Courts, Corrections, Incarceration

Anything related to the court system, sentencing of offenders, or incarceration issues

COVID-19: privacy breach brings charges

A Toronto man has been charged with contempt of court in Alberta for posting photographs of a judge who had convicted four COVID-19 anti-maskers for repeatedly breaching public health restrictions and judicial orders. Donald Smith, a pandemic-denying supporter of a Calgary mayoral candidate admitted July 27 that he had photographed the judges as well as an Alberta Health Services lawyer. [node:read-more:link]

Lawsuit involves diplomacy and security

The U.S. government is trying to keep secret the employment details of a State Department agent who killed a teenager in a 2019 head-on collision in Britain. Anne Sacoolas, who has not disputed that she was driving on the wrong side of the road, returned to the U.S. under diplomatic immunity and her government has been trying to suppress her professional details on “national security” grounds. The teenager’s parents have filed a civil wrongful death suit in Virginia. [node:read-more:link]

Parliamentary privilege v. government secrecy

The Speaker of the House of Commons says a government attempt to shield documents related to the firing of two scientists is a violation of parliamentary privilege. In a notice of motion filed in Federal Court, Anthony Rota, a Liberal MP, says the House has the power to send for any “persons, papers and records” it deems necessary. “This constitutionally entrenched power is fundamental to our system of parliamentary democracy, and to Parliament's critical role in acting as the ‘grand inquest of the nation’ and in holding the executive branch of government to account.” [node:read-more:link]

No quick shutdown for Guantanamo

This week’s transfer of a Moroccan to his homeland from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo, Cuba, has reopened discussion on the future of the remaining 59 long-term detainees and the facility’s future. It was the first transfer by President Joe Biden’s administration and legal experts say a total shutdown is going to take time because of the slow military commissions processing procedures. [node:read-more:link]

Police assault case appeals dismissed

Appeals filed by the defence and the prosecution in the case of a Toronto police officer convicted of assaulting a black man in 2016 have both been dismissed by an Ontario court. The defence had sought to overturn the assault conviction while the prosecution had appealed the acquittal of the office and his brother on related changes. [node:read-more:link]

European high court rules on hijabs

The European Court of Justice has ruled that companies in the European Union may ban Muslim employees from wearing a hijab under certain conditions. Ruling in two cases brought by women in Germany who were suspended, the court said “prohibition . . . may be justified by the employer’s need to present a neutral image towards customers or to prevent social disputes.” However, it also said national courts within the EU may consider social context in their own countries. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Spain’s lockdown unconstitutional

Spain's government has suffered a legal setback in its attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. The country’s highest court did not question the need for last spring’s national lockdown but says in a 6-5 decision that the government used the wrong mechanism. The Constitutional Court was ruling on a lawsuit by Spain’s far-right Vox party. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Hiring a PI prompts complaint

A lawyer’s decision to hire a private investigator to track a Manitoba judge’s personal behaviour while he hears a constitutional challenge to COVID-19 rules has resulted in another lawyer filing a complaint. “It's probably the most egregious case of professional misconduct that I've heard of in quite some time,” says Ottawa human rights lawyer Richard Warman, calling for “sanction in the strongest possible terms to make it clear that it's completely and utterly unacceptable.” [node:read-more:link]

Legal “right to be forgotten” upheld

Ruling on a reference by Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien (Docket T-1779-18), Federal Court Associate Chief Justice Jocelyne Gagné said the results of Google searches should be subject to privacy legislation. Effectively a ruling on how companies handle personal information, it is seen as a partial victory for individuals seeking to be “forgotten” on social media. It originated from a man’s complaint that search results had yielded damagingly inaccurate information about him. Google had argued privacy law did not apply because its search engine was not a “commercial activity.” [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Judge stalked while hearing protestors’ case

A Manitoba judge hearing a case brought by groups opposed to COVID-19 restrictions was followed by a private investigator looking for potential breaches of those limits by the judge. The lawyer representing several rural churches and individuals, admitted in court July 12 that he had hired the investigator but insisted it was not an attempt to influence the judge’s decision. [node:read-more:link]

South Africa’s Zuma turns himself in

Former South African president Jacob Zuma presented himself to police today to begin serving a 15-month jail term for contempt of court. He had defied a court order to testify before a judicial commission investigating widespread allegations of corruption during his time in office. [node:read-more:link]

UN court closes books on Bosnia

Two former allies of the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic were convicted June 29 of having aided and abetted crimes committed by Serb paramilitaries in a Bosnian town in 1992. Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic originally were acquitted in 2013 but that was overturned on appeal in 2015, setting the stage for retrial at the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: prison plan annoys Conservatives

A Correctional Service of Canada plan to give priority to inoculating hundreds of prison inmates is being condemned by the parliamentary opposition. Advocates say the CSC’s plan would protect vulnerable populations inside and outside the prison system but the Conservatives say it is “outrageous” to give prisoners priority over front-line health care workers, seniors and others. [node:read-more:link]

Convicted police officer sentenced for Floyd death

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd, has been sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. Hours before the hearing, Judge Peter Cahill denied Chauvin's motion for a new trial, saying his attorney failed to prove either abuses from the court or prosecutorial or juror misconduct. [node:read-more:link]


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