Court show…

May 27, 2021

 In Canada Courts?  Live Video coverage now available!

Deepan Budlakoti is going to court, and so can you!  The issues here are the conditions and treatment inside the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre, reputed to be awful for some time but also impervious to correction.  Deepan is self-representing and is suing the government of Ontario under section 2A, 7, 8 and 12 of the charter surrounding a variety of prison conditions, including: segregation, solitary confinement, health services and privacy, food issues at courthouse and at OCDC, strip searches and duty of care around mental health… There are clearly issues of systemic negligence and Deepan is challenging all of that based on his personal experiences.”  The general public can join the video of the trial scheduled for May 31st to June 4th from about 10AM to 4:30PM.  Zoom Link :  Related article: Saltwire (Atlantic Canada)   ‘I awoke in the middle of the night with mice on my head,’ Newfoundland inmate tells judge of life in Her Majesty’s Penitentiary – Provincial court judge grants Mark Morales double credit for the time he spent in the prison’s oldest wing while staff struggled to comply with COVID-19 guidelines

CTV News – Canadian Press
Bill to align Canada’s laws with UN Indigenous declaration passes third reading

The house has voted 210-118 to revisit the laws around First Nations and to revised them in accord with the demand of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).  “The UN declaration, which Canada endorsed in 2010, affirms the rights of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination and to their language, culture and traditional lands… It also spells out the need for free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous Peoples on anything that infringes on their lands or rights, but C-15 does not include a definition of such consent.”  Bill C-15 now goes to the Senate.  Parliamentary Record of C-15:  An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples   Related article: Kairos (Canada) – Submit Your Brief for the Pre-Study of Bill C-15 (UNDRIP)  The public has until May 30 to submit a brief of 2,000 words or less to the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal People in support of Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.  Please send your brief to: by Sunday, May 30.

The Crime Report (US)
Judges, Juries Should be Told Cost of ‘Over-Punishing’: Paper

Here’s a novel idea from a Texas lawyer, Michael Conklin of Angelo State University, to help diminish mass incarceration tendencies of the courts: Tell the judges and juries what it costs to punish people and what the actual costs may be if the punishment is excessive.  The goal is to reduce prison population and recidivism and apparently it works.  “The need for such common-sense reform is timely,” he (Conklin) wrote. “COVID-19 has drastically reduced state budgets and there is widespread agreement that the criminal justice system over-punishes.”

Mapping Police (US)
Police have killed 414 people in 2021

The link is to a databank and an interactive map of geographic pinpoints where clicking on the pins will reveal people who have been killed by police, who the person killed was, and the circumstances of his / her killing. Sometimes there is also a media link for greater detail on the incident.   Additionally, there are a number of other stats which break down the totals a number of ways – a reader can query the databank.

The Marshall Project (US) – Joseph Neff and Emily Siegel
“He Died Like an Animal”: Some Police Departments Hogtie People despite Knowing the Risks

Attention to the Floyd killing by positional asphyxia has brought attention to yet another way to bring on death when police restrain people: the hogtie.  This is restraint in which the person’s hands are also tied to ankle restraints. Hogtying “involves putting a person on his stomach and tying his cuffed hands to his bound feet behind his back with an adjustable nylon belt, a device known as a “hobble.””  Because it involves keeping the person on his/her stomach this type of restraint is equally dangerous and identified as such by the federal department of Justice who say never to do this.  This cited case, Marcus Smith, died and later police attempted to cover up the death.

Harvard University / American Journal of Sociology – Harvard sociologist Robert J. Sampson and Ph.D. candidate Roland Neil
Best predictor of arrest rates? The ‘birth lottery of history’

This link is worthy to follow because it has reputable sources (with an extensive commentary at the end of the article) but also because it is a longitudinal study rather than the usual commentary over statistics.  The study lasted over 23 years with distinct groups related to the period events characterizing the birth period.  “What we’re attempting to do is to look at birth cohorts who were coming of age at different times during these social changes,” said Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences. “The setting is roughly the last quarter-century or so. We focused on that because it’s a time of great social change in the United States. Mass incarceration comes to the top of many people’s minds, but we also saw a rise in violence before that and then a large decline in violence over most of the past 25 years. We saw tremendous changes in policing practices, and most recently, concerns about police brutality and police killings have risen.”  Read on for conclusions.

From Matthew Beherns:
Please Sign: This Alberta Grandmother & Abuse Survivor Should Not Be in Jail, Support Her Appeal

Beherns is advocating for an appeal of the sentence of 18 years in jail – a long sentence for manslaughter – but worse still for a killing in the context of the constant physical abuse of Helen Naslund.  “Naslund is a farmer, grandmother of eight, and survivor of three decades of male violence who defended herself against the constant threat of being killed by her abusive husband.”   Says Beherns about the case: “As the window to appeal Helen Naslund’s guilty plea and sentence for killing her abusive husband closed this week, we see another woman’s life laid to waste by male violence and justice system failures. In March, she pled guilty to manslaughter and in October, she was sentenced by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench to 18 years for her actions. Her case raises many questions, fuelling our serious concern that a grave miscarriage of justice has occurred.”   (You can sign the petition at the link.)