judge's hammer

Judge caught kissing ‘highly dangerous criminal’ whose sentence she sought to reduce

A major scandal occurred in Argentina just after Christmas. About one week after her court sentenced a man to life in prison, a video shows her potentially kissing the inmate. This is further complicated by the fact that she was the only judge of the three who advocated for a lesser sentence.

Judge Caught Kissing A Dangerous Inmate

Judge Mariel Suárez is currently under investigation for alleged inappropriate conduct with a convicted criminal. This comes after some video footage leaked online of her and inmate Cristian ‘Mai’ Bustos together at the Penitentiary Institute (IPP) in Trelew in Argentina. In the video, it appears as though the judge is kissing the inmate, who is a convicted killer. (1)

Suárez, along with judges María Laura Martini and Ximena Miranda Nastovich sentenced Bustos to a life behind bars on December 22. The difference is that Suárez was the only one of the three who advocated for a lesser sentence for Bustos. This adds just another confounding factor to the situation. (2)

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Judge Mariel Suárez (left) and Cristian ‘Mai’ Bustos (right)
Judge Mariel Suárez (left) and Cristian ‘Mai’ Bustos (right). Image Credit: BA Times

“From the information communicated by the IPP, it appears that the judge has engaged in inappropriate conduct for a magistrate. The proceedings are aimed at elucidating the circumstances of the meeting between a judge and a convicted person, the tenor of the meeting, its duration and its characteristics, which could imply violations of the Public Ethics Law and/or the General Internal Regulations of the Judiciary,” said Chubut’s Superior Court of Justice in a statement.

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The Original Crime

The court convicted Bustos of a crime that he committed back in 2008. The crime was the killing of police officer Leandro Roberts. Bustos fatally shot the officer while attempting to arrest him for a previous prison break. Busto’s brother was also killed in the gunfight and another officer was injured. At his trial in December, Busto admitted to pulling the trigger of the shot that killed officer Roberts. 

The security officer on duty was the first person to report the alleged kiss. He told his superiors that he saw the pair kiss in a classroom at the prison after they had shared a mate.

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The Judge’s Statement

Judge Suárez says that the accusation is false. She has explained that she is writing a book on Busto’s story, which is why she went to the jail and requested a meeting with him. The judge says that she did not know Busto personally before the trial and has no type of relationship with him. What appears to be a kiss in the video, she says, is actually just them leaning in to speak quieter. She says she felt as though they were being listened to, so she leaned in to say something in a hushed tone in his ear so that only he could hear it.

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“I have no sentimental relationship with this person, I have no personal ties. I am making a book with this person because of his story and it is the first one I am going to write. I will make a statement and show the documents so that they can see that the statement is real,” she said. “It was the first time I had seen him and we had talked about it [the sentencing]. I bumped into him, told him I was going to arrange an interview with him and told him I was going to write a book. He told me personal things and showed me his tattoos,” 

Screenshot from leaked video footage. Image Credit: BA Times

She says that what she was writing is a piece of investigative journalism, which is why the need for a private conversation was important. Judge Suárez explained that the inmate was happy because after 12 years he was finally being given the opportunity to tell his story to someone willing to listen.

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The Investigation

Still, the high courts are investigating the situation to determine if inappropriate conduct did happen and if so, what the consequences will be. 

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“The investigation will seek to determine the circumstances of the meeting between that judge and an inmate who is regarded as highly dangerous and was recently convicted following a trial in the city of Esquel,” the Supreme Court said in a statement. ”It will also look at how long the meeting lasted and its characteristics, with a view to confirming whether there have been violations of the Law of Public Ethics and internal judicial authority regulations.”

For now, Judge Suárez will have to wait until the investigation is complete before she knows what will happen next.

You can see the leaked footage below:

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Leaked video footage. Video credit: BA Times

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Sources

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  1. Argentine judge faces disciplinary action after allegedly kissing inmate serving life.” BA Times
  2. Female judge is caught KISSING Argentinian cop-killer who she tried to ensure avoided a life sentence.” Daily Mail. Chris Pleasance. January 2022.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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