RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's Supreme Federal Court (STF) ruled on Thursday evening against arresting a defendant after its conviction in the appeals court.
With the ruling, defendants in Brazil will only be arrested after the last appeal of their processes. In Brazil, a case can be appealed three times -- to the local court, the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) and the STF.
A previous ruling in 2016 established that defendants could start serving their sentences after being found guilty in the first appeals court.
It was a narrow victory -- six votes against five, with the last judge, Supreme Court head Dias Toffoli, giving the tie-breaking vote.
According to local media, the decision may benefit up to 5,000 defendants who are currently serving their sentences and waiting for appeals to be judged in the Superior Courts.
But the ruling is not applicable if the defendant is under a preventive arrest warrant, which is a tool in Brazilian law for cases of the defendants who are considered dangerous to society or a risk of flight and obstruction of justice.
Among the possible beneficiaries is former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was found guilty of corruption and money laundering and has been serving his sentence since April 2018.