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Supreme Court rejects popular action to remove judge Joel Leonardo

The Supreme Court dismissed a popular action seeking to condemn the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSMJ) for allegedly failing to fulfill its obligation to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the president of these bodies, Joel Leonardo.

: Facebook Tribunal Supremo
Facebook Tribunal Supremo  

In the popular action, proposed by a group of lawyers led by the current President of the Bar Association, José Luís Domingos, it was stated that Joel Leonardo, in his role as president of the Supreme Court, "allegedly diverted revenues from the national treasury" and questioned the "inaction" of the CSMJ in the face of "serious public complaints" against the judge, who also presides over the CSMJ.

The popular action aimed to "request an anticipatory measure that consists of the court ordering the CSMJ to suspend and open disciplinary proceedings against the presiding judge of the Supreme Court and the CSMJ", followed by a main action to perform a due act.

However, in the rejection order, dated May 22nd and signed by the rapporteur judge, Paciência Simão, the judge rejects the request because she considers that the applicants, that is, the group of lawyers, "do not hold the right to action to perform a due act".

It is also justified that, for this action to be permitted, there would have to be a prior inquiry from the administration body and this would result in a non-decision, refusal to carry out an act or refusal to participate, which did not occur.

"From reading the initial application and the documents that accompany it, it appears that the applicants were unable to gather any file that they raised with the CSMJ to carry out the due act", that is, the suspension of Joel Leonardo and the consequent institution of a disciplinary process.

Therefore, the applicants could not request a conviction from the CSMJ for failing to suspend the judge, as they had not previously formulated the request with this body, according to the order.

The petition is rejected as "the request is unlikely to be justified", and for this purpose the Public Prosecutor's Office must be heard and preliminary investigations that the judge considers justified must be carried out, it is concluded.

The group of lawyers sent, in September last year, the popular administrative action to the Civil, Administrative, Tax and Customs Chamber of the TS.

According to the complainants, the facts listed for this action are in the public domain, through publications in digital media outlets and "are no longer protected by judicial secrecy, after having been widely publicized and without any reaction from the competent authorities".

"In view of the serious allegations against the revered presiding judge of the TS, Joel Leonardo, what moves us, in this action, is not the veracity or falsity of the accusations against him, but the inaction of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSMJ), which has a constitutional duty to act in situations of this kind and beyond", they say.

Joel Leonardo, president of the TS and inherent role of the CSMJ, is being investigated by the Attorney General's Office on suspicions of corruption, nepotism, mismanagement of the body and others, accusations that have been going on for months.


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