Mexico's Supreme Court strikes down Chihuahua state house-arrest law

Mexico's Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the practice of putting suspects under house arrest in a Monday ruling which _ while it applies only to the northern state of Chihuahua _ could eventually lead to appeals from other states.

In Mexico, prosecutors can ask a judge's permission to hold suspects at safe houses, hotels or homes if they have evidence of a crime but are not yet ready to file formal charges.

But the justices ruled 8-1 that the practice violates constitutional rights, because no provision is made for it in the Constitution.

The ruling came on an appeal filed by a group of Chihuahua state legislators. Chihuahua's recently-enacted house arrest law is not significantly different from that in many other of Mexico's 31 states.

While the ruling leaves Chihuahua without house-arrest, a series of technicalities make it unlikely that a large number of appeals could immediately be filed.

However, Justice Juan Diaz Romero said it was likely that the Constitution would have to be changed to prevent further appeals or challenges, AP reported.

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