Actions submitted to TSE have different prosecution

Actions submitted to TSE have different prosecution.

Due to the general elections of October, approximately 12,000 actions are expected to be submitted to the jurisdiction of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), an increase of almost 20% in relation to 2013. Last year, the Court analyzed 10,666 actions, plus the decisions by the trial court - individually rendered by an appellate judge.

TSE has jurisdiction over 45 procedural classes concerning elections, from actions for provisional remedy to writs of mandamus, including habeas corpus, habeas data and writs of injunction, among others. Among the decisions of the Court, it is possible to point out the representations concerning the presidential election, whose court of origin is TSE, and appeals, which are forwarded by the Regional Electoral Courts (TREs). Although the actions presented to the Electoral Court comply with a general prosecution rule, in fact each procedural class has peculiarities, resulting in a specific course of action until it is decided by the full court.

The representations are the actions filed by parties, coalitions and candidates, or by the Electoral Prosecution Office (MPE), for analyzing violations of Act 9,504/97, known as the Elections Act. They are submitted by MPE or by counsel duly appointed, and are filed by the Judicial Department (SJD) of TSE and assigned to one of the seven permanent appellate judges of the Court – if it is not a year of elections. At such point, there is the first peculiarity in prosecuting such type of action: in the years of elections, as this year, the representations are assigned to deputy appellate judges, and not to the permanent ones. Traditionally, the deputy appellate judges are liable for analyzing and reporting such representations during the year of elections. In 2014, appellate judges Admar Gonzaga Neto, Maria Thereza Rocha de Assis Moura and Tarcísio Vieira de Carvalho Neto were appointed for such office.

After the representation is assigned, the stage of production of evidence begins: the defense is presented, evidence is produced and MPE is heard. If the action is eligible – it does not consist of irregular or untimely political advertising, elections research registration and requests for right of reply – it is decided by the trial court. As a rule, the en banc Court only analyzes the matter in such events upon the filing of an appeal, which is one of the prosecution specificities. If the fact presented in the representation leads to assumption of ineligibility, the rapporteur forwards the representation to the en banc Court Advisor (Asplen) for being decided by the full Court.

The prosecution of appeals also has its own course of action in TSE. The actions are sent by TREs and arrive at the Electoral Court by the administrative protocol, located at the 1st floor of the headquarters. Such actions are sent from there to the Coordination of Party Registrations, Record Preparation and Assignment (CPADI) of SJD, where they are recorded, classified and assigned to one of the seven permanent appellate judges of the Court. However, before they are sent to the judge-rapporteur, they are forwarded to MPE for opinion concerning their admissibility and merits.

Returning from MPE, the judge-rapporteur analyzes the actions as to admissibility. If they are inadmissible of if they concern matter that is a settled precedent, they will be solely decided by the judge-rapporteur. Otherwise, the latter will provide vote and report for analysis of the full TSE court.

After the action has been announced in the court and the report has been read, the counsels of the parties may present their arguments – as opposed to what happens, however, when deciding on internal interlocutory appeals. Then, the judge-rapporteur presents his or her vote and the other judges present their considerations in relation to the matter. They may request to see the record, if deemed necessary, in order to specifically analyze the matter. Once all seven appellate judges of the Electoral Court have presented their votes, the appellate decision is finally rendered and published.