Potential law that could strip Attorney General's office of investigative power

May 28, 2013
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A possible law that would limit the AG's investigative ability

The Attorney General's Office in Brazil may soon no longer be able to investigate criminals, thus leaving the duty for law enforcement officers only.

A current Proposed Ammendment to the Constitution (PEC 37) would strip the Attorney General's Office from any investigative powers it once held. A number of lobbyists and other organizations have shown their support, including the Federal Council of the Bar Association of Brazil (OAB). The group decided recently to offer its support, even though some lawyers in Brazil and other legal professionals are against it.

OAB president Marcus Furtado recently gave a statement indicating that the organization is coming together to express itself as a collective entity in order to do what it can to see the PEC agreed upon and written into law.

"The OAB will now go to express itself in unison, in all corners of the country, arguing, fighting and using all its strength to support the approval of PEC 37," Furtado said.

In addition to showing their support, members of the OAB are speaking in front of the House of Representatives, promoting the benefits of the PEC, offering suggestions pertaining to its implementation and advising best practices on how to go about enforcing it. There is hope that this will open up discussion about the PEC where others can share their opinions and perhaps become educated on the advantages of the proposed ammendment.

The driving force behind the advocation for this PEC is the sentiment that the AG is supposed to be acting in the best interest of the public. Many have expressed their opinion on the matter, suggesting that by leading a criminal investigation, the AG is misrepresenting the public, which is why police officers are best suited for the responsibility.

Lawyer Edson Smaniatto, who spoke on behalf of the OAB at a recent congressional hearing, is one of the more vocal proponents of the PEC, suggesting that police and the AG's office must behave in different ways if they want to succeed at their jobs and that each should be given an opportunity to do so.

Working with Brazilian lawyers can help professionals interested in doing business in the country obtain a stronger understanding of this and other potential new laws in the country. It's important for business owners looking to expand in Brazil to have solid knowledge of the country's legal proceedings, and partnering with lawyers in Brazil will help with the process.

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