Miller: “Prison Institutions systematically violate the right to defense of prisoners”

Mark Millera criminal lawyer based in Madrid, recently managed to repeat, for the second time, an unprecedented milestone: In this case, he managed to get the Criminal Chamber of the National High Court to authorize a client of his, in prison, to have a laptop to study his cause in his cell and that he could meet with him, privately, in a room with a table and two chairs, to work on his defense.

A laptop without internet connection.

He also obtained, from the court of appeal to which he appealed, that he be allowed to enter the prison with his computer and the corresponding tablet.

They are two historical milestones. Because normality is that none of that is possible, today. In fact, this authorization is exceptional.

And it should be the norm.

Molinero, a quarrelsome lawyer, who does not shrink from anything or anyone, is very clear about who is to blame: «Penal Institutions systematically violate the right to defense of prisoners. And he does it with the consent of the Public Prosecutor, the judges and us, the lawyers, because most of my colleagues are comfortable. To not disturb”.

According to Molinero, this cannot be. «The right of defense, contemplated in article 24 of the Constitution, does not belong to the lawyer. It’s from the customer. And the client has the right to access his cause. Which is in digital format. Because we are in the digital age.

And he adds: “What I have achieved is still considered a privilege. In a democratic state rights cannot be a privilege. The rights are exercised. are not asked«.

Molinero expressly draws attention to the fact that, today, in 2022, lawyers go to prison with their hands in their pockets, a pen and a piece of paper.

“In this way we cannot carry out our work effectively, real and rigorously,” he stresses.

The lawyer also wonders «Why does the imprisoned client have worse conditions to defend himself than a client in freedom? The prison cannot reduce his defense conditions, but it is doing so. Currently, the rights of prisoners are systematically violated. Because from the courts, the Provincial Courts, the National Court, the Supreme Court and Penitentiary Institutions what I am talking about are considered privileges. Because we can’t meet with our clients with a computer. They do not let you”.


In Marcos Molinero’s opinion, there are four options.

«The first is that the inmate buys it in the penitentiary; the second is to use the PC that is in the modules, which is difficult because there is usually one for a lot of people; the third is that it be provided by the Administration of Justice itself, as happened last September when the Provincial Court of Madrid authorized it, expressly indicating that the Agency for the Digital Administration of the Community of Madrid would provide it; and fourth, that it is bought abroad, or that being his property, abroad, is taken to him, after supervision by the court. There is no more », he clarifies.

The lawyer is very clear that if the prisoner does not have financial resources, it is up to the Administration to provide him with a laptop.

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