Sunday, November 24, 2013

How do you spell that? - São Paulo

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 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.


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