Author Topic: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques  (Read 1613 times)

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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« on: October 28, 2019, 21:43:13 »
Do we have a penal system or a correctional system?

Neither - its a "Legal Industry". We don't correct anyone. We warehouse them until they get out so the majority can carry on with their ne'er to do ways, get caught and incarcerated again ….and again...and again.

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Offline Brihard

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2019, 21:48:40 »
Do we have a penal system or a correctional system?

Some need to be warehoused indefinitely. We don’t do that well.

Some need to be corrected and rehabilitated. For those to whom it applies, we do it reasonably well.

Some need to be penalized and incapacitated. We don’t do that particularly well. That said, the correctional system itself is not the fault point.

The best rehabilitator is age and maturity. It’s spotty at best, but generally still the best we’ve got. Some people need to be behind bars til they age/mature.

Some need to go away forever.
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Offline Bruce Monkhouse

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2019, 06:41:54 »
But, like anything, money drives the bus....
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2019, 10:09:16 »
But, like anything, money drives the bus....

Hit the nail on the head.  I think the police do a great job, it's what happens after that where things quickly fall off the rails.  The entire court system probably needs massive reform. 

There is a two tier system that heavily favours people with money.  If you can afford high priced help, you are golden.  If you are relying on legal aid and a public defender.  You are screwed!

Oh and Governments keep making cuts to legal aid so nobody goes in to Criminal Law anymore.  Criminal Lawyers are a slow dying breed, especially when you consider how many lawyers we pump out of our law schools.

Offline mariomike

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2019, 10:15:33 »
If you can afford high priced help, you are golden. 

Innocent until proven broke?

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2019, 11:00:13 »
Innocent until proven broke?

Definitely a consideration.  Trials are expensive, if you have no money, you can't pay your lawyer so you won't have someone working on your case. 

You'll basically have to do a cost benefit analysis of either pleading guilty in exchange for some sort of sentencing negotiation or find a way to pay the bill to fight the case.  Or you can go with a public defender who will spend about 5 minutes looking at your case  :rofl:

The wife works for the bank, 90% of the General Population doesn't have two pennies to rub together and is living on borrowed money.  A proper lawyer would bankrupt them. 

Go to court sometime and see the horde of poor unfortunates lined up to speak with the public defender and you are there with your high priced help.  It's an eye opener! 

The Crown is a Spanish Armada of people and resources against you.  Do you want Francis Drake aggressively commanding your warship or Hyde Parker throwing up the White Flag?

The only job I would consider doing in the criminal justice system is criminal lawyer and it's because I firmly believe that for every Alexandre Bissonnette out there, there are 20 other people who are just caught in the "Vortex of $hit" that need someone in their court advocating on their behalf. 

I think Police do a great job, but the entire system past the police is totally busted.  It ain't getting any better either because money that could make it better keeps getting cut.  Legal Aid is a bunch of baloney.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2019, 00:20:35 by Humphrey Bogart »

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2019, 12:20:17 »
Oh and then you read ridiculous things like this entire case in NB where the police accidentally shoot an innocent man:

https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5337736

I actually know one of the Officers in question id'ed in the article above, played hockey with him and he is a great guy with a young child.  He has also now unfortunately found himself in the "Vortex of $hit".

It really makes you think: "Is a lot of our justice system and laws just a bunch of nonsense which seeks to reinforce our biases and perceptions of right and wrong which may or may not be grounded in any sort of fact?"

My view now is the "War on Drugs" is a great example of fundamental flaws in some of our reasoning.  The whole incident above is just one very small drop of poop in the ocean of stupidity that is the legal system in this country.  All it resulted in was an innocent man getting killed and two police officers ruining their lives because someone sent them out to enforce dumb laws.

There are legitimately bad people out there but the legal system really doesn't address that particular problem very well. 

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2019, 12:26:59 »
Innocent until proven broke?
WARNING:

I am going off on a bit of a rant here.

Several of our less fortunate members (Poverty stricken and cognitively disabled) of society are quite often hung out to dry.

Cases in point - offenders who are chronologically 25 years old but the mental abilities of a 5 year old are often sentenced to lengthy federal terms. In federal custody they will be targeted by predators and other inmates who can take advantage of them. There is no way in hell these retarded inmates should be there. Were their crimes heinous? yes they were BUT they cannot understand that what they did was wrong. But Vince Li - who beheaded Tim McLean in 2008 - never served a day in a penitentiary.

And we wonder why Corrections staff have a high incidence of PTSD and unpleasant attitudes towards lawyers and judges.
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2019, 13:10:37 »
>Or you can go with a public defender who will spend about 5 minutes looking at your case

Interesting that this is a problem.  Maybe the whole criminal justice system should be reformed to make public legal care analogous to public health care - set fee schedules, right of access, etc and everything applicable to everyone involved (both sides).
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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2019, 13:47:21 »
I'm with Steve Martin.....death penalty for parking tickets.....sorry, dating myself.
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2019, 13:52:10 »
>Or you can go with a public defender who will spend about 5 minutes looking at your case

Interesting that this is a problem.  Maybe the whole criminal justice system should be reformed to make public legal care analogous to public health care - set fee schedules, right of access, etc and everything applicable to everyone involved (both sides).

