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Lecture 3

SOC 3730 - Week 3

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SOC 3730
Michelle Dumas

SOC 3730 – Courts and Society  03/11/2014 The Courts and Supreme Court January 23, 2014 Court and Trials Led to believe it is very dramatic Media Influence Over emphasis, not like law and order Impact on peoples perceptions Only 10% of cases go to trial Criminal Usually people are more willing to go to trial when the consequences are higher or when it’s a more complex case Professionals Judge, crown attorney, defense attorney, police Case loads Can be quite large Courts recognize that, beneficial to have someone plea out Alternatives In terms of young offenders, mandated that police try and find alternatives to court to minimize the use of courts and to keep youth out of it Function To ensure that peoples rights are being protected Making sure that we are convicting people who are guilty and not convicting those that are innocent Structure of Canadian Courts Objective measures Types Lower courts Deal with summary offences and lower level crimes Municipality laws Higher courts Indictable offences Appeals courts Supreme courts Nunavut Court of Justice New court Operates differently than other territorial/provincial courts Added because Nunavut became its own territory in 1993 Jurisdiction Superior and lower court Smaller population to look after Judge One judge to look after all of the territory Court type (circuit) Actually travels to the person Travels with the judge, prosecutor, court clerk, court reporter, and defense attorney Interpreters Make use of interpreters within the community that the court establishes itself Military Courts National Defence Act Rules that apply to the military courts are found in this act Canadian forces Those who work for the military are the only ones who have access or would be tried by the military courts Civilians Some civilians work with the courts, very few Military Appeal Court Deal with cases coming form the lower level military court Panel of three courts Tax Court (Federal) Tax Court of Canada Act Defendants Can be both individuals and businesses Legislation Settles disagreements related to the legislation regarding taxes and revenue Options It is expected that you went through all other options before going to court Federal Courts 5 Principle Regards the federal government as a party (R v. Xperson) Keeps it separate from provincial courts Established 1971 Jurisdiction Federal Court Act All rules are under this act Superior Court Considered even at its lower level to be a superior court Done through a trial Federal Court Cases Inter-provincial Disputes amongst provinces Done through federal court Federal-provincial Disputes between Ottawa and the provinces Done through federal court Intellectual property Copy right issues Done through federal courts Citizenship Immigration related Appealing a decision made on citizenship Done through federal courts Crown Corporations Disputes with them are done through federal courts Departments Disputes in federal departments Federal Court – Jurisdiction Citizenship Elections Official languages Privacy Who can access what information and on what grounds Passports Security Cases of inmates and federal institutions Public Public sector employment with the federal government Provincial/Territorial Courts (PT) 1 Principle Geographically dispersed 800 provincial courts Magistrate court Cases minor cases, few minutes to go through the process ie: traffic court Judges No juries in provincial court Judge makes the decision Have to have enough judges to deal with the enormous volume of cases that come through Appointed by the province and paid by the province Justice of the Peace (JOP) Provide judicial functions Step into the judge role to help deal with the volume Issue warrants, marriage contracts, can swear oaths, can lay charges Divisions Have functional divisions to be more effective and efficient Typically have judge who works in the same decision to help gain a large knowledge base of said division PT Courts Cases Procedures very brief, quick and repetitive Procedures Take about 2 minutes of time Longest is probably 5 or 10 minutes Jurisdiction Original jurisdiction Have first contact with the individual Make the decision whether to move it to superior court Lawsuits There is a cut off, originally set at $100 Now set provincially Ontario $2,000 Cases 95% of cases are settle in provincial courts Most Canadians will have experience with these types of courts Criminal Code All summary offences are heard in PT courts Summary offences Are maximum 6 months in prison Maximum fine is $2,000 Indictable offences More than 6 months in prison More than $2,000 fine Electables Elect method of trial in either provincial court of provincial superior court (jury trial) has to be 5 years or more in prison Sec. 469 offences are never heard in provincial courts Provincial Superior Trial Courts nd 2 Principle Less routine, more serious cases and lower volume That way they can devote more time and attention to each individual case Cases Has higher authority than lower courts So the cases they have are all considered indictable offences or higher civil suits Judges Smaller in number than provincial courts Are recruited more carefully Tend to have a lot more experience than PT court judges Are appointed by federal government and paid by federal government Length Cases can last days, weeks, months More time and attention is given to these cases Legal Counsel Assumed both sides will have legal counsel Both will present their cases, both will appear and have opening and closing arguments Extended legal arguments More findings of facts A lot of evidence Witnesses and testimony Decision Presentation of evidence towards making the decision Can be judge only or jury and judge (must be 5 years or more sentence) Indictable offences S. 553 (hybrid elective) Absolute jurisdiction of provincial courts S. 469 (non-elective) Absolute jurisdiction of superior courts Indictable Offences – S. 553 Theft (other than theft of cattle) Fraud Obtaining money or property falsely Defrauding the public or a single person Property Possession of stolen property Mischief Must be a more serious form of mischief Gambling Caught keeping or gambling a betting house Lotteries not regulated by state Bookkeeping Sex Body house – house that sells sex Exclusive Offence – S. 469 – Superior Against State Alarming her majesty Treason Intimidating parliament Incite Mutiny Seditious offences Any offence committed against public order Start a riot, yell “fire” falsely Piracy Murder S. 469 Characteristics Done with jury, can choose to have it without one but requires a lot of approval Process Preliminary hearing Purposes Prima facie To determine whether or not you have enough evidence to proceed to trial Trial To see if trial is necessary Publication ban No where are you to publish information about said case Ie: Karla Homolka Case Defence Can challenge anything at this preliminary inquiry Drop/discharge Cases can be dropped or discharged *double jeopardy? Indictable Offences Other indictable offences (electable) Judge Jury Trial PT Provincial Superior Appeal Courts 3 Principle Establish a court of appeal to correct simple errors that have occurred at the lower level courts Promote uniformity in the application of law within each province Rule All parties are entitled to appeal their cases Occurrences Provincial Appeal – Function Trial judge Law There to reinterpret the law Stating the law correctly or correct the misuse of a particular law Rules of evidence Correction in presenting the rules of evidence Instructing jury Improper in the way of justice Decisions vary More uniformity Recognize the decisions, however we can make decisions that are more uniform for the province Sentences Typically from the defence but can be from the crown Four Options Resolve Appeal Dismiss Appeal Hear case and evidence, say no and keep the decision previously made Allow Appeal Typically have a reversal of decision made in lower courts U
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