Law that gives superpowers to São Paulo State Court is challenged in Supreme Court

Direct action of unconstitutionality is filled by the Office of Attorney General Direct action of unconstitutionality is filled by the Office of Attorney General

In response to an unprecedented joint effort by the São Paulo State Public Defender’s Office, the State Public Prosecutors Office, the Judges for Democracy Association, the Brazilian Bar Association and civil society organizations, the Office of the Attorney General has filed a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality with the Supreme Court against Complementary State Law No. 1208.

By creating a centralized department for the enforcement of prison sentences in São Paulo and giving the Superior Council of the Judiciary the responsibility for appointing and removing judges, the law threatens the independence of judges and paves the way for the ideological control of court rulings, a criticism currently leveled against the Department of Police Inquiries and Criminal Investigators (DIPO) of the Criminal Courthouse of Barra Funda, in São Paulo.

The law proposed by the São Paulo State Court, with the broad support of the São Paulo state government, was approved by the state legislature in August, after being granted fast track status.

“This law threatens the principles of the ‘natural judge’ and the ‘non-removability’ of judges, which guarantee an impartial adjudication and protect both the judge and the citizen,” said Rafael Custódio, coordinator of the Justice program at Conectas. “Moreover, the concentration of the courts in a single department in the São Paulo state capital further removes, both physically and symbolically, the prisoner, their family and their defense counsel from the justice system.”

According to Custódio, the decision of the Office of the Attorney General to file the case with the Supreme Court adds strength to the mobilization of civil society against the move by the São Paulo judiciary and increases the chances that an injunction will halt the process of implementing the law.

The Direct Action of Unconstitutionality, ADI 5070, has been fully endorsed by Attorney General, Rodrigo Janot, and may be consulted here.

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