"Drug criminalization is obviously disrespectful to human dignity."
José Henrique Rodrigues Torres is a judge in the State Court of São Paulo, where he has served since 1987. He is a currently a judge in the Criminal Court of the District of Campinas. From 2007 to 2009, he was designated to work as an auxiliary judge in the 6th Superior Criminal Court of the State Court of São Paulo. While working in this Superior Court, he delivered the opinion of the Court in a case in which the majority declared the unconstitutionality of the law that criminalizes drug possession for personal use.
He believes that the production, supply and consumption of all drugs should be legalized and regulated, simply because there is no rational, logical, practical, pragmatic, philosophical, moral, social, sanitary or juridical reason that could justify the criminalization of such conduct.
In his own words:
“I am convinced that drug criminalization is a result of a war-framed logic based on a national security ideology and inspired by the unacceptable concept of a ‘criminal law of the enemy.’ It promotes the militarization of social control and the increase of repression. It is based on reasons of state regardless of the rule of law. Built on moralizing punitive models, it provokes the increase of violence and corruption. Generating extremely high human costs, it is irrational, misleading, racist, failed and inefficient. Threatening democratic institutions, it causes harm to public health and erodes the judicial system; it causes pain and suffering; it promotes exclusion and stigmatization. Drug criminalization flagrantly violates the constitutional principles of subsidiarity, proportionality, equality, privacy, and the substantive due process of law; it is obviously disrespectful to human dignity.”
José is also a professor at the law school of Catholic University of Campinas. The author of several juridical articles, he has given many lectures throughout Brazil and abroad. He joined LEAP in 2011 after being invited by its directors in Brazil.