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President of Superior Justice Tribunal Denies Lula Habeas Corpus

07/11/2018 - 12h11

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REYNALDO TUROLLO JR.
BRASILIA

On Tuesday (the 10th), the president of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), Justice Laurita Vaz, denied former president Lula a habeas corpus injunction and stated that it was not in the jurisdiction of the acting chairman of the regional court to release him.

Justice Vaz decided to settle the judicial dispute that began on Sunday (the 8th) when federal judge Rogério Favreto, the acting chairman of the TRF-4 court, ordered that Lula be released from prison after having been convicted in a second instance court in the "triplex lawsuit", concerning a beachfront property in the city of Guarujá (in the state of São Paulo).

Foto: André Feltes/Folhapress
Judges Rogério Favreto and Sérgio Moro
Judges Rogério Favreto and Sérgio Moro

The decision was reversed by the president of the court, Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores, following actions taken by lower court judge Sergio Moro and judge João Pedro Gebran Neto, who oversaw the Lula trial in the TRF-4 court.

The habeas corpus petition analysed by Justice Laurita Vaz was requested by a lawyer based in São Paulo who challenged Flores' ruling. Ever since Sunday, the STJ received 146 separate habeas corpus requests put forward by people who are not a part of Lula's official defense team.

Justice Vaz said that the legal dispute on Sunday represented a "procedural upheaval [that was] unprecedented in the history of Brazilian law," having provoked a jurisdictional conflict in which the acting chairman of the TRF-4 and the judge who presided over the Lula trial in the same court were at odds with each other.

According to Vaz, the dispute led Thompson Flores to take urgent precautions based on the Regional Court's internal norms.

She considered that the actions of judges Moro and Gebran were legitimate. Moro has already defied superior courts on four occasions and only in the case concerning the arrest of former chief of staff José Dirceu were his actions reversed.

In addition to the habeas corpus petition, which she analyzed, Justice Vaz will also determine whether a complaint filed by the Attorney General's Office (PGR) shall stand. The PGR requested that habeas corpus requests concerning Lula should be analysed by the STJ and not by lower courts.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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