|Corrupt Panama attorney José Luis Garcia Sánchez|
Attorney Garcia served two years in prison, for stealing six figures from an American client from Texas. After his release, he went right back to work, for Panama has no functioning lawyer disciplinary system; it requires only graduation from a recognized law school to practice law, there is no bar exam, and no ethics section to pass, before one can be admitted.
After leaving prison, Attorney Garcia went right back to the practice of law, including his old tricks, taking fees, but not doing the work he agreed to perform for his clients. Inasmuch as the court system is inefficient, and totally corrupt, meaning that justice can be delayed, or denied, for a price. Attorneys who cross the line are never punished.
His biggest mistake: While representing a client who had multiple claims against the American fraudster we have chosen to call "the Bill Cosby of Panama," due to his actions, the sexual predator, Gary James Lundgren. Sr. Garcia sold his client out to Lundgren's lawyer, Alcides Bartolo Peña Araya, who has paid him handsomely for his betrayal.
Garcia deliberately failed to make required filings, missed court dates, dragged his feet whenever possible, and in general insured that justice would never be served for his client, as his acceptance of regular bribes from Peña insured that the case would go nowhere. His deception has now been discovered, and his "services" terminated. He has violated the most sacred tenet of the law: to zealously represent your client, and he belongs back in prison.
Unfortunately, the bar of Panama is full of such corrupt types; all hustling for money, at the expense of their trusting clients. Unless you retain a top-flight lawyer, in a reputable firm with ethics that they expect their partners to adhere to, you may end up with someone like José Luis Garcia Sánchez, who will collude with someone like Alcides Bartolo Peña Araya, and you will lose your case. Watch yourself in Panama, for it is full of snakes with law licenses.