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SOC 3730 (86)
Lecture

March 21 week 10.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 3730
Professor
Sarah Ciotti
Semester
Winter

Description
March 212012 Courts and Society Criminal Justice Policy and ProcessKey Points to Considero Courts often play an important role in shaping the content of criminal law under the chartero Most criminal charges by police never result in a trial the accused often enters into a plea agreement as a strategic decision between the defense and the crown Trials are very expensive for an accused person Issues with legal aid lawyers representation and fundingo The small portion of cases that do end up going to trial are usually for cases and do not involve injuries Often characterized as a funnel there are a high number of charges but fewer cases result in prison sentencesfewer than 5 of charges result in a prison sentenceo The court process is both a formal and informal processFunctions and Influences of Courts in Criminal Lawo Defining scope and substance of criminal law Courts determine whether the government has acted outside the scope of its criminal law power when passing a law by settling jurisdictional disputes Decide whether a criminal law violates the Charter Interpret and define the criminal code and other federal statues Develop common law defences Federalism Constitution Act gave the federal government authority over criminal law This created tension between the federal government and the provincialterritorial governments When conflicts arise the courts are often asked to rule on the jurisdictional question Charter The Charter can strike down provincial laws on federal grounds in order to protect fundamental rights and liberties Gave judges more power to define what kinds of actions or motives should be criminalized Gave judges more power to determine what kinds of punishments are suitable for criminal offenses under what conditions Lots of power in issues that are considered important to Canada ex abortion pornography mandatory minimum sentences etc
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