His name is Alcides Bartolo Peña Araya, (Panamanian government ID Number 8-220-979)* and he has an astounding 100% success rate with his cases in the Republic of Panama, though he never goes to trial on any of them. Most Panama City lawyers tell me that they have never seen him in a courtroom. He has no office; he has been referred to as a mobile lawyer, meaning that he literally works out of his car. So how can he be so successful and wealthy ?
It's easy; for Sr. Peña is one of the dirtiest lawyers Panama has, and that's saying a lot, given that the country's court system is known for its corrupt, bought-and-paid-for judiciary, all the way up to the Supreme Court of Justice. Here is how Alcides Peña operates:
(1) Peña bribes the Fiscal (prosecutor) to infinitely delay the criminal cases in which his client is the defendant. The cases never go to trial; justice delayed is justice denied. Bribing judges is commonplace for Peña, for whom the end justifies the means.
(2) In the field of civil litigation, he engages in bribing the secretaries, court clerk, office staff, file room clerks, and whatever other staff involved in the case, so that files are destroyed, pages removed, evidence lost, and whatever other sundry dirty tricks, and thefts, that he is able to pull on opposing counsel.
(3) He pays off interpreters and the staff at their companies, so that any necessary interpreter always is unavailable, or fails to show up for a court appearance of the parties. As the result, no cases ever move forward, where his client is the defendant, or subject to a counterclaim. Delays for four years or more are common in his caseload. Many opponents run out of money, or leave Panama permanently.
(4) He obtains, from corrupt members of the judiciary, ex parte injunctive relief, which is illegal under the Laws of Panama, including prohibitions on international travel, while the case is pending.
(5) He schedules court hearings, and fails to notify the opposing attorneys, which is unethical and improper in any jurisdiction, so that he can prevail upon a judge to enter a ruling favorable to his client.
(6) He threatens bodily harm upon any victims of crime, whom he cannot pay off or otherwise beat in court, using all the above corrupt techniques and actions.
(7) When all else fails, he boldly bribes opposing counsel, thereby insuring that he will never lose a hearing or motion, for his opponent, whose lawyer's palm has been greased, is a no-show in court. He just doesn't know that his lawyer is working with his opponent's lawyer, and his repeated failure to show up to oppose Peña'a motions means that they are always granted.
How can he get away with all this ? Panama has no bar exam, and no effective attorney disciplinary process in exists. Peña takes full advantage of Panama's rampant official corruption, to get a win for his clients, at all costs, knowing that he will not be disciplined.
You may recall that Alcides Bartolo Peña has appeared on this blog before; he is the attorney for the American expat, Gary Lundgren, a known white-collar fraudster and sexual predator, who has been labeled the "Bill Cosby of Panama," due to his long and sordid history of sex crimes. Peña procures young girls for Lundgren, and cleans up the subsequent mess, insuring that criminal charges of rape or sexual battery are never filed. When necessary to protect Lundgren, Peña pays off the victims, and bribes anyone and everyone who can close up the matter in the court system.
* Panama Supreme Court attorney identification number 1247.