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Justice denies summary dismissal of criminal prosecution against bishop Sonia Hernandes and apostle Estevam Hernandes

Friday, November 10, 2017

Justice Edson Fachin of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) dismissed the Ordinary Appeal in Habeas Corpus (RHC) 144298, filed by the defense of Estevam Hernandes Filho and Sonia Haddad de Moraes Hernandes, founders of the Apostolic Church "Rebirth in Christ", against a Superior Court of Justice ruling that rejected a request for summary dismissal of criminal prosecution against in which they were convicted of foreign exchange fraud. The rapporteur pointed out that, in habeas corpus, it is not for the higher courts to reassess evidence to acquit defendants in pending criminal proceedings.

The defendants were arrested in January 2007 at Miami Airport (United States), after landing with $ 56,400 in their luggage. Because they did not declare the money, they were sentenced in that country for false declaration. In Brazil, they were accused and sentenced to three years' imprisonment, in a semi-open initial regime, for foreign exchange fraud, for leaving the country, without declaration, with more than R$ 10,000. In the request for summary dismissal of criminal prosecution, they claim that they have already been convicted of the same facts in the US, with a final and unappealable decision.

In rejecting the request, Justice Fachin pointed out that the jurisprudence of the STF is in the sense that the summary dismissal of criminal prosecution is an exceptional measure.

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