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Mexican Law/statute of limitations for murder


QUESTION: Is there a statute of limitations for murder in Mexico? This seems like it should be an easy question to answer but I haven't had any luck - is it possible this is determined state by state?
My interest stems from an extradition case that has led to a lengthy sentence in Mexico based on only the most circumstantial of evidence.

ANSWER: Dear Nancy,

Yes, there is a statute of limitations for all crimes in Mexico. It varies state by state. Typically the time is the same as the maximum prison term for the crime in question. These rules are always found in the Código de Procedimientos Penales for the state in question.


Lic. John Lee Ward
Córdoba, Veracruz

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QUESTION: How are voluntary and involuntary manslaughter differentiated in Mexico? Which is "homicidio simple" ?
Thank you so much.

ANSWER: Dear Nancy,

The classifications for murder are not exactly analogous in US Law and Mexican Law.
However, Homocidio simple is what would normally be manslaughter in the US.
Homocidio calificado is what would be first or second degree murder in the US.
In Mexico, Homocidio is also classifed as "culposo" or "doloso", roughly translated as negligent or intentional murder.

In the US, the boundaries between the types of manslaughter and second degree murder can be fuzzy. In Mexico, there is not as much "fuziness". Less stess is placed on the mental element than in the US and more stress on the objective circumstances. For example, in Mexico, if a man kills another in a bar, its going to be a homicidio de riña, a type of homicidio simple. End of story. In the US, one is never quite sure how its going to turn out.

Hope this helps...


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QUESTION: If there is a five year statute of limitations for non capital crimes in the US, how is it possible for someone to be extradited for a crime that occurred ten years ago? I've read that this statute does not apply to "fugitives" and one can be classified as a fugitive even if completely unaware that there is a warrant. For example: Bob is visiting a village in Mexico, a murder is committed in the town, someone says it was a gringo, Bob is the only gringo they know therefore it must be Bob, who had returned to the US once his FMT expired. He goes about his life, gets married, starts a business and has absolutely no idea an arrest warrant was issued three months after he had left. He lives openly, nothing to indicate a life in hiding and yet, ten years later, US Marshals arrest him saying Mexico has asked for his extradition and since the US just rubber stamps these things, he is shipped off to Mexico, without any papers, and dropped into a completely foreign system. What rights does he have at this point? Any of the constitutional rights he had as a citizen of the US or is he now protected under Mexican law? He has had no visits form the US Consul, and all he has is a defensor de oficio who seems in over her head. Are there organizations that could help? He is not in a position to hire a private attorney and his case is now moving to the second instancia. Thank you so much, I'm in need of more extensive research material and I greatly appreciate any help you can provide. Again, thank you so much!

Dear Nancy,

While in Mexico, Bob is protected by the Mexican Constitution and the International Treaties to which Mexico is a party. He now has no protections based on his US Citizenship. Because he was extradited from the US, there is probably no requirement for him to be visited by the Consul. The US Government is already very aware of the situation and has esentially given the green light to Mexico to try him for murder.

If you wish, send me more information and I may be able to at least get more information for you.
After the second instancia, if he is convicted, what follows is an Amparo Directo. The "juicio de amparo" is my specialty. I may be able to work something out to handle that process for him.

My direct email is:



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John Lee Ward


I can respond to any question related to Mexican Law and common business practices in Mexico. I can also compare and contrast between the American and Mexican legal systems.


Licenciatura en Derecho from the Universidad del Golfo en Cordoba, Veracruz. (Cedula Profesional No. 5713238) Maestria en Derecho from the Universidad de Cristobal Colon en Veracruz, Veracruz. (Cedula Professional No. 6358321) Currently a Candidate for a Doctorado en Derecho from the Universidad de Cristobal Colon. 5 years of litigation experience in Mexico.

Bachelors in Electronic Engineering, California Polytechnic State Univ. Juris Doctor, Concord University in Los Angeles Licenciatura en Derecho, Universidad del Golfo, Mexico Maestria en Derecho, Universidad de Cristobal Colon, Mexico Doctorado en Derecho (In Progress), Universidad de Cristobal Colon, Mexico

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