HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Judge Flees Country Fearing Own Judiciary Colleague
BRIEF

Guatemala Judge Flees Country Fearing Own Judiciary Colleague

ELITES AND CRIME / 13 JAN 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

A Supreme Court magistrate in Guatemala has allegedly pressured a judge handling her son’s case, leading the latter official to leave the country in an affair symbolic of Guatemala’s ongoing struggle against corruption and elite interference with anti-corruption efforts.

Judge Carlos Giovanni Ruano Pineda left Guatemala on January 12 after reportedly being pressured by a Supreme Court magistrate named Blanca Aída Stalling Dávila, Prensa Libre reported. Ruano was handling the corruption case against Stalling’s son.

According to the news outlet, the judge posted a picture of the airport on his Facebook page, commenting that “difficult decisions always involve risks.” Ruano reportedly told a colleague he was leaving the country after being “pressured.”

On January 11, the media outlet Guatevisión released an audio tape reportedly recorded by Ruano in the magistrate’s office, during which Stalling can be heard asking that her son be given alternative sentencing. Ruano had filed an official complaint against the magistrate the day before, on January 10, with a special anti-impunity prosecutor.

Stalling denied any wrongdoing on January 11, stating that she had indeed met with Ruano but that she had not asked any favors for her son, reported El Periódico.

The same day, the Attorney General’s Office and the United Nations-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala – CICIG) publicly announced the launch of preliminary proceedings against Stalling for influence peddling. And on January 13, a government body composed of judges from Guatemala’s judiciary called for Stalling’s resignation.

The magistrate’s son, Otto Fernando Molina Stalling, is accused by the Attorney General’s Office and the CICIG of criminal association, influence peddling and having receiving bribes. His case has been linked to a larger corruption scandal that engulfed the country’s social security institution in 2015.

InSight Crime Analysis

The accusations surrounding Blanca Stalling are symptomatic of the corruption that has plagued Guatemala’s judiciary, and this latest case shows the extent to which the country’s elite attempt to interfere in the justice system.

A significant number of the magistrate’s family members — including her brother, her-sister-in-law and her two sons — have been implicated in various corruption scandals that have rocked Guatemala recently, from the customs corruption ring known as “La Linea” that led to the downfall of President Otto Pérez Molina, to bribery in the judiciary and the previously mentioned social security corruption scandal.

SEE ALSO: Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime

Amid recent allegations that the 2014 selection process of the Supreme Court magistrates had been rigged, Blanca Stalling’s reported interference in her son’s case is also symbolic of recurrent and potent interference with the justice system by the country’s elite.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

EXTRADITION / 24 MAY 2018

A US court handed down a life sentence to a Honduran drug trafficker linked to the Sinaloa Cartel -- just…

GUATEMALA / 27 JAN 2017

Prosecutors in Guatemala believe a current congressman ordered the killing of a local journalist in 2015, a reminder of the…

GUATEMALA / 4 MAR 2013

A new proposed legal reform in Guatemala would allow minors involved in serious crimes to be prosecuted, as lawmakers attempt…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…