David traveled to Washington D.C. on December 5th for meetings with representatives from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), The Office of Children’s Issues at the U.S. State Department, and a senior official in the Consulate General Office of the Brazilian government. The meetings went well and David was encouraged that more help is on the way. We’re hopeful that the people who can make a difference in this case will take the necessary actions which will lead to Sean coming home soon.
We encourage you to try to make it to one of the rallies being organized this Friday, December 12, in front of any of the Brazilian Consulate General offices around the country, especially New York where we expect a good crowd and will be giving out 200 “Bring Sean Home” t-shirts to supporters.
Update on Legal Case in Brazil: A Terrible Decision
Late last week Judge Luis Felipe Salomão, from the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) issued a stay to the Hague case pending at the 1st level federal court in Rio de Janeiro while he decides who has jurisdiction in the case, the State Court or the Federal Court. David needs the case to remain at the federal level to have any chance of a proper decision. It has been established precedent that Hague cases are handled at the federal level in Brazil, but Lins e Silva is trying to move the case to the Rio State court, to waste more time and exert his influence.
The filing in front of Judge Salomão was only to determine if the State or Federal court will decide this case. Instead of making a determination on the issue in front of him, Judge Salomão decided to weigh in on the merits of the case and stated that Sean would be exposed to “irreperable damage” if he had contact with David just before the holidays. Based on this, the Judge established that the case should be stayed until he makes his determination on which court should decide the case. Judge Salamão appointed the Federal Judge responsible for urgent matters, but forbid the Federal Court from proceeding with the psychological evaluations, and forbid the Federal Court from allowing visitation now, on the grounds that “such matters are not urgent.” He made this decision 12 hours before Sean was to be evaluated.
Judge Salomão, until last June, 2008, was a Judge from the 2nd Level State Court of Rio de Janeiro. What is most important for David now is having the conflict of jurisdiction issue decided by Judge Salomão before December 19th, the last day of work in STJ before their summer recess. The court will be closed for the holidays and will open again on February 1st. As of now, the records of the conflict of jurisdiction are with the Public Prosecution Service. If the Public Prosecutor sends the records back to Court this week, Judge Salomão needs to decide the conflict of jurisdiction issue immediately. We are not optimistic, however, given the absurdity of this most recent decision.
For more information on how cases are handled in the Brazilian legal system, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Brazil.