Military & Juries…

Oct 1, 2018

CBC News – Lee Berthiaume
Court drops bomb by ruling against constitutionality of military justice system

The Canadian Military Appeals Court has dropped a legal bomb silently and without warning.  The process used for trying serious criminal cases, says the Court, violates the Charter of Rights.  Military prosecutors are scrambling now to figure out how to confront the problem likely to inhibit about one half the cases before the military court.  The crux of the issue appears to be the right of an accused to a jury trial in cases where a five year sentence is possible.  The Supreme Court of Canada seems to be the next and final stop.

Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia) – Frank Green
Virginia prison visitors to be barred from wearing tampons; contraband concern cited

The ACLU is protesting a new security policy from the Virginia state prison officials, due to come into force next month that prohibits women visitors from wearing tampons or menstrual cups.  The suspicion is that women may smuggle contraband using the devices.  The ACLU thinks that such personal intrusion will only serve to keep women visitors away, hindering the potential of rehab impact without adding to security.  Presently, visitors are subject to body scan and if positive, invited to a strip search or expected to leave the prison.

Globe and Mail – Robyn Doolittle
Unfounded case ends with conviction 19 years after police dismissed sexual-assault complaint

Unfounded cases of sexual assault are those cases reported to police but shelved on the grounds that they are without merit for prosecution.  In this case, the rape of a 12 year old girl was re-opened resulting in a conviction almost 20 years after the initial incident.  Both the criminal justice system and the military justice system have re-opened over 400 such cases.  “In the past year and a half, at least 100 Canadian police services have audited a combined 37,272 sexual-assault files. It’s unclear how many re-opened cases have resulted in charges…”

Leader-Post (SK) – Helena Miles, Greencamp
Can cannabis really help people with autism? – Research, studies and best strains to treat Autism spectrum disorder

The latest suggestion about the potential of medical marijuana is raising hopes or families dealing with Autism or Autism spectrum disorder, a disease found in one of 68 children in Canada.  There are few studies to date to help arbitrate the idea but there are a growing number of anecdotal reports of marijuana helping at least with the symptoms of autism.  The link examine the various strains of marijuana and the selection of an appropriate strain while offering medical opinion on the current treatment status.

The Guardian (UK) – Jamiles Lartey in Gadsden County, Florida
The radical sheriff giving offenders a chance

Morris Young, is a fourteen year Florida sheriff, the longest serving in state history; he is Black, grew up in the country, tells his deputies to give repeated chances and presides over a country where in the last eight years crime has halved, juvenile arrests are down 75%, people going to jail is down by 68%.  He believes in starting the re-entry process at the point of arrest and in mentoring children.

The – Angela Helm
Free NYC Art Pop-Up Runs Through This Weekend. See How ‘Broken Windows’ Broke Black Lives

The theory, says Helm, is now debunked and she offers a survey of the impact of the policing theory that by reacting immediately and decisively to small infractions the public will be risk adverse to larger incidents of law breaking.  The theory, known as “Broken Windows,” is showing up now in art in NYC and offers the stats behind the police practice of stop and frisk, most frequently minorities.  The art display goes beyond the simple encounter looking for the long term ills of the practice in the community.  The practice has been sharply criticized in Canada, particularly in the large cities, but it continues.

Global News – Amanda Connolly
Corrections official stands by decision to transfer McClintic to healing lodge

Terry-Lynne McClintic is the Indigenous person convicted of the 2009 murder of Tori Stafford.  The new Commissioner of Corrections Canada has been caught up in the political rather than the healing and rehab considerations as Liberals and Conservatives battle over the role of corrections.  Healing lodges are part of the CSC rehab for Indigenous people, every bit as much as a prison where safety and security matters.  While a little unusual at this stage of McClintic’s sentence, the move is well within the law, prompting critics to challenge “soft” law.    Related article: CBC Radio – Duncan McCue  ‘Not a get-out-of-jail-free pass’: Indigenous healing lodges defended in wake of McClintic transfer

Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant
Federal government facing pushback over bill to transform justice system

Bill C-75 is before the House Justice Committee and there appears to be a sufficient discontent that the amendments are going to be extensive and perhaps exhaustive, though there is a majority Liberal on the committee.  Testimony seems to have already suggested that the elimination of preliminary hearings, a tactic to reduce backlog in criminal court, will not significantly impact.  The Bill also seeks to increase the maximum sentences for summary offences, and to eliminate peremptory challenges during jury selection.

Michigan State University – Carla Hills , Caroline Brooks , Ruben Martinez
Research suggests Michigan raise jail-time age

Michigan is one of four US states (Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin are the others) where a 17 year old can be charged as an adult.  This research is suggesting that for a number of reasons the state should move the age to 18.  The rationale points to benefits derived from keeping the 17 year olds in the juvenile system.  The link offers a number of specific additional considerations in summary.  This report may speak to the practice in Canada of raising the youth to adult court.  The full report, Providing Appropriate Treatments to Youth in the Criminal Justice System by Raising the Age, is available on line at:   (A 12 page pdf).