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Lecture 2

Lecture 2.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC323H5
Professor
Nicole Myers

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Lecture 2 September 20, 2012 R.v. Latimer Case  Issues of euthanasia  1993- first time it came before courts  Most publicized euthanasia case in Canadian history  Robert Latimer killing his 12-year-old daughter Tracy with carbon monoxide poisining o Tracy suffered from several serious conditions (had a serious disability but not terminally ill) o Had gone many surgeries o Had capacity to feel joy and pleasure o Often in excruciating pain o unable to talk, walk and feed herself  decided that Tracy’s life was not worth living- put an end to her pain  first told police that she died in her sleep but later confessed  charged with first degree murder o then had a trial before a jury and convicted of second degree murder and given life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 10 years  Latimer’s lawyer argued that he should be given a constitutional exemption o Argued that it was a mercy killing/euthanasia o Killed his daughter but the punishment was too severe o Make adjustments to constitution because of the circumstances of the killing  Court of Appeal; When decision was re-ordered after jury tempering- Later sentence to two years and less a day (half served in provincial jail and half in community)  2001 Supreme Court of Canada- crime could not be justified and life sentence with no parole for 10 years was not a breach of section 12 of the charter (ordered back to original sentence)  November 2010- granted full parole but is subject to supervision for the rest of his life Origins of Law- Classical Legal Theory: natural law, legal positivism and legal realism  Primarily considered with definitions of law and justice  Validity of law  Morality Natural law  Also called naturalism  Intimate connection between law and morality o Laws not associated with morality should not be enforced or followed  Focused much on Greek and Roman philosophers  Natural law is something that should simply just be known (for reasonable, logical humans)  Grotius- believed that humans by nature are social and reasonable o Rules that were natural were made for harmonious living (laws used to inspire harmonious relationships between people)  John Locke- developing idea of natural rights o In a state of nature, all humans are free and equal but are insecure in their freedom o People give up rights when they enter society for sense of security and common good of society o In this sense, the natural law is reflective of the common good  Believing in a higher system of power (typically a God)  Higher power that dictates the natural, moral order of society  Founded in objective, moral principles o Can be discovered by reason, and natural reason (reason that everyone has)  Laws written by humans only a law as long as they conform to the higher moral order  Objective moral laws  Relationship between law and morality  These laws cannot be changed or modified; existed in all time in all space  Black Stone- two main themes: o there could be no legally valid standards that conflicts with the natural law o All valid law derives its force and authority from natural law Links to Western Legal Systems  Natural rights theory were the philosophical bases for American and French revolution o Emphasis placed on use of reason (people being rational) rather than a god-given law  Rise of notion of jurisprudence and move away from a higher power determining law Definition of Natural Law  ‘unwritten law’  Reflection of moral/divine law  Same for everyone, everywhere  Body of moral principles, recognized by reason o Human reason alone is enough to decide what the natural law is  ‘do good (according to reason) and avoid evil (contrary to reason)’ Summary  Not made by humans  Based on structure of reality itself  Same for all people  Unchanging rule or pattern which is there for humans to discover  Naturally knowable moral law  Is a
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