MISSION AND OBJECTIVES
Due to the considerable restrictions on access to justice by a large part of the Brazilian population, the phenomenon of convicting innocent people is an especially serious problem in our country.
To combat and prevent it, the Innocence Project Brasil acts on several fronts.
We analyze cases of possible innocents definitively convicted of crimes they did not commit, we investigate the cases to obtain new evidence of the innocence of the condemned and, when we manage to produce this evidence, we fight in the Courts for the freedom of our assisted ones. More information about our activity on behalf of convicted innocents is here.
We also stimulate debate and share knowledge about the causes of the conviction of innocent people
and the most effective remedies to prevent it, in addition to promoting a broader discussion on the
structural mechanisms that reproduce social inequality within the justice system and its impact on the
production of miscarriages of justice.
In partnership with the Law School of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo, the Innocence Project Brasil maintains a legal clinic in which law students have the opportunity to learn about miscarriage of justice from experts on the subject, as well as to act on the front line of real cases of possible innocents who asked the Project for help. The clinic is structured as a university extension activity and promotes the awareness of future professionals about the miscarriage of justice, its causes and forms of prevention; all from a dynamic and innovative learning experience.
All the victorious cases of the Project counted on the participation of our legal clinic’s students, who were fundamental in the study of the process and in the investigation in search of new proofs of innocence. In addition to complementing the training of students in the areas of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, the clinic encourages students to develop specific skills useful to their professional performance.
Over 100 law students have attended our clinic, which is open to students from all law schools who are able to attend in person.
The selection process for admission to the activity has periodic opening, disclosed in the social networks of the Innocence Project Brasil.
In addition to offering free legal assistance to people convicted of crimes they did not commit, we also act strategically through the preparation and promotion of informative documents and research on topics essential to prevent miscarriage of justice.
In June 2020 we published the Report "Proof of Recognition and Miscarriage of Justice", with the main objective of providing subsidies for the reformulation of the understanding of our courts regarding the recognition of suspects.
The Report was widely cited in the judgment of Habeas Corpus 598.886, in which the Sixth Panel of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) revolutionized the interpretation of the evidence arising from the recognition of persons, fixing essential paradigms to avoid the conviction of innocent people.
The Innocence Project Brasil acted as Amicus Curiae in that judgment, which has had wide practical repercussions: the precedent has already been mentioned in almost 300 new cases that have reached the STJ, coming from 23 of the 27 states of the country, and in more than 70% of them the Court used it to release or acquit convicts wrongly recognized by witnesses.
Also within the scope of its strategic action, in June 2021, the Project, in partnership with the Center for Research and Extension in Criminal Sciences of the University of São Paulo, officiated to the National Council of Justice (CNJ) for the creation of a Working Group to Prevent and Combat Miscarriage of Justice.
The Working Group was established by the CNJ in August 2021 and the meetings began the following October. The Innocence Project Brasil is represented by its Director Dora Cavalcanti, and actively participates in the preparation of a draft resolution aimed at disciplining the recognition of suspects within the scope of the Judiciary.