Well it's actually supposed to work that way but being "tough on crime" is a politically popular stance to take so legal funding for public defenders is continuously cut and case loads grow more overwhelming.

The people the system should be helping the most are in fact provided the least amount of help.  Like I said, had my eyes opened and genuinely feel sorry for a lot of people who end up there and don't have the means or are incapable of defending themselves.

Look at Mark Norman, that case almost bankrupted him.  If an Admiral has trouble affording to defend himself for lack of funds, imagine someone without the means.

I'm with Steve Martin.....death penalty for parking tickets.....sorry, dating myself.

 :rofl:

WARNING:

I am going off on a bit of a rant here.

Several of our less fortunate members (Poverty stricken and cognitively disabled) of society are quite often hung out to dry.

Cases in point - offenders who are chronologically 25 years old but the mental abilities of a 5 year old are often sentenced to lengthy federal terms. In federal custody they will be targeted by predators and other inmates who can take advantage of them. There is no way in hell these retarded inmates should be there. Were their crimes heinous? yes they were BUT they cannot understand that what they did was wrong. But Vince Li - who beheaded Tim McLean in 2008 - never served a day in a penitentiary.

And we wonder why Corrections staff have a high incidence of PTSD and unpleasant attitudes towards lawyers and judges.

Hamish,

So true.  I have a childhood friend who has been in and out of jail half a dozen times due to outstanding Warrants, etc.  He is Manic Depressive/Bi Polar and keeps getting nailed for missing court appointments, contempt, etc. 

"Your honour my friend couldn't show up today because he can't even get out of bed, let alone come see you" is what I feel like saying.

"Bah lets slap some more conditions on him, that'll fix the problem!"  ::)

I make a point of seeing him whenever I am home and the last few visits have been pretty depressing.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 13:56:33 by Humphrey Bogart »

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2019, 14:12:37 »

So true.  I have a childhood friend who has been in and out of jail half a dozen times due to outstanding Warrants, etc.  He is Manic Depressive/Bi Polar and keeps getting nailed for missing court appointments, contempt, etc. 

"Your honour my friend couldn't show up today because he can't even get out of bed, let alone come see you" is what I feel like saying.

"Bah lets slap some more conditions on him, that'll fix the problem!"  ::)

I make a point of seeing him whenever I am home and the last few visits have been pretty depressing.

But other then having 3 people, costing mega bucks, show up at his [and others] dwellings every day to ensure that they take their meds, and forcibly if required, [not much fun I can assure you] what can the justice system do??   Not to mention the people he's committed crimes against don't know him, and still have had their safety violated by those folks.
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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2019, 14:15:36 »
In a previous life as far back as the 1980's, I heard the head of a local jail tell a public forum that ~25% of his "guests" needed a mental health bed, not a jail cell.  Sounds like that problem's not new :(
But other then having 3 people, costing mega bucks, show up at his [and others] dwellings every day to ensure that they take their meds, and forcibly if required, [not much fun I can assure you] what can the justice system do??
In theory, I suspect that may still be cheaper than jail - and that would be more health than corrections folks.  That said ...
Not to mention the people he's committed crimes against don't know him, and still have had their safety violated by those folks.
... they can't be forgotten in the equation, either.
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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2019, 14:36:34 »
In a previous life as far back as the 1980's, I heard the head of a local jail tell a public forum that ~25% of his "guests" needed a mental health bed, not a jail cell.  Sounds like that problem's not new :(In theory, I

I've spent many days and nights in Psych wards.....trust me, they get WAY more staff interaction in jail then they do there.  All they get there is drugged enough to keep them calm so they can hurry up and ship them back to us "cured". 


In theory, I suspect that may still be cheaper than jail - and that would be more health than corrections folks.

Good luck trying to get people to do these home visits outside of Corrections/Probation and Parole.   I'd need to be a lot more armed/trained then I am now......and probably still wouldn't do it.
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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2019, 14:41:50 »
Good luck trying to get people to do these home visits outside of Corrections/Probation and Parole.   I'd need to be a lot more armed/trained then I am now......and probably still wouldn't do it.
Never thought of the corrections angle with some of these folks - not JUST mentally-ill people not taking their meds.
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2019, 15:55:53 »
I've spent many days and nights in Psych wards.....trust me, they get WAY more staff interaction in jail then they do there.  All they get there is drugged enough to keep them calm so they can hurry up and ship them back to us "cured". 

Good luck trying to get people to do these home visits outside of Corrections/Probation and Parole.   I'd need to be a lot more armed/trained then I am now......and probably still wouldn't do it.

Not disputing that this is an easy solution to fix Bruce and I sympathize with what you and others have to deal with as well as your work conditions.

I also don't think the legal system or the different levels of Government have enabled you or your colleagues to do the job to the best of your ability.

