June 26, 2010

Exclusive look at Joran van der Sloot's prison courtroom

Posted: 02:32 PM ET

Lima, Peru – It was back to Peru’s Castro Castro prison again, this time to see their fully-functioning courthouse on prison grounds. Luis Iglesias, the administrator for prison courtrooms, told me the reason the court building was built in the first place was because of security issues plaguing the Lima community. Prisoners had a tendency to try, and sometimes succeed at escaping from custody while being transported to Lima’s grand Palace of Justice for their court appearances. The answer was this courthouse adjoining the prison itself.

Prison officials let me trace the steps on camera to show how van der Sloot has and will continue to come to the prison courthouse for his appearances.  He is led through the massive prison gates from his cell, into the back entrance of the courthouse and sits on a holding cell bench until being called.

While we were in the midst of shooting in that particular area, six defendants came through the door from their prison cells, and they were frisked inches away from me.  By allowing inmates to wear their own clothes, the risk of weapons or virtually anything illegal in their pockets is a definite reality. I saw no modern security screening for inmates, what I saw was only a physical search of the inmate himself.

For members of the public entering the front door of Castro Castro’s prison courthouse there is a rather simplistic security monitoring device to walk through. Everyone who comes in must show and leave their ID with officials at the door.

We were allowed to shoot the small courtroom where van der Sloot was taken during his formal appearance before Judge Morales Cordova on June 21, 2010.

The judicial process that is going on currently with van der Sloot is the investigation phase. It is led by Judge Cordova in what is called the court of “juzcado” or court of first instance. Any proceeding during this time is private, without any cameras allowed, but we appreciated Castro Castro giving our cameras an exclusive look at this “juzcado” court room which we were told had never been shot before.

We also watched and were able to videotape a Peruvian trial that was taking place in the same courtroom they say van der Sloot’s trial will be held in. It was very modest by American standards, but their courtroom proceedings are formal, streamlined and extremely serious.

The defendant sits in the middle of the courtroom, all by himself, while his attorney sits on the right side and prosecutors on the left.

The witness sits on the far left side angled to face the attorneys and the three-judge panel. The judges listen intently as the testimony is being given and sometimes consult amongst themselves. Under Peruvian law, the three judges do not have to rule unanimously, a simple majority will convict someone of their crime.

– Jean Casarez, In Session on truTV

Filed under: Case Updates • Joran van der Sloot

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paulaflwers   June 26th, 2010 3:26 pm ET

What sweet poetic justice if this trial goes fast and Joran van der Sloot becomes the past!!!! Justice for Natalee and Stephany.

Bill Carson   June 26th, 2010 8:13 pm ET

I thought Joran (inmate number 326390 ) was able to speak and read Spanish . Some of the news stories say he understands multiple languages . How can he claim he was tricked ?

anonymous   June 27th, 2010 11:52 am ET

so glad he is not being tried in the grand Palace of Justice. also that he is being considered a high risk. even though he does not have any money, I am sure he can still promise and bluff the poor Peruvians and buy his way to freedom. he is as dangerous as they come.

MB   June 27th, 2010 5:43 pm ET

Thank you, this was very informative.

Irene Allen   June 28th, 2010 2:10 am ET

Joran Van Der Sloot needs to be put away for life!!! 15-35 years is not long enough for a monster like him to get out and kill another innocent person. It's a known fact that he is the main and only suspect in Flores killing. He also know what happen to Natalie Holloway five years ago........

Bubba   June 28th, 2010 2:13 am ET

I feel sorry for the 2 girls he killed, but it's kinda' funny him being locked-up in that prison.....god has a real sense of humor-

Sheryl Chapman   June 28th, 2010 10:46 am ET

I have prayed for Beth Holloway for five years. Present, I am adding the Flores family.
Joran Van Der Sloot is was entanled in it own Black Widow Web. I feel this young monster is still "smirking" inside. Van Der Sloot has no conscieous – NONE.
Finally I pray, justice is on the horizon. Van Der Sloot deserves not less than DEATH.
He is a bad seed. Bad seeds have no position in our world. Plant him; he will not grow.
God Bless the Holloway's and the Flores' Families and God Bless the spirit of Natalie Holloway and Stephany Flores.

mary   June 28th, 2010 2:34 pm ET

I'm sure that the police/prosecuters are handling this case with caution. No way do they want this person to get off for any reason. Someone.someway will kill him before he can be tried....

Angel Luis   June 30th, 2010 9:23 am ET

This guy needs to pay for his crimes, but not in a Peruvian prison. He should serve his time in a European prison. (I know he is not European by birth, but he has Dutch citizenship, as do all Arubans) If what I've what I've read, on this very website, is true, no Human should be subject to the conditions that exist in this place. Those “people” are animals. A hole in the floor as a toilet and maybe-once-a-week showers are not acceptable.

Anna   June 30th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

@, Angel Luis what makes Joran more of a "human" than "those people" or( "animals" as you call them) in a Peruvian jail.

He should be right where he belongs, right where he is. the Lord works in mysterious ways, and He is in control. No attorney, or justice system can prevent the inevitable destiny of Joran van der Sloot.

I am from the same town as Natalee and keep up with the case. I can't believe 5 years to the day this happened to poor Stephany, and another person had to die but God's path has lead him to where he is. Let him sit, and wait it out right where he is b/c God's justice has already been served!

Paul   June 30th, 2010 9:42 pm ET

I'm so sick of Joran's lies and hope justice is finally brought against him. He can live with his false sense of entitlement and psychosis.

John W   July 1st, 2010 3:35 am ET

I agree with Angel. Those prisons in Peru are no place for people. They are inhumane! Good thing Joran is an animal otherwise I would have a real problem with his situation.

Swang   July 1st, 2010 11:14 am ET

A hole in the floor (without a lid) as a toilet is acceptable even if it is shared with 35 others in a community room. Once-a-week showers are acceptable for this "animal".

LC   July 2nd, 2010 10:08 am ET

This kid comitted a crime in a country that is not of his birth. big deal If he would have killed some on in the USA he would be in our justice system not a Dutch system. He killed someone in Peru he will stand trial there thats only right. This is not an incident of a government miss treating some one for political reasons. This is a animal that killed a poor young woman and then ran and got caught I hope he rots in there a fast death would be too good for him.

Kim David   July 2nd, 2010 11:28 am ET

It's nice to think that Stephany & Natalee are LOL at him going to the bathoom in a hole without toiletpaper. The whole world lol at him now.
Justice is the Lord's but Revenge is sweet.

toni   July 2nd, 2010 11:47 am ET

where were the rights of his victims when their lives were cut so short? the supreme court? give me a break. if he is sick and guilty, put Joran Mr. Scum out of his misery

Hector   July 2nd, 2010 10:08 pm ET

@Angel Luis

He deserves a European prison? Ha, what a joke. This is Peru. Half the population do not have roofs on their houses or running water.

He deserves the cold, slow death of Peruvian prison after what he did to those girls...

Ed Padilla   July 5th, 2010 11:06 am ET

Leave this guy right where he is.
I did time in Lurigancho Prison. Nearly died.
The Peruvians know about Lurigancho.

mi_chele   July 5th, 2010 1:40 pm ET

While I'd like him to be convicted and out of the news altogether, I'm kind of hoping it does take 2 years before his trial. He probably won't get that much time if/when he's convicted, so let's keep him locked up as long as possible. With any luck, the inmates will give him the justice he deserves.

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