|Lula da Silva. Possibly one of the only Silvas not at risk of false imprisonment.|
If you decide to move to Brazil one day, and your name is Silva, Souza or Pereira (all common names here), you'll want to be careful about not being confused with a bad guy. 56 cases here in São Paulo have been the result of false imprisonment for a similar name or nickname. In sum, these people spent 7 years, eight months, 18 days and 14 hours unjustly imprisoned--which is to say, the folks took a long time to be able to prove their innocence in a court of law. Cost to the system, after paying compensation to the falsely accused: R$1.7 million.
Some were imprisoned because someone had forged their RG in committing a crime. But some were because "Barbosa" was confused with "Barboza". An "Eronildo" with the nickname of "Nildo" was imprisoned in the place of a "Leonildo" also nicknamed "Nildo." And my favorite, a "Maria Aparecida" went to prison for a simple "Aparecida" with the same last name. And you cannot throw a stone without hitting a Maria Aparecida here...it is one of the most popular names.
So, maybe it makes sense now that the application I made for my husband to change the name on our house title was rejected by the mayor's office because the name was not correct. Why was it not correct? I hadn't put in his middle name, officially and legally part of his name. The use of his full name might save him from prison one day, I suppose.