Brazilian Officials Debate on Age Tried as an Adult

June 10, 2013
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Debate on lowering the age to be tried as an adult

It would seem like a rare moment when both defense and criminal attorneys agree on a procedural matter, but that is the case now in Brazil as the attorney general and the Brazilian Federal Bar Association (OAB) are opposing a potential decision by the country's senate. The rule would lower the age that someone can be tried as an adult from 18 to 16.

The reason for the change is lower crime rates when it comes to situations of extreme violence and crime. There are current regulations in the Constitution and the Statute of the Child and Adolescent that forbids criminal punishment of persons under 18 years of age. Individuals from all sides of the argument are currently being heard by the house.

Representatives from the OAB have said this change would not help fight crime. According to Marcus Furtado Coelho, the president of the OAB, the proposal does not accomplish its intended purpose and the criminal justice system would not be fulfilling its role as the current prison system does not reintegrate the detainees into society.

Raquel Elias Dodge, a federal prosecutor, added in her argument that criminal punishment of persons under 18 years old does not allow for the rehabilitation of young offenders. Only proper education measures can handle that, which will not be available if they are locked away.

"In the end, the goal of the regulation is to recover this youth and not to punish. Allow him to have a healthy life, a future," Dodge said.

This outcome could affect anyone traveling or doing business in the country. Those individuals should seek out Brazilian lawyers to make sure they understand the laws if they change.

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