Discretion wins…

     April 14, 2015

 CBC News – Canadian Press
Supreme Court quashes mandatory sentences for gun crimes – Ontario ruling that struck down mandatory minimum sentences of 3 and 5 years is upheld

By a 6-3 margin, the SCC has ruled that minimum mandatory sentences for possessing illegal firearms are unconstitutional.  In 2013 the Ontario Court of Appeal labelled the law cruel and unusual, in contravention of Section 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The SCC has upheld that earlier ruling and delivered a serious blow to the tough-on-crime agenda of the federal conservatives.  The ruling effectively puts the sentencing back in the discretion of the judges and raises more questions about the omnibus bill approach which first enacted the mandatory minimums.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supreme-court-quashes-mandatory-sentences-for-gun-crimes-1.3031847  Related article: Globe and Mail – Sean Fine     Supreme Court deals new blows to mandatory-sentencing rules     http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/supreme-court-deals-new-blow-to-mandatory-sentencing-rules/article23957270/    Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Ian MacLeod   Supreme Court strikes down mandatory-minimum sentencing for firearms offences     http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/supreme-court-strikes-down-mandatory-minimum-sentencing-for-firearms-offences

 MacLean’s – Anne Kingston
Rehtaeh Parsons, Dalhousie and the wait for justice in Nova Scotia 

Kingston reviews the sexual assault and misogyny incidents and concludes that the incidents are far some satisfactorily concluded.  Sexual assaults while partying and using alcohol are by far the most common but also the most difficult for traditional justice approaches to handle.  Restorative justice approaches have created critics as well suggesting that the results fail in transparency and accountability.   http://www.macleans.ca/society/rehtaeh-parsons-the-dds-2015-scandal-and-the-wait-for-justice-in-nova-scotia/

 Blogger retired Criminal Court Judge Marion Lane
The Mike Duffy Trial #1: Why in the Ontario Court of Justice? 

Judge Lane helps explain some of the reasoning around the choices involved for both the crown and Duffy.  There are, it appears, three ways the choice may have gone, each with a particular rationale.  The case has wound up in Ontario’s lowest court for criminal matters. http://reviewfromthebench.ca/2015/04/12/the-mike-duffy-trial-1-why-in-the-ontario-court-of-justice/

 Canadian Press – Jim Bronskill
Thousands in fees levied for anti-terror bill constitutionality memos 

Lawyer Jack Gemmell wants to know why the federal government is so sure that the provisions of C-51 do not violate the Charter.  He’s asking for the memos exchanged within government on the topic through access to information.  He will have to pay almost $5,000 in fees to get the information because the government says, it will take 477 hours to track down the memos.  “I expected a more business-like answer rather than getting the business,” Gemmell said in an interview.   The government is required to vet all proposed legislation against the charter but so far no evidence available that the government actually did.  So much for readily accessible.  http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/04/13/thousands-in-fees-levied-for-anti-terror-bill-constitutionality-memos/#.VS0mc5NQRUZ

 Christian Post (US) – David Z. Nowell
The Border Crisis: A Better, Cost-Effective Option for Unaccompanied Minors 

At an unacceptable cost of $259 a day to keep a child in immigration detention, Nowell thinks that the alternative child welfare system is already badly overcrowded and costing $90,000 a year per child.  The assessment includes a conclusion that most of the immigrant detainees and the orphans in the welfare system will fail anyway and create an intergenerational multiplier effect.  His solution is to use, and fund, the in-country agencies already in place in the countries of origin.

 American News (US)
Boycott, Expose and Sanction Corporations That Feed Off Prisons

Here is part of the reason why efforts by advocates and legislators alike have found it tough going to reverse the mass incarceration in the US:  private corporate profit is generating such a stream of money that the prisons have become a giant revenue stream that goes un checked by any controls.  Private corporations run the prisons, including the immigration detention centers (contractually guaranteed 34,000 places a year), privately run telephone and canteen services, as well as the companies that contract with the state / federal authorities for cheap prison labour (the list of otherwise reputable companies will surprise).  The Interfaith Prison Coalition is attempting a boycott tactic.