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Posted 27 Aug 2001   For week ended August 03, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 06Aug01

By Deborah Carl

LDS Polygamy Prosecutor Teaching Hondurans About Legal System

PROVO, UTAH -- David Leavitt, known for his prosecution of polygamist Tom Green, recently traveled to Honduras to help the country reform its legal system.

Leavitt was one of four legal experts asked by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Justice to assist Honduras as part of a foreign-aid package passed by Congress to assist the ailing country in cleaning up its dismal human-rights record and repairing damage remaining from Hurricane Mitch, which devastated much of the country in 1998.

Specifically Leavitt, the Juab County attorney, worked with a trial lawyer from Washington, D.C., and assistant U.S. attorneys from Washington, D.C., and San Diego to teach approximately 50 Honduran prosecutors about the American justice system. Honduras uses an inquisitional justice system where the judge is the jury and the criminal investigator. There are no oral court arguments and the judge rules from the written cases submitted by the prosecution and defense. The U.S. Agency for International Development estimates that 90 percent of Honduran prisoners have not had a trial nor have they been formally sentenced.

As part of the reforms, efforts have been under way to teach citizens how to vote, to train civil servants to meet the needs of communities, and to train judges in the U.S. legal system. Leavitt, who learned Spanish while serving a proselytizing mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the ghettos of New York, taught how to question witnesses on the stand and how to present oral arguments before a judge.


Revamping Honduran law
Deseret News 31Jul01 P2
By Geoffrey Fattah: Deseret News staff writer
Green prosecutor flies south to aid legal reformation


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