Bill on digital media seeks to legitimize virtual audiences

File a formal opposition instance to two bills that are going through the National Congress

The Dominican Republic Bar Association (CARD) denounced that this Wednesday that with the deposit in the Chamber of Deputies of the bill on the Use of Digital Media in the Judiciary, the president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Luis Henry Molina , seeks to legitimize virtual hearings that have already been declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court (TC).

In this sense, the president of the union, Miguel Surun Hernández, presented before the lower house an instance of formal opposition against the legislative piece.

The president of CARD stated that this initiative constitutes a blank letter to maintain the contempt of the judgment of the TC, which declared the virtual hearings as unconstitutional and in violation of due process and judicial protection.

“For two years the Dominican justice has been in a virtual closure due to the imposition of measures that eliminated the access of citizens, lawyers and the media to the different files and this cannot continue,” said the lawyer.

The union member assured that the president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Luis Henry Molina, is in a state of contempt, not only of sentence 0030-2020-ETSA-00552, issued by the First Chamber of the Superior Administrative Court, but also of the TC / 0286/2021 of the Constitutional Court, which ordered the opening of the Courts of the Republic and annulled the virtual procedures, for having been issued outside the Constitution, violating the fundamental rights of citizens, in usurpation of the functions of Congress National.

Miguel Surun Hernández said that the Secretarial System created by the Law of Judicial Organization was replaced by an alleged and infunctional Virtual Judicial Service System, managed by a platform that has violated and eliminated access to the files of lawyers, judges and prosecutors, which for obtain or deposit a document to a file, they must do so by requesting the platform.

He warned that the union he directs will motorize the actions that are necessary to prevent this bill from prospering.

Project seeks to increase the number of judges of the SCJ from 11 to 22

The Bar Association also deposited in the Senate of the Republic, an instance of opposition to the draft amendment to the Organic Law of the Supreme Court of Justice, which seeks to increase from 11 to 22 the number of judges that make up the plenary session of that high court.

The action seeks to stop the legislative piece that is in a committee in the upper house.

“This attempt to approve an extension of the plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice is only to make Luís Henry Molina a mechanical majority by assigning a new” tax “room, whose 5 seats have already been assigned by the president of the highest body. judicial, in favor of supporters and unconditional “, said the president of the Bar Association.

In the jurist’s opinion, that is the preparation of the ground to definitively grant control of the entire justice system to Luis Henry Molina.

Modifications contemplated in the bill

Among the modifications contemplated in the bill is article one, with which they seek to raise the number of judges of the Supreme Court of Justice from 17 to 22.

That same article establishes that the quorum required to meet will be a minimum of 17 members and that decisions will be made by majority vote and that in the event of a tie, the president’s vote will be decisive.

While in the modification to article two, it establishes that the organ will be divided into four Chambers that will be called: First, Second, Third and Fourth Chambers of the Supreme Court of Justice.

Similarly, the initiative proposes the modification of article 9 of Law 25-91 of October 15, 1991, modified by Law 242-11 of October 7, 2011, so that from now on it says that the Third Chamber will be competent to know and decide the appeals that are filed for the first time, in real estate and labor matters.

To that same article, it is proposed to include that the Fourth Chamber will be competent to hear and rule on cassation appeals that are filed for the first time, in contentious-administrative and contentious-tax matters.

The modification project also includes a transitory provision that instructs the President of the Republic, in his capacity as president of the National Council of the Magistracy, to, within a period of no more than 30 days, from the publication of the piece, summon that body to complete the new enrollment of 22 members of the Supreme Court of Justice.

According to the initiative being studied by the senators’ commission, if modified, the law would come into effect immediately upon its promulgation and approval, as established by the Constitution, and once the terms indicated in the Civil Code of the Dominican Republic have elapsed.

About those articles in the current law

Article 1.- The Supreme Court of Justice will be made up of eleven (11) Judges, who will meet the conditions established by the Constitution of the Republic and who will be appointed in accordance therewith, by the Senate of the Republic, chosen after the examination. formal of the professional, citizen and public trajectory of said judges.

Article 2.- The Supreme Court of Justice shall be divided into two chambers: one Chamber shall be designated as the Civil, Commercial and Labor Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice and the other shall be designated as the Administrative and Constitutional Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.

Article 9.- The Second Substitute for the President of the Supreme Court of Justice will be the President of the Criminal, Administrative and Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice. However, in all cases in which the president of the Supreme Court of Justice is integrated into this chamber, he will exercise the presidency of the same.

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