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Juan Francisco Guerrero: ‘Habeas Corpus de Glass opens door for convicts to exit’

Is it legal for former Vice President George Glass to give habeas corpus?

From the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, the judge should not order the release of George Glass, but should take corrective action so that deprivation of liberty does not threaten his life or physical integrity. For example, magistrates may order prison changes, prescribe medical treatment, and provide special psychological care.

Does this mean that a legally convicted person cannot be freed with that wealth?

Alternative prison arrangements, including habeas corpus, may be granted exclusively to persons with preventive detention orders, according to the Constitution and the Comprehensive Criminal Code. But it cannot be granted to those who have strong convictions and have two for glass of illicit intercourse and bribery. Under Ecuadorian law, those serving sentences may receive corrective action to guarantee their health and physical integrity.

Why is that?

An order for the release of a convicted person with the help of these constitutional resources means that one final sentence can be amended and it is unthinkable.

So this habeas corpus was wrongly granted by Judge Mangalaralto in Santa Elena?

Yes, of course, this is a random grant. In addition, in this case, the habeas corpus will have to request a judicial unit in the city where the detainee is. In the case of Glass, the appropriate judge must have come from Latakunga, since he was being held in the Cotopaxi prison, not in a detention center in Santa Elena.

Under the Judicial Guarantee Act, a detainee must file a habeas corpus in the city in which he is located. Is it true that the Constitutional Court has amended this provision?

What the Constitutional Court has done is to extend the jurisdiction of judges over constitutional guarantees to facilitate public access to those resources, but this does not mean that the legal rules have been amended. The request of the habeas corpus in any city other than the prisoner must be exceptional and justified. However, Jorge Glass did not support why Santa Elena went to a judge.

Are these resources being used politically?

There is occasional use of habeas corpus for political purposes. A constitutional remedy is used to gain the independence of a former vice president who is still interfering in a political party with a significant electoral force in the country. Only time will tell if there was a macro agreement between the political actors or if it had any electoral purpose.

Could the ruling in favor of George Glass Espinel affect Ecuador’s legal certainty?

That’s right- this is a precedent for people who have been convicted of a serious crime and have now resorted to habeas corpus to get out of prison.

Does the Santa Elena Magistrate’s Resolution create a sense of impunity?

The outrage of the people responds to the fact that in this particular case, the habeas corpus did not serve to achieve independence. The message that is sent is that if someone is powerful, political, wealthy or influential, then freedom can be gained through a system that is not intended for it, even randomly. From my point of view, this distinct and privileged treatment creates a sense of impunity in Ecuador.

What other inconsistencies have you found in the process of this constitutional appeal?

The urgency of this habeas corpus processing is quite unusual. These resources need to be addressed quickly, but in practice this is not the case. If I submit a similar request this Friday, it will usually be resolved within the next business week. However, in the case of glass, if the application is made on Friday, it is disposed of on Saturday. This does not mean that the hearing will not be held immediately, but it is not normal.

Did the prison violence and the psychological problems of Glass influence the judge in taking this legal remedy on this occasion?

A convicted person should not be released due to physical or mental problems. In this case, the prisoner needs to be helped and prison conditions need to be improved.

Rehabilitation Service (SNAI) has appealed against the verdict, now what?

OK, the Santa Elena court must analyze the appeal and eventually reverse the decision and order Glass to be re-arrested or uphold the appeals and order provisions that guarantee his health.

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