8. What Do Courts Do?.docx

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16 Mar 2012
November 21, 2011
What do the Courts Do?
- Responsible for determining the guilt or innocence of accused and with
imposing an appropriate sentence upon the convicted
- Protection of rights of the individual and society
- Monitoring of other CJ (police and correction) agencies
Court System
- Proof to Trial
o Probable cause
- Proof to Convict
o Beyond a reasonable doubt
- Participants
o Defendant, crown prosecutor, defense counsel, judge, jury, victim,
- Procedures
o Governed by law, tradition, ad judicial authority
The Plea
- Guilty
o 90% of defendants plead guilty
o Plea bargains are not necessarily accepted
o Guilty plea must be free and voluntary
o Maybe sentenced or remanded
- Not Guilty
o Trail date set
o Type f court depends on seriousness of offense
o Some offenses may be tried immediately before a provincially
appointed judge
Jury Trial
- Limited to offenses with maximum sentence of 5 years or more
- Usually at the request of the defendant but may be ordered by the judge
- Convicted
o May appeal verdict or sentence or criminal responsibility. Prosecution
may also appeal
o May apply for release while under appeal
- Appeal Court
o May order new trial or overturn conviction
o May also overturn an acquittal and convict
- Summary Conviction Appeals
o Are usually heard in superior courts
- Supreme Court
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o Hears only cases involving important points of law
What are the Sentencing Options?
- Fine
- Suspended Sentence
- Probation
- Imprisonment
- New option towards RJ (restoring of justice)
o Mediation
o Community Sentence
The Role of Corrections in Society
- “To contribute to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society” by:
1. Carrying out of sentence of the court
2. Providing the degree of custody necessary to contain the risk presented
by the offender
3. Encouraging offenders to adopt acceptable behavior patterns and to
participate in education, training, social development and work
4. Providing a safe and healthful environment to incarcerated offenders
which is conductive to their personal reformation
Correction Law Review: 1986
Effective Corrections Means:
- Distinguishing between offenders who need to be separated from society and
those who can be safely and better managed in the community
- Preparing offenders for release into the community and assisting them in
their reintegration into society
- Providing the programs and support that offenders need to get their life back
on track whether within the penitentiary or under supervision in the
Canadian Correctional Facts: (CSC: 2005/2006)
- 33.3 million people live in Canada
- 2.6 million men and almost 700,000 women have criminal records
- During 2005/2006 there were 33,340 imprisoned adults
- During 2005/2006 there were 342,349 convictions
- 33% of these convictions were custodial and only 5% of custodial convictions
were Federal Sentences
- In 2005/2006, the incarceration rate in Canada was 131 per 100,000 up from
129 in 2004/2005
- Canada’s incarceration rate is higher
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