Opinion: How the Presumption of Innocence Could Cause a Brazilian Constitutional Crisis

A simple lawsuit could ignite the fuse attached to the political powder keg underlying the Legislative and Judicial Branches of Brazil’s government, with regrettable consequences for both.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - The landmark decision, on November 7th, by Brazil’s Supreme Court (STF), holding by a slim 6 – 5 margin that persons convicted of crimes cannot be forced to serve their sentences until all their appeals have been exhausted, has caused a political uproar.

More importantly, it is about to create a serious institutional and constitutional crisis in Brazil.

Brazil’s 1988 Federal Constitution, Article 5, guarantees to all citizens and resident foreigners “the inviolability of the right to life, to liberty, to equality, to safety and to property” and then itemizes, in Roman numerals, some 78 . . .

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