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POLS 3130 (87)

POLS 3130 Judicial Independence Readings.docx

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Political Science
POLS 3130
Dennis Baker

The New Face of Judicial Defiance: Sean Fine • Justice Westman is against the Conservative government's tough-on-crime agenda after years of seeing the backgrounds of people who come before him in court; even from a young age they were "behind the eight ball" • As of Oct 24, the government has doubled financial penalties assessed on convicted criminals-$100 per summary offence, $200 per indictable offence • Judicial discretion has also been removed in terms of waiving the fee for impoverished offenders • The money is for victims' services such as rape crisis centres • This is just one of numerous recent examples of laws passed by the Conservative government that has limited judges' discretion (others include mandatory minimum sentences; they can no longer divert people through house arrest as an alternative to jail for many crimes, including non-violent ones; limits on how much credit judges can give people for time in jail before sentencing) • A big question with the Conservative crime agenda has been whether justices would rule parts of it unconstitutional; big problem: what happens when justices will not do what the law intends for them to do? • The government not only imposed the victim services charges, but also took away judges' right to give double credit for time served before a conviction (allowing 1.5 days for each day served in exceptional cases) • The issue: judges can't pick and choose which laws they like and which they don't; that undermines the rule of law and public confidence in the administration of justice Handling of Lori Douglas Inquiry into Nude Photos Allegedly Damaged Integrity of Canadian Judicial Council: Christie Blatchford • The Canadian Judicial Council allegedly has damaged its very integrity and its ability to offer procedural
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