If you do not support Chavez your verdict will be guilty, guilty, guilty!

If there is anyone that still thinks that there is a free and independent judicial system in Venezuela, please, shut up!  Do not offend our intelligence!

A few days ago I did explain the case of Biagio Pilieri, the sole opposition representative from Yaracuy, barred from sitting in the new national assembly AGAINST the constitutional provisions, and about to be judged for the third time for the very same offense even if the first two verdicts were not guilty.  But when the regime wants you in jail, it will get you in jail.

Today I must report of scathing evidence that underlines how corrupt the judicial system of Venezuela has become under Chavez.

First, as I explained before, Venezuela does not have a jury system but has a two escabino charge which means that two people randomly selected from electoral lists must follow the trial and have equal vote as the judge on the final verdict.  Well, what we learned today is that the two, THE TWO ESCABINOS of the latest Pilieri trial, the double jeopardy one, are publicly on record stating that they were voting not guilty and the judge requested them to review their decision or something of the sort.  Apparently when the judge realized that they were indeed going to vote not guilty she simply called in sick and the trial was taken over by the TSJ, Venezuelan supreme court, and a third trial, triple jeopardy, was decided to be held in Caracas instead of Yaracuy.

To add insult to injury, there is a third escabino who acts as a substitute and only votes if one of the first two is dismissed or impaired to vote.  Even that third one agreed with the other two principals that the verdict should be not guilty.  Unanimous jury verdict we call that in civilized countries.

In other words, the judge refused to make public the decision of the jury, notified Caracas, and was removed from the case WHILE THE HIGH COURT OF VENEZUELA ANNULLED THE TRIAL AGAINST THE LAW, CHANGING THE VENUE OF A THIRD TRIAL.  What is not clear at this time is whether the judge called in sick not wanting to be blamed directly for such an abuse of justice, thus pushing the decision on Caracas.  After all the Afiuni example is for all to see.

And yet, yet, there is yet more insult to the injury.  At the time of the TSJ intervention we were told that one of the high court judges of that penal chamber did not participate in the vote due to a "justified absence".  Well, that "absent judge", Blanca Marmol de Leon, sent a note to the TSJ direction saying that she was "absent" because she was not called to rule on the decision, that she was perfectly available but not informed.  In other words, she was not absent, she was, I guess, "absented".  In that note she also protests some vices of form which cast more than serious doubts on the TSJ ruling.

So there you have it, how justice operates today in Venezuela: if your cause is annoying to anyone high enough in the regime you will be declared guilty, one way or the other, no matter how many of your legal and human rights need to be violated.