sexual assault Archives - LCP Criminal Lawyers

Tag Archives: sexual assault

JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY VS. JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE: CONTRASTING APPROACHES IN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES

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.

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THE ACCUSED’S RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES

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.
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THE CASE AGAINST USING RAP LYRICS AS EVIDENCE OF GUILT

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.

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