Supreme Court quashes Harper's tougher sentencing rules


mentalfloss
#1
Supreme Court quashes Harper's tougher sentencing rules

The Conservative government’s tough-on-crime agenda has suffered another major blow at the Supreme Court of Canada. The court blocked the government’s attempt to stop judges from routinely giving extra credit to offenders for time served in jail before sentencing.

The 7-0 ruling continues the losing streak of the Harper government in major cases at the Supreme Court over the past month.

The law at stake is a centrepiece of the government’s tough-on-crime agenda. The 2010 Truth in Sentencing Act set out to bar judges from giving double credit to offenders, in which each day behind bars before a trial counted as two days off their ultimate sentence. The act said each day should count as a day, though it also allowed 1.5 days credit “if the circumstances justify it.”

Judges in several provinces, however, have been routinely giving credit of 1.5 days. They say the extra credit is only fair, because jail time is nearly always reduced by a minimum of one-third after sentencing; a 90-day sentence means 60 days.

“I just say it’s absolutely unfair to treat someone who is presumed to be innocent more harshly than we would treat someone who has been found to be guilty,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Stephen Glithero wrote in the case of Sean Summers, 19, convicted of manslaughter after shaking his three-month-old baby to death.

That case was one of two Ottawa had appealed to the Supreme Court. Mr. Summers received 1.5 times credit for the 10 months he spent in pre-trial custody, taking 15 months off his eight-year sentence. Level Carvery, also 19, of Nova Scotia was convicted of cocaine trafficking and received 1.5 times credit for nine months in pre-trial custody, which cut his 30-month sentence roughly in half.

Appeal courts in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Manitoba upheld the judicial practice of routine 1.5 times credit; only British Columbia’s, by a 2-1 count, was against it, saying judges need to “honour Parliament’s intention.”

The government said it was building confidence in the justice system by ending an overly generous practice by judges. It also said prisoners abuse the system’s generosity by drawing out their cases in hopes of earning double credit. But one Ontario judge described that type of abuse as “more chimeric than real.”

The case was a key battleground between the government and the judiciary. The Truth in Sentencing Act put limits on judges’ discretion, one of several Conservative laws to do so. Judges have been pushing back, saying that it is still their job to ensure sentences are proportional and fair, under the Criminal Code. While the case wasn’t strictly speaking a constitutional one, proportionality has been described by the Supreme Court as a “constitutional obligation.”

Canada has more people in remand (waiting for trial) than in jail after being sentenced. In 2007-08, on any given day about 12,800 adults were in remand compared to about 9,500 in sentence custody. The number of adults in remand doubled from the late 1990s to 2007-08.

The government lost three major cases last month at the Supreme Court: the appointment of Justice Nadon to the Supreme Court, prisoner rights and a retroactive toughening of parole.

Supreme Court quashes Harper government’s tougher sentencing rules - The Globe and Mail
 
WLDB
No Party Affiliation
#2
Surprising. If its only applying to people who are getting sentenced to a few months I dont see it as a very big deal. An extra few weeks or month in prison probably wont make much of a difference one way or another.
 
PoliticalNick
Free Thinker
+1
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDBView Post

Surprising. If its only applying to people who are getting sentenced to a few months I dont see it as a very big deal. An extra few weeks or month in prison probably wont make much of a difference one way or another.

It applies to everyone. If you are found guilty and sentenced to jail time any time spent in remand will be credited usually at 1.5x actual days in remand. Some times in smaller cases this means the person will be released immediately because their remand time exceeds the sentence.

I do not have a problem with this. The whole idea of earned credit (commonly called 'good-time') is an incentive for prisoners to behave and take part in rehabilitation programs while incarcerated. It usually amounts to 1/3 of the sentence. What most people do not realize is that early release comes with conditions and supervision of a probation officer because the correctional system still legally has control of the prisoner until the actual end of their sentence.
 
mentalfloss
#4
This must be pretty boring news
 
Nuggler
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

This must be pretty boring news


Au contraire mon frère: good news. Puts off Helmethead's total control over the country and its laws for a few more days. At least I don't find it boring. Not too many comments though............well, ya have to give a sh*t.
 
tay
+2
#6
We have seen the results of 'minimum sentences' in the USA and it's ridiculous...........
 
Dixie Cup
Libertarian
+2
#7
I would rather have seen the Court confirm the Governments attempts to curtail "soft" sentencing of real serious crimes. I think the Court missed the boat on this one big time. By addressing this for all crimes, it would hurt those who would normally be sentenced for only a few months/years. It could be though, that the wording of the legislation wasn't clear enough so that the government should re-work the legislation to make sure the little fishies don't get caught up in it and the big fishies fry!!


