Political law schools?

April 3, 3018

Globe and Mail – Lisa Kelly and Lisa Kerr
Yes, law schools must be political

The recent court rulings on the death of Colton Boushie and Tina Fontaine have resurrected the issue of the purpose for a law school according to Kelly and Kerr, and the question is raising considerable interest.  The contrast appears to be between a legal education that pursues an even-handed application of law and one that helps to shape progressive policies.  “As legal educators, rather than avoiding the extensive evidence of systemic inequality, we must confront the well-documented reality that Canada’s criminal law system simultaneously over-punishes and under-protects Indigenous peoples.”  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/amp/opinion/article-yes-law-schools-must-be-political/?__twitter_impression=true   Related article: CBC News – Chantelle Bellrichard   Locked up at 12: A Métis woman tries to overcome the inequalities in Canada’s justice system   https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/longform/locked-up-at-12

The Marshall Project (US) – Anna Flagg
The Myth of the Criminal Immigrant:  The link between immigration and crime exists in the imaginations of Americans, and nowhere else.

Given the use of immigrant issues as a political distraction south of the border, and the proclivity for these opinions to flow across our Canadian border, this is a timely and forceful expression of a reality that lives in the shadow of the propaganda.  There is no increase in crime stemming from lawless immigration and there never has been, though recent surveys have shown that almost one half the US population thinks there is a detrimental link.  Recent drops in the violent crime rates have afforded and opportunity to look at crime rates in areas where there have been significant influx of immigrants.  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/03/30/the-myth-of-the-criminal-immigrant?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_source=opening-statement&utm_term=newsletter-20180330-986

CTV News
Feds table wide-spanning justice bill tackling court delays, jury selection

The federal government has tabled a comprehensive reform law (Bill C-75) that seeks to address many of the hiccups and bumps current in Canada’s criminal law.  There are elements of sentencing, victim surcharges, exploitation and trafficking as well as the youth justice provisions.  Additionally, to address delays in the court process, the legislation proposes preliminary trails only or crimes with a life sentence and the end of peremptory challenges in jury selection. “Bill C-75 would also make other changes aimed at reducing the backlog of criminal cases in Canadian courtrooms, including allowing judges more discretion when it comes to certain offences – such as breaching bail conditions — that do not involve violence or property damage.”   https://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/politics/feds-table-wide-spanning-justice-bill-tackling-court-delays-jury-selection-1.3864256#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=twitter&_gsc=UwZDYcI  Related article: Global TV News  – Amanda Connelly   Liberals table massive piece of legislation to overhaul the Canadian justice system  https://globalnews.ca/news/4113522/justice-system-canada-reforms/amp/?__twitter_impression=true   Related article: CBC News – Kathleen Harris   Liberals propose major criminal justice changes to unclog Canada’s courts  http://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4598480?__twitter_impression=true  (Includes a number of peripheral links)  Related article: Toronto Star –Stephanie DiGiuseppi  Liberal bill a step backward for Canadian justice reform – If Bill C-75 passes into law, the Canadian justice system will be slower and less fair, and it will encourage police abuse and an increase in wrongful convictions  https://m.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2018/04/02/liberal-bill-a-step-backward-for-canadian-justice-reform.html   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (April 3, 2018)  Not fairer or quickerNot necessarily under Ottawa’s justice reforms  https://m.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2018/04/02/fairer-and-quicker-not-necessarily-under-ottawas-justice-reforms.html

N.Y. Times – Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Shaila Dewan
When Bail Feels Less like Freedom, More Like Extortion

The bail business has grown to be a two billion dollar business and a considerable vested interest in resistance to the criminal justice reform movement.  The full impact of the penalties imposed from the bail system is most severely felt by poor people.  Bondsmen are the money lenders of the justice system but they also have powers of arrest, even for the most trivial cause.  What is worse, the practice of these bail bond men is often without any supervision or restriction.  Judicial opinion about bail practices is also mixed. https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/03/31/us/bail-bonds-extortion.html#click=https://t.co/4BGljgyksi

Toronto Star – Alex Boutilier
 Canada’s federal political parties purchase data, too –  Virtually no rules govern how federal parties, collect, use, and keep personal information on Canadians. Now the Liberal government has signalled a willingness to reform the system

No one should underestimate the pervasive presence of methods to influence – even predict – how we will react in political decision making.  Cambridge Analytical, a political tool founded by the US Conservative Briebart News (Steve Bannon), apparently has had its fingers in the political analysis of all three federal political parties in Canada.  Boutilier also explains how the parties collect their data.  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2018/03/29/canadas-federal-political-parties-purchase-data-too.html