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Brazil: Killing of a Police Officer Now Considered a Heinous Crime

(July 16, 2015) A new law promulgated on July 7, 2015, by Brazilian President Dilma Roussef amends the Penal Code and a law on heinous crimes to make the killing of police officers and members of the Armed Forces, the National Public Security Force, and officers of the prison system, whether on the job or as a result of being a member of one of these institutions, a heinous crime. (Lei No. 13.142, de 6 de Julho de 2015, altera os arts. 121 e 129 do Decreto-Lei no 2.848, de 7 de dezembro de 1940 (Código Penal), e o art. 1º da Lei nº 8.072, de 25 de julho de 1990 (Lei de Crimes Hediondos), PLANALTO; Ivan Richard, Sancionada Lei que Torna Assassinato de Policiais Crime Hediondo, AGÊNCIA BRASIL (July 7, 2015); Código Penal [Penal Code], Decreto-Lei No. 2.848, de 7 de Dezembro de 1940 (as amended), PLANALTO.)

The newly approved law also establishes more severe punishments for crimes committed against the spouses or partners of police officers or their blood relatives, within the third degree of relationship, if the crime is motivated by their kinship with those officers. (Richard, supra; Lei No. 13.142, de 6 de Julho de 2015.)

Law No. 8,072 of July 25, 1990 determines which crimes are considered heinous and provides harsher punishments for those crimes. (Lei No. 8.072, de 25 de Julho de 1990 (as amended), PLANALTO.) The punishments include, inter alia, no right to amnesty, clemency (graça), or pardon (indulto) (art. 2(I)) and no right to bail (art. 2(II)); a longer period of time to be served in prison before eligibility for parole (art. 2 §§ 1 & 2); and incarceration in a maximum security facility (art. 3).