LDZ Las Americas Adds Judicial Branch for First Time
This report from LDZ Las Americas is from Christopher Burge.
Unlike other LDZs, Las Americas has never had a judicial branch due to its small size. However, with the program growing to 120 participants in 2016, Las Americas finally had the numbers to sustain all three branches of government.
During General Convention, 2016 Las Americas LDZ delegates elected 7 “magistrados,” or justices, and their parties appointed 16 attorneys to form the LALDZ bar. Six justices were native Panamanians, while the seventh was an immigrant to Panamá originally from Kalamata, Greece; 15 attorneys were Panamanian residents while the 16 came to the program from San Antonio, Texas. Delegates also passed a constitution based on Community Social Entrepreneurship (CSE). This constitution, and whether delegate’s proposals complied with it, formed the basis of conversation in the Corte Suprema this year.
The justices created their own court protocol, based largely on the Panamanian legal system, and rather than a win-lose tournament-style competition, chose to establish a more constructive procedure. Attorney teams would have 12 minutes each to present arguments on the constitutionality of proposals, and to answer questions regarding them. In the case of unconstitutional proposals, attorneys were tasked with crafting remedies which would eliminate the constitutional violation.
After 3 days of intense, but friendly argument, and 6 rounds of hearings, the final two attorney teams were set: the team of Natalia Troncoso and Juan Manuel Caballero, both from Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá, and the team of Amanda Vallarino and María Fabiola Villa-Real, also both from Ciudad de Panamá. The justices also elected their Chief Justice, based on attorney’s post-trial ballots. José Antonio Pérez Barboni, of Ciudad de Panamá, was elected Chief Justice, while Gabriela Valdés was runner-up.
The final trial concerned a proposal entitled “Nueva visión para personas con discapacidades ,” an asset-based vision to utilize the unique worldviews of people with disabilities, and which was written by attorney Lucía Osorio. The attorneys and justices did an excellent job of probing constitutionality and offering suggestions for improvement in front of a crowd of over 250 delegates, staff, and guests as well as representatives from the Panamanian media.
Overall, the “Órgano judicial” did an outstanding job in aiding the development and improvement of their delegation’s proposals. Perhaps more importantly, however, the delegates were pioneers in establishing a successful court system at LALDZ, a legacy which will have a positive impact on thousands of future delegates.
Members of the Corte Suprema of the 2016 Las Américas Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session were as follows:
Magistrado Presidente: José Antonio Pérez Barboni
Magistradas y Magistrados: Diego Echevers, Sotiris Glegles, Emily Martin, Alexandra Rueda, Suhaila Singh, and Gabriela Valdés
Abogadas y Abogados: Mónica Amo, Carlos Arroyo, Javier Bernal, Andrea Borrero, Juan Manuel Caballero, Adrián Cornejo, Gabriela Hernández, Diego Herrera, Aarón Leis, Luis Felipe Moreno, Orlando Montenegro, Karina Ortiz, Lucía Osorio, Natalia Troncoso, Amanda Vallarino, and María Fabiola Villa-Real
Staff members were: Carlos Causadías (Bailiff/Assistant Director of Attorneys), Carlos Chevalier (Bailiff/Assistant Director of Justices), Ana Carolina Mejía (Director of Attorneys), and Christopher Burge (Director of the Supreme Court).