Bail now…

Oct 31, 2017

Ministry of the Attorney General (ON) –
Ontario Unveils New Bail Directive to Reduce Pre-Trial Custody –  Province Making the Criminal Justice System Faster and Fairer

The Ontario government has just released a new approach to bail with a view to reducing the prison population where approximately 70% of the inmates have not been convicted of anything.  The practice of bail has suffered some decline but remains a prominent feature of the criminal justice system: “bail recommendations should start with the least restrictive form of release (the “ladder principle”), and that having an accused person released with a surety while awaiting trial should be an exception.”   Related article:  Canadian Lawyer – Bail Directive – Judicial Interim Release—judicial-interim-release.html   (Readers may also find helpful the comprehensive assessment done by Raymond E. Wyant in December 2016  Bail and Remand in Ontario at )

The Nation – Jessica Pishko
 Restorative Justice for Shoplifting? A Court Calls It Extortion –  A company’s program, used by Walmart and others, bypasses the cops.

Caught shoplifting, a person is shown a short video about the consequences of getting involved in the justice system and then invited at his or her cost to join instead a 6 hour online session of behaviour therapy at their cost.  The choice is police or the therapy session for $400.  San Francisco (CA) City Attorney said:  “This company has set up a private, pseudo-justice system that is based on profit… calling the program “textbook extortion.”   A judge agreed.

Canadian Lawyer – Elizabeth Rayner
Should accused killer be able to conduct cross-examination of father in Babcock murder trial?

Accused murderer Dellen Millard is acting as his own lawyer in his trail.  The anomaly is that he has cross examined both the victim’s father and former boyfriend, raising issues about the legal appropriateness of doing so.  S. 486.3(2) of the Criminal Code seems to provide a remedy but it is not known if the section was invoked.  “In my view, a 486.3 application is mandated here,” says Toronto defence lawyer David Butt, who previously worked as a Crown prosecutor for 13 years, adding that “it would have been a good idea if . . . the judge granted it.”

Law Times (Can) – Cyndee Todgham Cherniak
Know your rights at the border

Increasingly Canadians are hearing horror stories about crossing the US-Canada border and having upsetting encounters with border officials.  The concern is elevated if travelling with private and personal information on any electronic device.  Border officials, both Canadian and American, can legally have access to every nook and cranny on such devices.  What is exposed:  “every email, text message, document, bank statement, health report, credit card statement, invoice, photo, contact, calendar entry, call history, voicemail message, to-do notation, book, magazine, internet search, app data, Facebook post, Twitter post, Netflix download history, stored password and other information stored on your electronic device.”

Nova Scotia RCMP introduce eagle feather as new option to swear legal oaths

In an effort to move to greater reconciliation and respect for Indigenous culture, Nova Scotia, through the intervention of the RCMP, has initiated the acceptance of the eagle feather as an option for swearing legal oaths.  The change was celebrated in a ceremony recalling the cultural significance of the eagle feather and a smudging ceremony attended by First Nations, police and political reps. – Glenn E. Martin
A Light at the end of the Tunnel for Juvenile Lifers in Pennsylvania

Juvenile lifers are kids – many now veteran inmates of Pennsylvanian prisons – who were convicted of murder while still under adult age, sentenced to either death or life without parole (LWOP) because there was no alternate sentence available.  There are still many such individuals in prisons all over the US and the movement to have them re-sentenced in the light of their early age of conviction is gaining grounds.    Pennsylvania has about 500 men and 10 women, many now in their 50s and 60s, to be re-sentenced.  The hope is that many will go to home and families.   Related article: Teen Vogue – Prince Shakur    Youth Incarceration in the United States, Explained

Canadian Families Corrections Network Newsletter
A Special Mental Health Edition (Oct. 2017)