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Opinion: PEC 171 – Age of Criminal Responsibility in Brazil

Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - The Curmudgeon will today focus on Brazilian criminal law. “Boring!” you say, but you are wrong. This disquisition focuses on a proposed Constitutional Amendment (#171) that would lower the age of criminal punishment from 18 to 16.

Today, juveniles under the age of eighteen (even just one day under) who commit criminal acts (even murder) cannot be tried and sentenced as adults. They must be judged under a pie-in-the-sky statute that insists juveniles be “resocialized” and “rehabilitated”; more to the point, they cannot be imprisoned for over three years . . .

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