Brazil Court Shortens Legacy Midair Pilots’ Sentences
by Richard Pedicini
The American pilots of the Embraer Legacy 600 who the Brazilian courts found negligent in the 2006 Amazon midair that killed all 154 aboard a Boeing 737 had their sentences cut by the Superior Tribunal of Justice (STJ), Brazil’s second-highest court.
Hard-line judge Laurita Vaz reduced the sentences of the pilots–Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino–to two years and four months “in open regime,” recognizing that the TRF1 circuit court had double-counted the factor of “failure to observe a professional rule” in arriving at the previous sentence of three years, one month and 10 days. Lawyer Theodomiro Dias told AIN he has already appealed to the full chamber because the appeals judge refused to examine if the circuit court erred in interpreting snippets of cockpit voice recorder dialog out of context, ignoring more technical proof.
How the Brazilian “open regime” sentence would be applied in the U.S. remains “uncertain,” Dias told AIN. The TRF1 already overturned the trial court’s suspension of the pilots’ flying licenses. The FAA has declined to extend to the U.S. its Brazilian equivalent ANAC’s administrative suspension of the licenses.