Brazilian Justice Orders Passports to Be Returned to US Pilots in 72 Hours

Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino, the two American pilots who have been retained in Brazil since the Legacy executive jet they piloted collided with a Boeing 737, which fell down in the Brazilian Amazon on September 29 killing all 154 people aboard, can get their passports back.

In a unanimous decision, the Regional Federal Court of the First Region, in Brasí­lia, decided, today that there’s no reason for the Brazilian Justice to keep the Americans passports, which were confiscated in Rio, at the beginning of October.

The pilots have been in virtual house arrest in a hotel in Rio since. The judicial decision requires that the documents be returned to the US pilots in 72 hours.

Federal chief judge Fernando Tourinho, federal judge Jamil Oliveira and the reporter and president of the session, Cândido Ribeiro, voted for the habeas corpus concession.

The documents had been seized by determination of Mato Grosso state’s federal police’s while authorities investigated the causes of Brazil’s worst air accident ever.

The Regional Federal Court believes that 72 hours are more than enough time for the Federal Police to still interview the pilots if they so wish.

While the two pilots are free to leave Brazil they must agree to go back to the country for further inquiry and judicial action if they are asked to by the Brazilian authorities.


  • Show Comments (15)

  • andy murphy


    Ji: Please do accept my sincere condolences over the loss of your relative.My prayers are for her and the other 153 souls.You are right,this forum is full of anti brazilian and anti american sentiments,without any thoughts of those victims.It is not easy to lose someone whom you loved.

    “American”:Thanks for supporting my view. We do not have rights to question the laws of other lands.This gets us into trouble many times!.

    Take care,both of you.

  • andy murphy

    I do not think that your beloved Congressman.King influenced or forced the Brazilian Justice.Plese do not put too much faith on your Congressman

  • andy murphy

    yeah,finally joe and jan can go is so sad that Capt.Decio,his copilot,cabin crew and the passengers did not survive.I do not think that Capt.Decio would have appreciated the whole ruckus. God bless all those who died in the Gol 1907.May their souls rest in peace.

    Thank you for reading my post

  • bo

    You’re right on the mark ch.c!! I’m an american living in brazil for close to 10 years now, and unfortunately brazilians react much differently when an accident, crime, etc., occurs and the culprit is a foreigner rather than a brazilian. It truly is discriminatory. This situation is one huge example of the mindset that many here have. The Jean Claude situation was another. Was truly unreal seeing the thousands of people protesting in front of the english embassy in brasilia, but when the PM’s in Rio go on operation “clean the streets”, and kill hundreds of innocent, poor, homeless people, you hear about it for a day or two, then all is forgotten.

  • Rick

    I still have a Terra handheld comm, which later was modified to panel mount, we thought they went out of business due to bad business decisions, thanks for the clarification.

  • Ji

    [quote]To Ji
    written by ch.c., 2006-12-06 05:18:30

    sorry for you……but read again all the testimonies, official reports saying :
    – shortage of ATC’s
    – inept ATC (as per his instructor) involved at the time of the crash
    – blindspots
    – wrong instruction by another ATC to the US pilots
    – software problems
    – radio problems [/quote]

    Sorry, ch.c., but my post was not intended for you.

  • ch.c.

    and to alltheway
    writing to the US government doesnt mean the US government will or would intervene, even if the letters are signed by a Congressman or whoever !

    Furthermore, I just refresh your memory, that far more letters, involvements from Brazilians Authorities, even Lula himself, and diplomatic missions have been done
    for puting pressure on the Jean Charles Menezes tragedy, during the London bombing !!!!

    Therefore, here again, Brazilians find normal and logic when their own authorities get involved, but as usual not so logic if it was the opposite way ! I said WAS, because thus far the US government has NOT intervened !

    Brazilians are really a bunch of idiots ! What they do is right, but they find others to be wrong if those would do the same as Brazilians already did !!!

    You simply confirm that you have a 2 speeds “Justice Thinking Analysis” in your brains, depending of who is involved : a brazilian of a foreigner !
    If a foreigner is involved it should one type of Justice and another type of Justice if a it is a Brazilian !
    You confirmed that too. Just look at the plane tragedy. Should the US pilots be responsible, the Brazilian Justice ALREADY ANNOUNCED they could be charged of In Involuntary Manslaughter and face jail term between 8 and 24 years.


    Strange…..isnt it ?

    Or will it end as “simple human(s) error(s)” with no blame and no punishment if the investigations reports will conclude that neither the US pilots and/or the US transponder
    are at fault, but that the tragedy were the results of Brazilians ATC and/or known but
    undisclosed blindspots ?

    Strange….isnt it ?

    Who is taking bets on the outcome…..if the Brazilian side is found to be responsible ?????

    It will simply end up in a huge pizza, as you call it yourselves ! The same happened in the vote buying scandal, for which the investigators clearly proved who were guilty, but at the end few were punished, the majority of the proved corrupted politicians were ABSOLVED… secret votes….by their peers… much corrupted.


  • Polo

    It’s about time…
    let the pilots go back their families, and bring the investigation to a conclusion so the families of the dead can get some closure.
    One small step at a time, I guess.

  • ch.c.

    To Ji
    sorry for you……but read again all the testimonies, official reports saying :
    – shortage of ATC’s
    – inept ATC (as per his instructor) involved at the time of the crash
    – blindspots
    – wrong instruction by another ATC to the US pilots
    – software problems
    – radio problems

    Soooooo Yessssssssss……Brazilians still accusing the US pilots are the ONES NOT caring and thinking for the pains and suffering of the families victims !

