June 17, 2022

CBC News (NB) – Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon
Civil, family trials to be adjourned because of ‘unprecedented’ number of jury trials – Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick also plans to suspend small claims appeals for 2022, memos reveal

Remember the dictum: Justice delayed is justice denied?  This article raises serious issues about the state of the courts in New Brunswick.  The court dockets are not only fully booked into 2022 but substantially booked into 2023 and therefore facing considerable delay.  The delays will mean a priority according to seriousness of the case rather than the time on the books:  “”unprecedented” number of jury trials, a “large volume” of child protection matters and judge vacancies, according to internal memos from the chief justice.”  According to NB Chief Justice Tracey DeWare the situation is growing all across Canada, leaving civil and family matters in abeyance.  Some think that perhaps the delays will trigger a greater effort at out of court settlements.

CBC News (BC) – Betsy Trumpener
Guard who left prisoner crying for help may have been motivated by ‘revenge,’ police watchdog says – Civilian jail guard in Prince George ‘potentially … committed that offence of torture,’ IIO says

A civilian guard with a known reputation for antagonism towards the ‘scumbags’ in a Prince George RCMP lock-up ignored a man with a broken hip screaming through the night for medical assistance.  The Independent Investigations Officer concludes that while there may have been a case for torture, the IIO had no authority to recommend charges against a civilian.  The RCMP said there was not enough evidence of wrong doing.  The city who hired the guard refuses to comment on a personnel matter.   Related article: CBC News – Brigitte Bureau  CBSA backtracks on commitment to track all children separated from a parent – Can’t track whether border agency meets obligations when it limits data collection, expert says  Related article: The Marshall Project (US) Anna Flagg and Julia Preston “No Place for A Child” In cells built for adults, one-third are child migrants. Border authorities have resisted improving conditions for minors in crowded, freezing facilities.

CTV News – Patrick Rail
Canada’s health-care system is ‘collapsing around us,’ warns CMA president

Is there a recovery from the impact of Covid for the health care system?  “What’s clearly coming is the collapse of the current health-care system,” Dr. Katharine Smart, president of the CMA, told CTV News Channel’s Power Play on Tuesday. “We’re not seeing is the political will to take that seriously.”  Children are suffering the most at this point, she says.  (A 2min34sec video)  Related article:  ER wait times in Ontario ‘the worst I have ever seen’…  Related article: The Conversation (Queen’s) – Fiona MacDonald and  Allison Kooijman   When health care goes wrong: It’s time for transparency in patient safety  Related article: Toronto Star – Armine Yalnizyan   ‘Laura’ spoke on condition of anonymity. Her story of what’s happening in nursing is a warning to us all – Burned-out nurses are quitting and turning to temp agencies — setting their hours, choosing assignments, earning far more — and sounding the alarm, Armine Yalnizyan writes.

  The Conversation (Queen’s) – Monika Lemke
Strip searches are ineffective, unnecessary and target racialized Canadians

This week’s affirmation by Toronto police of the systemic racism found in their policing is revealing the strip search as a notable factor in the data.  Advocates are calling for an end to the practice given the proportionally higher incidents of use with Black, Indigenous and at risk persons.  “Not only does strip searching evoke racial and sexual trauma, it’s also ineffective. It’s finally time to talk about ending this oppressive police practice….  In its landmark case on strip searches, R. v. Golden (2001), the Supreme Court of Canada defined strip searches as a distinct type of “personal search,” contrasted against general, pat-down or frisk and cavity searches. The court defined the strip search as involving “the removal or rearrangement of some or all of the clothing of a person so as to permit a visual inspection of a person’s private areas, namely genitals, buttocks, breasts … or undergarments.”  The strip search is particularly offensive to women who often experience it as sexual assault.   Related article: CBC Radio The Current – Indigenous sisters hope for exoneration after almost 30 years in prison system – Justice minister orders murder conviction review over possible miscarriage of justice

Tweet from Molly M. Gill: (US)

Tennessee’s HB 2656 advances in the House Criminal Justice Committee. It would make many people serve 100% of their sentences with no incentives to rehabilitate themselves, then dump them on the street with no supervision–making taxpayers pay more money for less safety. (CF string)

The Marshall Project (US) – Carol Shapiro as told to Beth Schwartzapfel
I Joined the Parole Board to Make a Difference. Now I Call It ‘Conveyor Belt Justice.’ Between the grueling schedule, copious paperwork, abrupt hearings and risk-averse colleagues, prison reformer Carol Shapiro realized the New York parole system was dysfunctional by design.

This article offers a scary assessment of the N.Y. State parole board: ‘dysfunctional by design.’  It may well be that the description fits many such operations around parole, especially when the process pursues those with life or excessively longer sentences.  “The purpose of parole is not to focus on a static event; that is the purpose of sentencing. Parole should consider primarily who the person is today. But New York parole laws have a “deprecation” clause, which basically means that the seriousness of the crime justifies keeping you in prison. This gives commissioners an easy out, even when someone has been before the board three, five or seven times, or they committed the crime at 17, and they’re now 70.”