Prosecutor and Police Try Last-Minute Maneuvers to Keep US Pilots in Brazil

Brazil’s Public Attorney Office and Federal Police are doing their best to prevent that American pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino, implicated in the collision with the Boeing 737 on September 29, leave the country tomorrow as ordered by a Brazilian higher court of Justice.

Failing that they will try at least to leave a strong impression  on those following the news of the release and on the pilots themselves.

The Federal Police, for example, before giving the passports back to the Americans, will try to indict Lepore and Paladino for what they call endangering Brazil’s air traffic safety. For this crime the Brazilian legislation calls for 2 to 5 years in prison.

The penal code that determines this penalty also says that jail time might rise to up to 12 years in case a plane falls down or is destroyed.

The Boeing crashed on the Amazon jungle killing all 154 people aboard in what became Brazil’s deadliest air tragedy ever. Charges of involuntary manslaughter or even culpable homicide are also in the cards.

Brasí­lia’s Regional Federal Court decision imposed a 6 pm deadline, this Friday, December 8, for the Federal Police to return the passports.

The federal authorities have also scheduled for Friday the Legacy jet pilots’ testimony. They will not receive their documents back, the Federal Police has already made it clear, before signing a document in which they vow to fully cooperate with the criminal probe in the future, including flying to Brazil if necessary.

It hasn’t been determined yet where the interrogation will occur. It could be in Brazilian capital Brasí­lia or in Rio de Janeiro, where Lepore and Paladino have been in virtual house arrest in a hotel since the beginning of October.

Brasí­lia would be the first choice, but due to the current chaos in the airports, taking the pilots from Rio to Brasí­lia by plane might be unfeasible.

Public prosecutor Adriana Brocks should make up her mind today if she will appeal the 1st Region’s (Federal District) Regional Federal Court decision to let the Americans go.

She told reporters on Wednesday that she hadn’t received yet a copy of the regional court’s order. Brocks wants to know in which juridical grounds the judges based their granting of habeas corpus relief before trying to reverse it.


  • Show Comments (13)

  • an American

    to the moral high ground team “***ALSO ON THE NEWS TODAY***

    Foley might not even be prosecuted
    This is getting worse and worse. Yesterday, the Republican-led House Ethics Committee ruled that the Republican leadership did nothing wrong in how it responded to the Foley incident. Now, according to ABC News, Mark Foley himself might not even be prosecuted:
    According to several sources, prosecutors have had difficulty establishing probable cause of a crime. The barrier in getting past the probable cause threshold was the statute on transmitting obscene materials to minors. Under federal law, the age of minors receiving obscene materials is 16.
    Republican-led Ethics Committee gives partisan ruling on Foley
    Gee, what a surprise! The Republican-led House Ethics Committee finished its investigation into the Mark Foley sex scandal, and concluded that nothing was unethical about the way the Republican leadership handled it:
    The panel voted to endorse an 89-page report recommending À¢€œno further investigative or disciplinary proceedings,À¢€Â against anyone in connection with the scandal, which is believed by many to have contributed to heavy Republican losses in the November election.
    It comes despite the fact that this same committee even admitted that a Republican House clerk had been addressing the Foley issue since 1995:
    The committee concluded that House Clerk Jeff Trandahl “repeatedly tried to address Rep. Foley’s conduct,” beginning with his 1995 election to the House, and “directly confronted Foley on the matter approximately ten times at various places for various reasons.”
    Dennis Hastert, the leader of the Republican majority, was found innocent by a Republican majority in the committee. How would we have expected any other ruling but this? This is where power can be such an asset.