    And the sad reality of your own mess, that existed well earlier the tragedy, is what has created the plane crash !

    Sadly too, the US pilots have been accused, on purpose, to hide the sad reality of your own problems described above.

    Brazilians have told originally that they have the best ATCs, the best equipment in the world and Noooooo blindspots !!!!!!

    By now, it has been demonstrated that these statements were full of lies and bullshit.

    Hopefully, some Brazilians Authorities and Brazilians ATCs, will effectively be charged of Involuntary Manslaughter and facing 8 to 24 years jail term, as in the case of the US pilots, had they been responsible !

  • Allen Brown

    Well Okay
    Any thing can happen in 72 hours , and again they may not make it to the airport . just as so many other people dont get out of brazil .

    JI I dont think not one person here does not feel the loss . we have no way to know how much another person feals the loss of a loved one , may god bless you and yours

  • Keith Peshak

    sent to ‘’
    sent to ‘’

    In the case of the Brazil midair between the new Legacy 600 and the new 737-800 (there are no issues of “old” equipment or “improper maintenance”), we know why the Legacy 600 failed to show on “radar” (ATCRBS SSR), and why the TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) failed to detect the impending collision on both aircraft. We have been published in peer reviewed scientific journals by the international Institute Of Navigation in Britain, Germany, Korea, and the US; also in the FAA’s own technical journal (you can get a copy at your local Library of Congress: The 45th Annual Air Traffic Control Association Conference Proceedings for Fall 2000, Library of Congress Control Card Number 79-643160, ISSN 0192-8740, page 1).

    As with the midair crash in Germany (we aided Marion Blakey with the investigation when she was with the NTSB), where the radar controller descended the higher aircraft into the lower aircraft, believing that he was descending the lower aircraft away from the higher aircraft, the radar read wrong, and air traffic control caused the crash. In Brazil, the radar read wrong, showing the Legacy 600 to be conducting vertical maneuvers, while the FDR (flight data recorder) proved that the aircraft was straight and level (unaccelerated flight). Issue number one is you can not trust ground radar, and we know why. Issue number two is the back-up aircraft radar (TCAS) can not be trusted either, and we know why.

    The issue is, simply, the FAA TSO (technical standards order) is wrong. If you build them in conformance with the TSO then this will happen. The FAA originally called it “The Terra Problem” and put that transponder manufacturer out of business. It was, of course, no fault of Terra Avionics of Albuquerque New Mexico; it is the fault of the TSO. The FAA has invented “jargon” terms to describe the issue: Drop out, Track Jump, Phantoms, …; lest you doubt the efficacy of the air traffic control system.

    We know how to help you understand, and we know how to fix it (and that doesn’t even cost anything, if done right).

    sent to the Brazilian government on October 11th

    It is difficult for me, a designer of aircraft avionics (including transponders), an English speaker, to contact your government, even to determine whom best to contact, about an important issue. Hopefully this point of contact can translate my request, and forward the information to the appropriate agency.

    There was a story about a midair between a Boeing 737 and a Legacy executive jet on September 29th in the Amazon. There should be an investigation to determine if the transponder the subject of the attached AD was involved. If it was, then the pilots of the Legacy executive jet are very likely not to blame. If there was a different make and mark if transponder, the same may be true.

    The air traffic control radar, we call it ATCRBS, is a problematic system. The FAA has defined jargon to describe how well it operates: Drop Out, Coast Mode, Track Jump, Phantoms, Ring Around. These terms mean what they themselves portend.

    We have produced makes and marks of transponders, which are all different in operation. The FAA certification offices allow different technical specifications, which are logically inconsistent. Many work only with a specific unique subset of other systems (radars, TCASs), of which there are “generational” differences. The attached AD has to do with none of that separate issue. The attached AD has to do with a problem where this transponder, which may not be working logically functionally correctly anyway, just “turns itself off”.

    The transponder is the only way to see an aircraft on ground radar, or on collision avoidance systems of other aircraft. The old World War II “skin ping” echo ground radar does not work well at any reasonable range, cannot determine altitude without a second vertical scanning antenna, and is confused by weather, birds, “ground bounce”, …

    I am available for technical consultation.

  • an American

    I think you said it all Andy! It is a Brazilian issue decided by their system of justice … or are we the only people capable of self-righteousness?

  • Ji

    [quote]written by andy murphy, 2006-12-05 20:10:02

    yeah,finally joe and jan can go is so sad that Capt.Decio,his copilot,cabin crew and the passengers did not survive.I do not think that Capt.Decio would have appreciated the whole ruckus. God bless all those who died in the Gol 1907.May their souls rest in peace.

    Thank you for reading my post

    And thank you for your thoughtful allusion to the victims. As a relative of a young lady who was aboard the Gol plane, it was a relief to finally read on this site so full of hatred, a message of care and respect for those who suffered the most in that horrendous tragedy. God bless you, “andy murphy”, and “thank you for reading my post”.

  • GRingo

    Good news
    ItÀ‚´s good news that the pilots will finally be allowed to leave. However, finding a flight out may prove difficult given that airports are now closing! SP, BH and Brasilia. ItÀ‚´s going to get uglier before it gets any better. My money is on a full blown ATC meltdown before the yearÀ‚´s end. And Pires is still grumbling away that there are no problems. Me poupem!!,,OI1285597-EI7897,00.html

    And letÀ‚´s not forget this…,,OI1285359-EI7897,00.html

  • alltheway

    Yesterday, Congressman King of NY as reported in today’s NYP wrote a second letter to the US State Department asking them to get involved in their release

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