Brazil Supreme Court moves to curb impunity loophole

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 02/29/2016

A decision by Brazil’s Supreme Court could prove as decisive as the country’s sweeping corruption investigations in curbing impunity in Latin America’s largest country, proponents claim.

The ruling this month by Brazil’s highest court ordered that a worker, who had already been convicted by a court for robbery and again on appeal, should begin serving a five-year jail sentence while awaiting the results of a further appeal to Brazil’s higher courts.

The decision sets an important precedent by closing a loophole in which convicted criminals are allowed to remain free until they have exhausted every avenue of appeal, including in the country’s higher constitutional courts. Skilled defense lawyers are able to draw out the process in the overburdened higher courts for so long that many convicted criminals can go free for decades pending appeal before serving time.

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