The amount of cops and corrections officers on stress/sick leave is pretty indicative of that.

My point is that new regimes are needed and a mindset change is required. 

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2019, 16:17:12 »
The first one would be to classify all jails as 'formed' facilities.  Right now in Ontario we have 100 'formed' beds for men and zero for women.    Part of the reason I went to the psych jail when it first opened was because of an issue we had at my old Guelph jail.   My buddy and I had to go in a cell, truss a guy up, and take him to the Homewood where we promptly put him in a cell there and held him while the 2 nurses gave him his shot.
The 2 nurses worked at our jail but moonlighted at the Homewood...….so hypothetically all 4 of us could have done this back at the jail, if the place had a piece of paper designation, without going through all the steps of physical restraints and publicly escorting where bad things [to all parties] can potentially happen.
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2019, 16:35:13 »
The first one would be to classify all jails as 'formed' facilities.  Right now in Ontario we have 100 'formed' beds for men and zero for women.    Part of the reason I went to the psych jail when it first opened was because of an issue we had at my old Guelph jail.   My buddy and I had to go in a cell, truss a guy up, and take him to the Homewood where we promptly put him in a cell there and held him while the 2 nurses gave him his shot.
The 2 nurses worked at our jail but moonlighted at the Homewood...….so hypothetically all 4 of us could have done this back at the jail, if the place had a piece of paper designation, without going through all the steps of physical restraints and publicly escorting where bad things [to all parties] can potentially happen.

And these are the types of public policy decisions that our legislators should be acting on but are not.  The Ministry of the Solicitor General should be meeting with guards and discussing these things but I bet they aren't.  I bet they don't even care.

This is the exact issue I have with our Government(s).  Our political class has forgotten that their primary job is to ensure the Government is providing a Service.  Government should be a customer service oriented industry.

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2019, 17:03:15 »
But that's true for almost any organization.  Seriously, how often does the military actually change something from the thousands of 'UCR's" [I think I got that right] that the rank and file submit?   
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 17:06:09 by Bruce Monkhouse »
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2019, 17:31:20 »
But that's true for almost any organization.  Seriously, how often does the military actually change something from the thousands of 'UCR's" [I think I got that right] that the rank and file submit?

"But we only got one UCR about the tacvest"
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2019, 17:41:04 »
"But we only got one UCR about the tacvest"

The old "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound" trick!

 ;D

But that's true for almost any organization.  Seriously, how often does the military actually change something from the thousands of 'UCR's" [I think I got that right] that the rank and file submit?   

Don't get me start Bruce, everyone knows After Action Review is just a nice suggestion  8)

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Re: Canadian Judicial System - Thoughts and Critiques
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2019, 17:58:02 »
The whole system is badly under resourced. Police struggle to keep up with the constant flood of stuff coming in; investigative resources are badly overburdened and are selectively committed. Quality investigations and follow up are difficult to commit time and bodies to because there is always more, more more.

Brown isn't any better. They have far too few counsel to work with, and compared to other legal jobs it doesn't pay particularly well- especially with student loans for law school in mind. They often barely look at a file before the first appearance date, and then they struggle to have time to do any deep dive to look for investigative weak spots that need to be shored up by police to keep the prosecution viable. In B.C. where crown get to approve or decline a charge, a great many viable prosecutions simply never move forward and a lot of criminals get away with a lot of crimes.

There are too few physical court rooms, and too few judges to preside over them.

Legal aid has significant limitations. You don't have to be making a ton of money to be ineligible. I've seen good lawyers working for legal aid, and I've had a few of my files torn apart by them. They care, but they are also overburdened. The nature of our court proceedings takes things very far away from the facts of a case; defences are often very abstract and technical, looking more for a 'gotcha' in the investigation than challenging the culpability of the accused on the actual facts of events. This pushes both defense and crown to spend a great deal more time and money, and drags proceedings out. Even a simple impaired driving charge may cost the accused $20k+.

The provincial jails that handle pre-trial detention are grossly overfull, and as a result a lot of people are not remanded in custody who ought to be. This leaves them on the streets causing more havoc, racking up more offences, putting more burden on police, paramedics, hospitals, and bail supervisors, and dragging more people into their criminal orbits.

The provincial courts are struggling to keep up with the requirements in R. v. Jordan to reach trial within now firm time frames. There have been charges literally for murder that have been stayed because things couldn't move fast enough. For the same reason police have to desperately rush disclosure, which leads to errors and oversights.

Once someone finally gets sentenced and goes to jail, they're either in the aforementioned overfull provincial system, or the also challenged federal one. Federal has the best rehabilitative programming, but sentencing guidelines mean that few offenders reach federal prison and access to those prisons, because they play catch and release through short provincial sentences for years first, getting caught more and more desperately in a revolving door. By the time they get a federal sentence, they are often far too set for programming to have much of a chance.

All of these challenges have our police, prosecutors, correctional officers, and lawyers burning out, and we're seeing it reflected in how many members are off long term sick.

It's a mess, and it comes down to resources and money.
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