    Today, in federal court, the ACLU and Human Rights First argued its case that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should be held accountable for the torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. military custody.
    Todayˢ۪s hearing marked the first time a federal court has considered whether top U.S. officials can be held legally accountable for the torture scandal in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The ACLU and Human Rights First filed the lawsuit in March 2005 on behalf of nine innocent civilians who were detained by the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan. While in U.S. custody, the men were subjected to abuse, torture and other cruel and degrading treatment, including severe and repeated beatings, cutting with knives, sexual humiliation and assault, mock executions, death threats, and restraint in contorted and excruciating positions. All of the men were released without charge.
    À¢€œOur clientsÀ¢€™ case is about ensuring that thereÀ¢€™s meaningful accountability, to create an effective deterrent against future violations and to ensure the courtsÀ¢€™ ongoing role in enforcing the law against torture,À¢€Â said Deborah Pearlstein, director of Human Rights FirstÀ¢€™s Law and Security program. À¢€œThe Supreme Court has made it clear that wartime does not create a law-free zone.À¢€Â
    Rumsfeld moved to dismiss the lawsuit, hence, the hearing today.
    Todayˢ۪s hearing addressed the defendantsˢ۪ claim that they cannot be held legally liable for the torture of civilians in U.S. custody. The ACLU and Human Rights First argued that the Constitution and international law clearly prohibit torture and require commanders to act when they know or should have known of abuses. In addition to the orders they gave directly, Secretary Rumsfeld and the other defendants were repeatedly notified of abuse and torture at detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan by military reports, the International Red Cross and other reports and complaints by human rights organizations.
    The groups further charge in the lawsuit that Secretary Rumsfeld personally approved brutal and illegal interrogation techniques in December 2002. Those techniques included the use of À¢€œstress positions,À¢€Â the removal of clothing, the use of dogs, and isolation and sensory deprivation.
    The ACLU also brought three related lawsuits against Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, former Brigadier General Janis Karpinski and Colonel Thomas Pappas. The four cases were consolidated and transferred to Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. All of the defendants have moved to dismiss the suits in their entirety.
    The lawsuit is seeking compensatory damages for the plaintiffs and a court order declaring that the actions of Secretary Rumsfeld and the other officers violated the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes and international law.

  • bo

    yeah, whatever
    [quote]the controllers wished that they had the state of the art À¢€œgamingÀ¢€Â software that Brazilian air traffic controllers have. [/quote]

    “Yeah, brazilian technology and ingenuity, an example for the world” 😉

    And those stupid, backwardass yankees, their still in the middle ages in respect to technology, we all know that!! 😛

  • Simpleton

    Not so differnt
    Possesion is nine tenths of the law as they say. So long as they have the only living pilots in possesion there’s hope that the law suits will ultimately be able to extract payment (or is that ransom?). The GOL pilots cannot be found liable in any scenario to play out. It’s unlikely you can get recompense in any form from the military (i.e. ATC). As to Boeing, GOL or whoever outfitted and maintained thier aircraft and Embraer (and the government certification authorities that signed off on these aircraft to be worthy of flying the skies), good luck. Claims there are secondary possibilities at best and wouldn’t be entertained by the judicial body until after the share the parties of the first part (i.e. the live pilot’s and or thier employers) are liable for. Thereafter you might get at the airborne equipment manufacturers but as yet there’s no smoking gun there so you don’t count anything on that.

    Didn’t follow locally published procedures that were to be followed for emergency circumstances that you didn’t even know you were in? Guilty! Didn’t know someone chintzed on temporary insurance coverage before the brand new bird was officially commisioned at home base? Guilty! Now that you know you are going to go to prison in any case better get somebody / anybody to step up and guarantee everything and anything including to pay up on the future lawsuits or else.

  • ch.c.

    Stinky, Dirty and Smelly….
    …the Brazilian (IN)Justice !!!!!!

    As a post member said….Brazilians better jail some of their ATCs and I add ……. and their hierarchy up to the Pampers Wearing Minister Pires !

    They lied from A to Z, by hiding the fact that for years the tens and tens of millions of air passengers were NOT AS SAFE …as they proclaimed !!!!!!!



    Sorry for the similarities but they did EXACTLY the same a year ago with the Foot and Mouth Disease in catlles :
    – first they accused a small neighbouring country (US pilots now)
    – then they accused the farmers (the ATCs not yet)
    – finally the government took the blame.

    Sadly enough because out of their 2005 Vaccines Sanitation voted budget of around 160 millions Reais, they freed only 30 millions until October, at the time the disease was discovered ! But of course originally thesy said they spent the money….which was UNTRUE !!!!!!

    This time, far worse than cattles, they played with HUMAN LIVES SAFETY !!!!!

    You can guess, why and how desperate they are to absolutely find the US pilots guilty !

    Brazil is a True Tropical Mud… I said so many times.

    And to Keith Peishak, hopefully you have read the recent article that the Brazilian software…is not as good as they said !

    Shame too to the President of the Brazilian Pilots Association who said texto “it was logical to SPECULATE” the US pilots guilty………as if the thousands and thousands
    of Brazilian pilots….were not aware…that there is a blindspot…..where the tragedy took place !!!!!! Same for Pires the Defense Minisiter, and several Air brigadiers in the Army !

