Under discussion since 2010, the New Code of Criminal Procedure should be voted on this year. There are expectations that the working group at the House of Representatives will conclude the proposal in the following months and the Plenary will table with the vote for the end of the year, after the elections.
The current Code dates back to 1940. Throughout these eighty years, several legislative changes have amended the Code, such as the 2019 Law, known as the “Anti-crime Package”.While these sporadic changes may be circumstantial, they end up conferring legal inconsistency to the system.
Since criminal proceedings are the ruler measuring the quality of the Rule of Law, it is ideal that it be guaranteed and rigid in submission to the Federal Constitution, to avoid the excesses of the State and the selectivity of the criminal system originating in recent past that we should not be proud of.
For this reason, improvements that regulate the investigative authority of the Public Prosecutor’s Office; the inclusion of rules on restorative justice, international legal cooperation; use of digital evidence, and pacification of the competencies of civil and military police should be celebrated.
However, controversial points are still pending a vote, such as restrictions on search and seizure actions; the possibility for counsel to make parallel investigations and produce evidence (defensive investigation); the early enforcement of the sentence (commonly known as “second instance imprisonment”) and rules on the use of police force.
As far as this the last point, it is worth emphasizing that it is not a matter of diminishing the power of the police authorities to act but to avoid excesses and impunity in the deaths of civilians and innocent people. It is possible to observe that after the installation of cameras on police uniforms, deaths by police officers in São Paulo fell by 80%.
Another great advance is the transfer of focus to victims’ rights and the so-called restorative justice, which aims to help the victim overcome the trauma suffered.
The hope is that these changes will provide greater justice for Brazilian citizens, whether by the criminal process itself or by better application of public spending because the prison situation is a matter that requires attention and care, having even been judged as a State of Unconstitutional Things by the Supreme Court, making one of the functions of the penalty, that of rehabilitation, appear only on paper.