It was Tuesday afternoon (8) at the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), in Brasília, and the lawyer from the Minas Gerais Public Defender’s Office Flávio Wandeck was preparing for another oral argument. In the plenary, four ministers, accompanied by the deputy attorney general of the Republic, began the trial of an action involving nothing more, nothing less than the theft of two chickens that occurred in 2014.
The man on trial had already been summarily acquitted, even at the initial stage of the process, in a monocratic decision, that is, taken by just one judge. But the case was reopened in plenary so that new circumstances of the robbery could be evaluated.
On his social media profile, Wandeck shared his experience in the session: “The day I left home and went to the STJ to defend a man who stole two chickens. Yes, two chickens. After 13 years of public defender work, I discovered that the folk Chicken thief exists. And I was there defending him. At the STJ”, wrote the lawyer.
According to the case’s rapporteur, Minister Antonio Saldanha Palheiro, “following guidelines from the Superior Federal Court”, for qualified theft to be considered insignificant it is necessary to assess the danger and offensiveness of the accused, in addition to considering whether the crime is something specific or habitual. All this before determining the defendant’s acquittal.
“I was touched, especially because chicken theft is the classic of insignificant theft, but this in the interior of Minas Gerais can mean a lot to the injured party. So the court considers that it has to deepen the investigation to at least verify the issue of the aggressor’s antecedents [julgado]”, said Saldanha to vote against the acquittal. Minister Jesuíno Rissato had the same understanding.
Ministers Rogerio Schietti and Sebastião Reis understood that the theft may have been for food and maintained the monocratic decision given previously. As there were only four ministers and the Sixth Panel is made up of five magistrates, the result has not yet been defined.
The final resolution with the tiebreaker awaits the arrival of a new member to form the group specializing in criminal law. It must come from one of the three new ministers appointed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and approved by the Senate – among them Minas Gerais judge Afrânio Vilela. The expectation is that the inauguration will take place on November 22, if the appointments are published before that date in the Official Gazette of the Union.