    These guys are a bunch of bastards.

  • Polo

    SImply disgusting what these people are doing.
    Like already stated above, they’re adolescent twits with a penchant for the sensational and absurd – all the while scrambling little rats to cover their own government-paid fat asses.
    What a F****D UP ‘judicial’ system in that country..

  • Keith Peshak

    Lookie what we gots
    I donÀ¢€™t know if you folks noticed, but the radar failed at MIA (Miami Florida) yesterday. While they laid out a paper chart on the floor and started pushing little pieces of paper on it, to try to visualize where all of the airplanes might could be, in order to command every move of each airplane; the controllers wished that they had the state of the art À¢€œgamingÀ¢€Â software that Brazilian air traffic controllers have. True, where the Brazilian system shows the airplanes to be is what their pre-flight plan would have them, and is not modified by the changes ordered by Brazilian air traffic controllers while in flight… True, when the Brazilian radar actually picks up the occasional transponder reply, that causes the airplane to appear to pop up and down and maneuver around, because of the track jump between real and supposed positions on the Brazilian system… Still, it gives some idea of where each airplane might could be… See, the American gaming system, called coast mode, requires at least two previous transponder replies, which you donÀ¢€™t get with the American system, so they donÀ¢€™t show at all.

  • Ralph M

    Foolish Brazilian Authorities!
    Every pair of pilots who come to Brazil to pick up an Embraer aircraft are vulnerable to this same treatment. Joe and Jan were assigned to collision FL 370 by Brazilian ATC and they did as required. The only grounds for accusing them of anything are very confusing instructions regarding what to do if communications fail. Nothing could be flimsier! Absolutely no intent by the pilots! Attempting to make a case on this makes the authorities look like fools!

    Why don’t they just go ahead and say they want to indict them for being North Americans. That is all they want or have anyhow. How could anything be so rediculous?

    Joe and Jan brought Brazil $25,000,000 for that airplane and Brazil still has both! All those other pairs pf pilots need to think again about coming there with their $25,000,000! The world better quit buying those Brazilian airplanes to save their pilots! Guess Brazil hates foreign money!


  • Rick

    This week two known criminals were reportedly sentenced to death in a neighborhood near here. The sentence has not been carried out yet. The sentence was handed down by neighborhood warlords, called “traficantes”, who themselves deal in crime and drugs but will not tolerate penny ante criminals terrorizing the traficantesÀ‚´ neighborhoods, robbing houses and people on the street. The police try but canÀ‚´t keep up with it. High profile cases like the one being discussed may tend to simply keep the system so busy that there is no time left to keep the peace on the ground.

  • Mad Max

    Bananna Republic.

  • James




  • bo

    [quote]BrasÀƒ­lia would be the first choice, but due to the current chaos in the airports, taking the pilots from Rio to BrasÀƒ­lia by plane might be unfeasible.[/quote]

    LOL….classic. 😉

  • bo

    don’t they realize…
    that maneuveurs like this are truly making them look like people with no sense of dignity whatsoever. They are making themselves look like prejudicial assholes that complete ignore the facts of a situation and doing whatever they can to secure a scapegoat.

    The first thing these people need to realize is that if these pilots are found to truly be responsible and charged with a crime, the U.S. gov’t. WILL return them to Brazil to face the consequences of the the brazilian justice system. But because this would NEVER happen in Brazil, to a brazilian, they obviously think that every country on the planet has the same unfair, unreciprocal, policies that they themselves have!!

  • Gringo

    Simply retarded.
    QUOTED: “The Federal Police, for example, before giving the passports back to the Americans, will try to indict Lepore and Paladino for what they call endangering Brazil’s air traffic safety. For this crime the Brazilian legislation calls for 2 to 5 years in prison.”

    If this goes through, then I would hope to see PIRES (“Wonderful Waldir” as JC calls him) and the hundreds of controllers in this country charged with the very same crime. This is a petty charge, but not a surprising one from a country with an adolescent mind-set.

    Meanwhile, with the x-mas holidays approaching the local prison here will be allowing over 200 HIGH RISK THUGS (rapists, murderers and kidnappers) out for an unsupervised week to spend with their families. Ahhh. AinÀ‚´t that special. Wake up Brazil.

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