Aug 19, 2013

 Huffington Post – Canadian Press
Access to Justice in Canada ‘Abysmal,’ Report Says 

 A summary report to the Saskatoon meeting of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) says that access to the law in Canada fails badly for people who earn too much to qualify for legal aid and too little to pay for a lawyer.  Lawyer Dr. Melinda Buckley, Chair of the CBA’s Envisioning Equal Justice Initiative, offered the delegates a summary of a report due later this fall. Greater numbers are representing themselves in court, especially in family law cases.  The impact personally is often stressful and destructive of relationships, without achieving any fair outcome, and the system takes much longer than if there were lawyers conducting the case.  The report, insisting that tinkering with the system is not enough, calls for more funding for legal aid and for an access to justice commissioner. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/08/18/access-to-justice-in-canada_n_3776306.html

 Toronto Star – Peter Small
Soothing the aggressive attorney 

 Michele Leering, executive director of Community Advocacy & Legal Centre in Belleville, wants to know if lawyers can be healers to the satisfaction of clients and adversaries.  The Law as a Healing Profession was the title of a University of Toronto law school workshop, led by J. Kim Wright, 55, a North Carolina lawyer who gave up her house and travels the globe promoting the “integrative law movement.”   http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2013/08/18/soothing_the_aggressive_attorney.html

 CTV News
Nova Scotia concludes its first anti-bullying conference; hosts 500

 The two day conference, called Speak up!,   brought together a wide spectrum of people. “Bullying behaviour is a complex societal problem,” said Kathleen Richard, Nova Scotia’s anti-bullying co-ordinator.  “(It) does not exist just in schools — it is a community issue, and to have all us together for this event, to learn with and among and for each other is fabulous.”http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/nova-scotia-concludes-its-first-anti-bullying-conference-hosts-500-1.1415808#ixzz2cQSuXmPS

 Huffington Post (Canada) – Arthur Gallant
It Doesn’t Matter What You Call Us – Stigma Hurts 

 What’s in a name, you may ask.  Gallant, a mental health blogger, has surveyed people to ask what title leaves them more comfortable.  He suggests, after reaction to the common terms, that all the titles can leave someone uncomfortable because behind the word there is often a stigma.   http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/arthur-gallant/mental-illness-stigma_b_3777371.html#slide=2787304

The Economic Populist – Robert Oak
America’s Growing Income Inequality Problem 

 Using OCED figures for 2010, the latest available, and the Gini co-efficient, Oak offers some charts for the illustration of the doubling of the income for the top 1% over the past 40 years along with other comparisons and links illustrating that tax concessions to that 1% account for the growing disparity.    http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/americas-growing-income-inequality-problem-5339  Related article:  Moneynews – Michael Kling  Study: US Has the Worst Income Inequality of Developed Nations http://www.moneynews.com/Economy/US-UK-income-inequality/2013/08/19/id/521055 

 The New Yorker – Adam Gopnik
Mandatory Sentences and Moral Change 

 Gopnik estimates that the impact of the recent decisions around federal mandatory sentencing may be minimal at best because the majority prosecutions are state and local.  To be effective on a wide scale the change calls for a change in the moral conscience and consciousness driving the tough-on-crime agenda with its political resistance. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/08/eric-holder-mandatory-drug-sentences-and-moral-change.html?mobify=0  

 Center for Research on Globalization – Kevin Zeese and Cliff Thornton
End the Injustices of Mandatory Sentencing: Pardon those unjustly punished, end the Drug War 

 There are some conclusions that would reasonably follow the declared injustices of the mandatory federal sentences for minor drug offences.  Without the pardons for those currently imprisoned, the  change remains rhetorical.   What is needed is effective policy change for now and for those charged in the near future.  The article includes a link to the Green Shadow Cabinet and its report on the federal steps needed to bring federal policy into line with the policy of the states of Washington and Colorado on marijuana.  http://www.globalresearch.ca/end-the-injustices-of-mandatory-sentencing-pardon-those-unjustly-punished-end-the-drug-war/5346128?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=end-the-injustices-of-mandatory-sentencing-pardon-those-unjustly-punished-end-the-drug-war

 San Francisco Bayview
Urgent request to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez to visit California hunger strikers 

 This article is in fact an open letter to the UN for intervention is the hunger strike of some 300 inmates over the extensive use of solitary confinement.  The letter was released by Peter Schey of  the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and requests a visit from the special rapporteur to determine compliance with five core demands of the hunger strikes and their advocates.  The letter says:  “We respectfully and urgently request that you consider promptly visiting the solitary confinement prisoners and prison authorities, at minimum at PBSP, and thereafter issue such guidance as may be helpful to bring an end to the violations of the CAT and ICCPR now occurring.”  http://sfbayview.com/2013/urgent-request-to-un-special-rapporteur-on-torture-juan-mendez-to-visit-california-hunger-strikers   Related article:  RT.com News – Dozens of California prisoners hospitalized after 40 days of hunger strike  http://rt.com/usa/california-prison-hunger-strike-608

 Florida Newszap.com – J.C. Falkenburg
Budgets, Statistics and Perceptions 

 Here is an interesting challenge around the rationale for reducing policing budgets if there is less crime.  Falkenburg has an insurance industry perspective for the arguments and tries to debunk the notion that less money for crime fighting means more crime. http://florida.newszap.com/csp/mediapool/public/dt.main.ce.Home.cls?name=fTopicPage&fTopicPageId=5596&skip=48974