Brazen violations of due process are a dime a dozen in revolutionary Venezuela, sure, but few can be quite so brazen as the effective judicial kidnapping of National Assembly member-elect Biagio Pilieri.
The guy actually faced a full trial in front of a randomly selected three-man jury in Yaracuy State over allegations of misuse of funds during his 2000-2005 stint as major of Chivacoa.
After hearing ten full days of testimony and deliberating over the evidence, the three jurors (“escabinos”) agreed that the charges against him were not proven and told the judge they intended to declare him Not Guilty.
The judge’s reaction?
She dissolved the jury, then called in sick the day she should have presided over a ruling. This gave the Supreme Tribunal time to declare a mistrial and send Pilieri off to Caracas to be tried again…
…which, by any estimation, would be outrageous enough except, at this point, Pillieri has been subjected to this acquittal-mistrial-retrial rigamarole not once but twice!
Correction: An earlier version had the trial judge declaring the mistrial. In fact, it was the TSJ.