Teaching Case - Battling for Rule of Law in Mexico City: Crime, Corruption, and Criminal Justice

Battling for Rule of Law in Mexico City: Crime, Corruption, and Criminal Justice


Educator Access
A review copy of this case is available free of charge to educators and trainers. Please create an account or sign in to gain access to this material.

Permission to Reprint
Each purchase of this product entitles the buyer to one digital file and use. If you intend to distribute, teach, or share this item, you must purchase permission for each individual who will be given access. Learn more about purchasing permission to reprint.

  • Product Description

    No one disputes the need to reduce crime and corruption in the developing world in principle. But the actual operational challenges of taking on an entrenched system of corruption, one infecting law enforcement itself, can be daunting in the extreme. This case tells the saga of Samuel Del Villar, a longtime crusader for democratic rule of law and criminal justice reform in Mexico, when he becomes the chief prosecutor in Mexico City. Del Villar, who comes to his position as a result of the 1997 victory of Cuauhtemoc Cardenas as the first directly-elected Mayor of Mexico City, must cope with an alarming crime wave in the sprawling capital city, where reports of violent crime have recently increased from 191 to 465 incidents per day. The case describes Del Villar's intertwined efforts to reorganize the office of the prosecutor, to attack corruption among police officers, government attorneys, and city judges, and--at the same time--to reduce street crime. It describes both Del Villar's efforts at systemic change and the decisions he makes in handling a series of high-profile cases, decisions that taken together, lead critics to charge that, far from being the reformer he claims, he is using his position to play an even tougher game of politics than did his predecessors.

    Learning Objective:
    The case, notable for its level of detail about the inner workings of Del Villar's office and specific cases with which it dealt, provides a vehicle for discussion as about the roots of corruption and strategic options for those who would reduce it.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: May 01, 2003
    HKS Case Number: 1694.0
    Case Author: Pamela Varley
    Faculty Lead: Philip Heymann
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 31
    Setting: Mexico
    Language: English
    _year: 2000-2009
    _pages: 25+
    _geography: Latin America
  • Warranty Information


  • Find Similar Products by Category