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Plagiarism scandal upends judge's pursuit of Mexican Supreme Court presidency

A justice on Mexico’s Supreme Court is facing a plagiarism scandal threatening to upend her effort to become the body’s president.

The week before Christmas, a bombshell accusation was made against Justice Yasmin Esquivel: that her 1987 law school thesis was essentially a carbon copy of a 1986 thesis. Screenshots from the original article show lengthy, identical portions of both. The library at Mexico’s National Autonomous University later confirmed that there was a “high level of coincidence” between both works, and a larger university investigation is underway.

Esquivel has denied the allegations, and released a statement Dec. 25 claiming that she had begun working on her thesis in 1985, that it was in fact her work, that may have been stolen and that the accusations are an attempt to derail her candidacy for the Supreme Court presidency. The court is scheduled to meet Jan. 2 to pick its next head.

Born and raised in the Intermountain West, Murphy Woodhouse has called southern Arizona home for most of the last decade. He’s one of two field correspondents at KJZZ’s Hermosillo bureau, where his reporting focuses on the trade relationship between Arizona, Sonora and the rest of Mexico.Before joining the station, Murphy was a reporter at the Arizona Daily Star and the Nogales International. Prior to his reporting career, he completed a master’s degree at the University of Arizona’s Center for Latin American Studies and did three wildfire seasons with the Snake River Hotshots. He’s a proud graduate of the University of Montana’s School of Journalism.When he’s not reporting, Murphy is often out in the woods running or riding singletrack, or swinging in a hammock with a book.