The tub of butter she stole from a market in São Paulo, in the southeast of Brazil, is worth less than US$ 1.50 (3.20 reais). The judge from the São Paulo’s 23rd Criminal Court, however, thought it was fair to send 19-year old maid Angélica Aparecida Souza Teodoro to jail for 4 years.
It also didn’t help that she had stolen the butter to prepare food for her two-year old son. Angélica, whose theft occurred on November 16 of last year, has already spent 128 days in the Pinheiros’ Temporary Detention Center known as cadeião (big jail), a place known for the cruelty prisoners are treated by the staff.
Their "reception" personnel at cadeião was known in the past for "welcoming" inmates with a "Polish corridor," a people-made passageway through which the prisoner passes getting blows from both sides of the human walls.
Ângela is expected to serve her sentence in a semi-open regime. This would allow her to work during the day, but she would still have to spend nights in jail.
The theft happened at a market in Jardim Maia, a poor neighborhood in the east side of São Paulo. The maid’s lawyer, Nilton José de Paula Trindade, is waiting for the ruling to be published in the Diário Oficial (Daily Gazette) to appeal the sentence.
According to Trindade, four years in jail is the minimum sentence contemplated by the Brazilian legislation for the crime committed by Ângela. He says, however, that he still believes the ruling can be reconsidered. "That’s because she is a first-time felon and has good police record."
The São Paulo branch of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) decried the sentence for what it considered a disparity between the crime and the state’s response to it, but they believe the ruling will be reviewed in the appeal.
Luís Flávio Borges D’Urso, OAB’s president, called the court decision "inconceivable and absurd."