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How long will there be reductions in sentences? The unknown dimension of the hole of the 'law of only yes is yes'


The Judiciary tries to collect data from all the courts to x-ray the effects of the new norm, which already benefits more than 500 sexual offenders

The Law of Comprehensive Guarantee of Sexual Freedom, known as the

law of only yes is yes

, has opened a hole of incalculable proportions today.

The trickle of reductions in sentences for sexual offenders, which began shortly after the entry into force of the regulation on October 7, already accumulates more than 500 benefited criminals and has opened a gap between the two government partners.

The socialist wing of the Executive describes the sentence reductions as an "undesired effect" and wants urgent reform of the law to prevent sexual offenders from receiving lower penalties for the same behaviors than those that would have corresponded to them under the previous Penal Code.

Podemos —and especially the Ministry of Equality, promoter of the controversial law—, refuses to modify it and attributes the reductions in sentences and releases to an alleged malpractice of a “minority of judges”.


The big question that hovers is how long this phenomenon will last.

Until when will the news of those favored by the law approved by the Cortes continue?

A fact that no institution dares to predict, although several legal sources agree: the problem goes on for months or even years.

And it will continue to have effects in the middle of the electoral period, with the municipal and regional elections on May 28 and the general elections foreseeably at the end of the year.

More information

The law of 'only yes is yes': the debate that never existed

"Neither the Executive, nor the parliamentary groups that approved it, had the objective of reducing the sentence of any aggressor," admitted President Pedro Sánchez last week, in a meeting with the deputies and senators of his party.

But, as always when the Penal Code is retouched, its publication in the BOE activated the chain of legal springs that accompanies a modification of this depth.

Luis Ortiz, magistrate of the Provincial Court of Asturias and member of the Francisco de Vitoria Judicial Association (AJFV), explains that the

law of only yes is yes

can benefit not only those finally sentenced who have now requested the review of their sentences ( or are being re-examined ex officio).

It can also favor, he stresses, criminals convicted in the first instance and pending appeal, and even those investigated for crimes against sexual freedom for acts committed before the entry into force of the law and who have not yet been tried.

All this causes it to be "unpredictable" to know how long this trickle of review of sentences derived from favorable decisions for sex offenders will last, Ortiz adds.

Furthermore, there is a fourth scenario, to which the urgency of the PSOE to approve its counter-reform responds precisely.

There will be criminals who will be tried within months or years for acts committed between the entry into force of the law of the

only yes is yes

and the hypothetical approval of the socialist counter-reform.

These may be punished with a lower penalty than the one that would have been imposed with the Penal Code in force until October.

For this reason, Sánchez's party wants to plug this "unwanted" hole as soon as possible, as reflected in the proposal presented in Congress, which will not be debated until March 7: "This reform can only be in the future, having been consolidated the new normative reality in an irreversible way [...], both for crimes committed before the entry into force of the Law and for those that have been perpetrated while it is in force.

This is a consequence of the constitutional principle of the retroactivity of the most favorable law”.

Review of firm sentences.

For four months, no administration or official institution has launched to measure the scope of the

law of

only yes is yes

at the national level.

The trickle of rebates is known from the count carried out by the press of the court decisions that have transpired since the entry into force of the norm, or from the data provided by the press offices of the Superior Courts of Justice (TSJ) of the different autonomous communities.

Some incomplete figures (since, for example, some audiences have not communicated them), which prevent today from composing a precise x-ray of the phenomenon throughout Spain.

Last week, the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) decided to take the first step to solve part of the information deficit.

At the proposal of the spokesperson and president of the Observatory against Domestic and Gender Violence, the body announced that it will address the presidents of the TSJ and the Provincial Courts to send "all the resolutions issued in relation" to the law of

solo sí es sí

: “The purpose of the petition is to carry out a detailed analysis of the incidents that have arisen in the application of the law and to be able to offer verified data in a transparent manner”.

Legal sources emphasize that the easiest data to collect are those related to the review of final convictions, which can be reexamined ex officio or at the request of the aggressor.

The different sections of the provincial hearings handle these figures and some press offices of the TSJ had begun to request them and provide them to the media.

Some data that reveals that they still have work to do, and that the total number of beneficiaries with reduced sentences will foreseeably continue to grow.

For example, in the Provincial Court of Madrid, the largest collegiate body in the entire country, its 15 penal sections handle approximately 500 firm cases of sexual abuse and assault against prisoners sentenced to prison.

Of these, they have already put 430 under review —269 ex officio, and 161 at the request of a party.

But, as of February 9, only 216 had been resolved, reducing the sentence in 70 cases and rejecting the reduction in 146. The result of the rest that remains pending is expected to be known in the coming weeks;

but legal sources indicate that new requests may enter that will have to be resolved.

What's more, these decisions do not definitively close this waterway.

Those convicted (whether their request for a reduction is accepted or rejected) can appeal them.

Precisely, to avoid setbacks in higher bodies, the Madrid Court convened a meeting of magistrates in November to unify criteria.

An appointment that, according to legal sources, generated a lot of expectation and was attended by more judges than those who usually attend this type of summons.

The figures for Madrid are only those of a part of Spain: throughout the territory at least 1,479 have been analyzed

final sentences, according to data collected by this newspaper.

All of this, in a country that has nearly 4,000 inmates convicted of crimes against sexual freedom —although this number does not include prisoners also sentenced for a more serious crime (for example, homicide and sexual assault) or those serving their sentences in foreign prisons.

To give another example, as published by EL PAÍS, in the Basque Country practically all the sentences of this type of inmate have already been reviewed (104 of 121): 44% have been reduced.

However, other courts in the country have not released their full figures.

Appeal pending.

Parallel to the reductions in sentences for the review of final convictions, there have been reductions applied by courts when analyzing appeals filed against sentences handed down by lower courts and which, when the new legislation came into force, had not yet been resolved.

In these cases, the magistrates are obliged to reduce the punishment if they consider that the

law of only yes is yes

benefits the defendant, despite the fact that the previous ruling was correct under the previous rule.

Despite the fact that no Administration provides a national count of this type of resolutions, some have transcended through the media or the press offices of the courts.

For example, the TSJ of Andalusia "fully" confirmed a sentence of the High Court of Granada against a man who sexually assaulted his ex-wife, but reduced the sentence by two and a half years "applying the principle of retroactivity of the most favorable criminal law." —He stayed in 11 years and one day in jail.

The TSJ of Asturias reduced the sentence of another convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a minor by one year.

The Galician Supreme Court also lowered the punishment (in two years) for the rapist of a woman whom he met through the Tinder social network.

Or, when reviewing a resource,

Trials to celebrate.

According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the Spanish courts handed down 2,785 sentences in 2021 for crimes of sexual abuse and assault.

Some sentences that were issued after the corresponding trial.

Since the entry into force of the

law of only yes is yes,

two scenarios have been opened for the trials that are held now —and as long as the possible counter-reform of the PSOE does not go ahead.

On the one hand, in the oral hearings that deal with acts that were committed before the publication of the new norm, the judges must apply to the defendants the

law of only yes is yes.

if they find it more beneficial than the previous one.

And, in those that deal with alleged attacks committed after the dissemination of the new legislation in the BOE (as can be the case of the footballer Dani Alves if he manages to sit on the bench), the law of only yes is yes must be applied


, which opens the door for, in certain cases, sexual offenders to be punished with lower sentences than those provided before.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-02-16

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