector, the Federal Government should consolidate progressive revisions of the new judicial model. Hence, to avoid having to engage in such vast alterative endeavors — which pose a significant financial burden — in the future, the Federal Government should mandate periodic revisions of the new judicial system, altering its content if deemed necessary. Particularly, experts recommend a 2024 deadline for the revision of the National Code of Criminal Procedure, a subset of the Judicial Reform that was established in 2013 (Rodríguez Ferreira and Shirk, 2015).

33. Given the relative success of the Judicial Reform, which mostly addressed criminal justice matters, it may be appropriate to revise other areas of the judicial sector. Although the Judicial Reform did indeed cover aspects other than criminal justice, the Federal Government should study the possibility of reforming other law-related arenas in a similar comprehensive fashion. Said measures — if equally successful to the Judicial Reform — would arguably improve overall governance, possibly curtailing Mexico’s corruption grievances even further. Further studies are required to assess which areas of Mexico’s judicial system are apt for revamping.

34. The Judicial Reform was implemented fairly recently; in order to reap its full benefits, the Federal Government must maintain oversight over the post-implementation period. The new judicial model will prosper only if those involved in the legal sector embrace it in its totality. Thus, the Federal Government should mandate that all judges, prosecutors, and public defendants attain a certain number of hours practicing the revisions to the judicial system imposed by the Judicial Reform (Rodríguez Ferreira and Shirk, 2015). Moreover, the Federal Government should fund university-level programs that provide information on the characteristics of the new judicial model. The Federal Government should particularly focus on increasing the awareness about the new oral adversarial trials, the most radical — and fundamental — component of the Judicial Reform.

35. Finally, given that the Judicial Reform’s results were not overwhelmingly positive, the Federal Government should evaluate its impact on an annual basis. Hence, the Federal Government should “generate and disseminate indicators of judicial system performance” every year (Rodríguez Ferreira and Shirk, 2015). Said measure would allow the Federal Government to eventually conclude whether or not the Judicial Reform was successful. An annual evaluation process grants the Federal Government great flexibility in dealing with the Judicial Reform, as it could ameliorate specific aspects of the new judicial model that do not appear to be productive.

Footnotes

[1] Also referred to as the “Judicial Reform”.

[2] Hereinafter referenced as the “Judicial Reform”.

[3] Substantial emphasis was placed on consolidating the presumption of innocence and improving adherence to the due process of the law.

[4] Potential bribers (or civil servants seeking to impose undue influence) should be discouraged from pressing a corruptly-motivated case; due to the fact that the Judicial Reform values the provision of concrete evidence — which corruptly-motivated cases should lack relative to genuine probes — it appears to be more difficult for a corruptly-motivated inquest to reach the trial stage. Thus, demand for corruptly-motivated investigations should decrease, given the increased uncertainty about its outcome.

[5] The cultural acceptability — within the justice sector — of “detaining to investigate” allowed for systemic abuse of the preventive imprisonment process. With the Judicial Reform’s inherent requirement of concrete evidence to justify detainment, the threat of preventive imprisonment loses its weight.

[6] Additionally, citizens’ perceived corruption of the justice system was exacerbated due to the fact that “the evidentiary phase [took] place largely outside of public view” (Shirk, 2011).

[7] It seems easier for a corrupt judge to manipulate (or “misinterpret”) a concealed, written document than to skew the outcome of a verbal trial.

[8] Under the written inquisitorial model, judges held control over most of the evidence. Nowadays, the oral adversarial trials permit all participants (i.e. court-goers) to develop their own conclusions concerning the case (and thus dispute the judge’s dictum if it appears to be completely out of line).

[9] Although a corrupt ‘Oral Trial Judge’ could technically dictate a skewed sentence, he would arguably be questioned if the dictum contradicts the investigative aspects handled by his co-judge.

[10] To avoid the formation of ‘corrupt partnerships’, the judges in charge of a case tend not to be assigned to the same partner in successive trials (Blanco Escandón, 2006).

[11] Theoretically, a corrupt judge could more easily massage a testimony than manipulate concrete facts. A corrupt judge will be discouraged from disregarding concrete evidence in order to influence the result of a trial, as said maneuvers would most likely raise suspicions.

[12] The term “implementation score” will be used to refer to a state’s implementation of the Judicial Reform. See Box 1 for more information on how the “implementation scores” were compiled.

[13] The percentage decrease in citizens’ perception of corruption amongst judges was measured as the difference in the indicator’s value between 2010 and 2014.

[14] The Public Ministries that were studied operate solely on a state-level (i.e. not federal agencies).

[15] The percentage decrease in citizens’ perception of corruption found within the State Procuratorate and Public Ministries was measured as the percentage difference in the indicator’s value between 2010 and 2014. Note that the data source I utilized arranged the State Procuratorate and the Public Ministries as a single entity.

[16] See Appendix 1 for a more comprehensive explanation of what these independent variables sought to measure and their regressions’ results.

[17] For this specific regression, I removed three outliers (Baja California Sur, Coahuila de Zaragoza and Jalisco). These three states had percentage values (of the difference in the number of anticorruption audits authorized in 2014 compared to 2010) of at least two orders of magnitude greater than the remaining federal entities. I used the IQR definition to eliminate said states from my sample.

[18] States were encouraged to develop a CIJR as swiftly as possible, given that its implementation was required in order to receive more extensive federal grants (CIDAC, 2015).

[19] Hereinafter referred to as the ‘duration’ variable.

[20] Hence, a one standard deviation increase in the number of days between a state’s creation of a CIJR and the Ministry of the Interior’s 2014 Report (on states’ implementation scores) boosted states’ implementation scores by 0.423 points (or 4.23%).

[21] Since the regression accounted for GSP per capita, this implies that the SETEC’s designation of federal subsidies was not intrinsically related to states’ level of affluence. Hence, the effect of the federal funding is separate from that of states’ spending capacity.

[22] Although the magnitude of the coefficient was diminished, it is still quite astonishing that the federal funding variable maintained a 1% level of significance (even after incorporating the fellow ‘duration’ indicator). Moreover, the coefficient’s magnitude was solely reduced by 7%.

[23] See Appendix 2 for a more comprehensive explanation of what these independent variables sought to measure and their regressions’ results.

[24] The median ‘duration’ was 1455 days — i.e. mid-2010. This implies that half of the states solely began to establish a CIJR after said date, proving the relative juvenescence of the Judicial Reform.

[25] The SETEC maintained said increased level of funding for the entire 2014–2015 periods.

[26] Although the reasons behind a state’s timeliness in regards to its adoption of the Judicial Reform are quite complex (and may incorporate political matters outside of the scope of this study), it is reasonable to suggest that increased federal assistance would have motivated states to adopt the Judicial Reform more promptly.

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