SJD Program

The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) is the most advanced law degree at American University Washington College of Law. The program brings together aspiring legal academics and other top legal professionals from around the world who wish to research and write a dissertation of publishable quality under the instruction of faculty members who are recognized experts and leading practitioners in their fields.


Marllon Sousa

SJD Candidate


Marllon Sousa, an SJD candidate at American University Washington College of Law, is working on his dissertation titled, “ Plea Bargaining in Brazil: Improving Criminal Trials Through the Balance Between the Utilitarian Justice and the Defendant’s Fundamental Rights." His academic interests and professional expertise include: Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, Comparative Criminal Procedure, Brazilian Constitutional Law, and Brazilian Election Law.

Currently, Mr. Sousa is a federal judge of the First District Circuit in Brazil. He is the main Judge of the 2nd Federal Criminal Court of the Amazonas State. He also taught Criminal Procedure in a local law school until July 2016. Prior to being appointed as a federal judge, he worked as a detective at the Federal District Department of Police (Brasilia-BRA-2006) and as a procedural analyst at the District Election Court of Minas Gerais (2006-2011). He was a member of the Brazilian BAR Association from 2004 to 2006, but then went on to cancel his association in order to start working as a public servant (Executive and Judiciary branches). 

Degrees & Universities

S.J.D., Candidate, American University Washington College of Law
Master of Laws, Faculdade de Direito da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais – UFMG, Belo Horizonte Brazil, 2014
Bachelor of Law, Escola de Direito da Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Brazil, 2003
Certificated Specialization (360h), Election Law and Procedure, Centro Universitário Claretiano, Brazil, 2008

Areas of Specialization

Comparative Criminal Procedural Law
Brazilian Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
Brazilian Election Law


Portuguese (native), English (advanced) and Spanish (functional).

Contact Information

For publications and more information, go to

To contact Mr. Sousa, email him at