by Eva Taché-Green
A quick glance at the changing skyline of Toronto says a lot about the increasing popularity of condominiums. Condo living means cutting back on square footage and swapping big backyards for sweeping views and access to amenities. But according to recent case law in Ontario, it also means giving up our right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by the police.
by Alexander Ostroff
Last week, in California, a judge was removed from office after voters elected to recall him in the aftermath of a high profile sexual assault trial.1. In that trial, the accused was convicted and the judge imposed a sentence that fell within the lawful exercise of his discretion, but there was widespread public opinion that the sentence was overly lenient. Shortly after the trial, California law was changed to increase the mandatory minimum sentence for that charge. After members of the public filed complaints, an independent state agency in California with the power to discipline and remove judges from office conducted an investigation and released a report, in which they did not find that there had been judicial misconduct. However, in California, trial judges are elected, and can be removed from office as the result of a public recall vote. The impact of this highly-visible and unpopular decision affected the public enough for a successful electoral campaign to have the judge removed before the end of his term. This case raises interesting questions about judicial accountability and judicial independence and is an interesting contrast to the different balance that is struck between these important values in the Canadian legal system.
by Alexandra Mamo
It seems impossible to open a newspaper without reading about sexual assault. With the popularity of the #MeToo campaign, the focus of the current cultural conversation is on the unfair treatment of victims in our criminal justice system. In an attempt to address these perceived injustices, the Canadian government has introduced amendments to the Criminal Code in Bill C-51 which seek to provide a broader role for complainants in sexual assault trials. However, these fundamental changes will severely compromise the rights of accused parties to a fair trial.
by Lance Beechener
In Canada, prosecutors are increasingly relying upon an accused person’s artistic creations, frequently in the form of rap music, to establish guilt.1. This subject has attracted significant academic commentary both in Canada and in the United States, as well as considerable judicial attention in the U.S. The issue received its most recent and meaningful Canadian appellate treatment in the recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in R. v. Skeete, 2017 ONCA 926.
by Mindy Caterina
On November 1, 2018, the Police Record Checks Reform Act (“the PRCRA”) will become law in Ontario. This law will create rules for the police that limit what can be disclosed about Ontarians to prospective employers, volunteer agencies and foreign governments.
by Gabriel Gross-Stein
On November 29, 2012, Raveesh Kumar was killed during the robbery of his California home. He was tied up and gagged by the robbers, and suffocated because the duct tape covered his nose and mouth. Three weeks later, Lukis Anderson was charged with the murder. His DNA had been found underneath Kumar’s fingernails.
by Alison Craig
On March 29, 2018, Bill C-75 was introduced for its first reading in the House of Commons. Proponents of the Bill argue that it will bring about a “cultural shift” in the justice system, speed up the process, and unclog the courts. The Bill makes significant changes to the jury selection process – changes which result in more unfair trials, less cultural diversity on juries, and a greater potential for wrongful convictions. Gone will be peremptory challenges, which allow counsel for the accused (and the Crown) to exclude a limited number of jurors without having to provide a reason.
by Brian Eberdt
Last month, the federal government announced Bill C-75, which is legislation that would change many sections of the Criminal Code. They would change how juries are selected, how bail hearings are conducted, sentencing, and the availability of preliminary inquiries. The reaction to Bill C-75 has been significant and mixed. The reaction from criminal defence lawyers has been almost entirely negative. In this article, I address the impact that Bill C-75 would have on the preliminary inquiry and why these changes are a poor solution to address the problem of lengthy waits for trials.
by Catriona Verner
On January 4, 2005 Sonia Gaudet was strangled and her body was set on fire in her own apartment. Michael Kassa, a platonic friend of Sonia’s, was charged with her murder a year and a half after the offence and, based on what has since been shown to be flimsy evidence, he was convicted. This is the history of his case.
by Craig Zeeh
In 2017, the government introduced Bill C-46, which is the most consequential piece of impaired driving legislation that Canada has introduced in years. Bill C-46 will add new provisions and amend old provisions of the Criminal Code for alcohol- and drug-impaired offences.
One of the significant changes of the Bill is the change to the use of approved screening devices, known as an “ASD”.