JMHO
 
petros
+1
#8
Here is the scoop. The laws were written in a way to deliberately be struck down in the SCoC. There was zero intent in them having clout. It was all showmanship to appease the weak of mind and gain brownie points.

What a waste of time and cash for fluff.
 
B00Mer
Republican
#9
...another Liberal judge who thinks criminals should not be punished.. hope one he sets free victimizes his family.
 
gerryh
+2
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by B00MerView Post

...another Liberal judge who thinks criminals should not be punished.. hope one he sets free victimizes his family.


Really, and yet, 5 of the SCC justices have been appointed by Harper.
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
+3
#11  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by B00MerView Post

...another Liberal judge who thinks criminals should not be punished.. hope one he sets free victimizes his family.

Reads more like shouldn't be punished before they are proven guilty. Now, if they could just find ways to persuade lawyers from dragging out the process for bigger fees....

I'm all for longer sentences for the guilty
 
PoliticalNick
Free Thinker
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Dixie CupView Post

I would rather have seen the Court confirm the Governments attempts to curtail "soft" sentencing of real serious crimes. I think the Court missed the boat on this one big time. By addressing this for all crimes, it would hurt those who would normally be sentenced for only a few months/years. It could be though, that the wording of the legislation wasn't clear enough so that the government should re-work the legislation to make sure the little fishies don't get caught up in it and the big fishies fry!!


JMHO

I have to agree with you Dixie. I am all for much tougher sentences for violent crimes and major theft/fraud etc, especially some of the 'white-collar' crime and also repeat offenders. We also need to make parole a lot harder to obtain and of course make jail more like a prison than a holiday camp.
 
shadowshiv
Free Thinker
#13
Sometimes I feel that the judges here in Canada have entirely too much power. I wish that the public had the ability to vote them in (that way, if they are doing a piss-poor job of it they won't be getting back in during re-election time).
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by shadowshivView Post

Sometimes I feel that the judges here in Canada have entirely too much power. I wish that the public had the ability to vote them in (that way, if they are doing a piss-poor job of it they won't be getting back in during re-election time).


Do you really think so? If they do they don't really seem to be using it. I think too many really serious criminals are laughing at the judges and seem to be getting back on the street to kill, rape, molest again and again. I think those who are a danger to life and limb have to be put away for the duration but on the other hand for things like crimes against property there are more effective and less costly punishments than imprisonment. Like those bastards who did the Stanley Cup mayhem could be providing a lot of free labour around the city and save hiring people to do it and reduce some taxes. That way you get a positive out of a negative.
 
shadowshiv
Free Thinker
+1
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

Do you really think so? If they do they don't really seem to be using it. I think too many really serious criminals are laughing at the judges and seem to be getting back on the street to kill, rape, molest again and again. I think those who are a danger to life and limb have to be put away for the duration but on the other hand for things like crimes against property there are more effective and less costly punishments than imprisonment. Like those bastards who did the Stanley Cup mayhem could be providing a lot of free labour around the city and save hiring people to do it and reduce some taxes. That way you get a positive out of a negative.

That is what I mean by too much power. In most cases, justice is hardly being served. If it is, it seems to be serving the criminals rather than the victims.
 
PoliticalNick
Free Thinker
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

Do you really think so? If they do they don't really seem to be using it. I think too many really serious criminals are laughing at the judges and seem to be getting back on the street to kill, rape, molest again and again. I think those who are a danger to life and limb have to be put away for the duration but on the other hand for things like crimes against property there are more effective and less costly punishments than imprisonment. Like those bastards who did the Stanley Cup mayhem could be providing a lot of free labour around the city and save hiring people to do it and reduce some taxes. That way you get a positive out of a negative.

Great idea buddy but do you really think the union would allow it. What do you think the response would be if all the temporary summer jobs went to criminals instead of college students? I think a better use is to rent them out cheap to businesses that are struggling to stay afloat. Then it becomes a new revenue stream for the govt and cheap labor for someone who would go under if they had to pay a competitive wage. Win-win all around.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by PoliticalNickView Post

Great idea buddy but do you really think the union would allow it. What do you think the response would be if all the temporary summer jobs went to criminals instead of college students? I think a better use is to rent them out cheap to businesses that are struggling to stay afloat. Then it becomes a new revenue stream for the govt and cheap labor for someone who would go under if they had to pay a competitive wage. Win-win all around.




Yeah, I'm not against that. I don't personally give a sh*t what the unions think. They can scream, shout and blubber all they want but in the final analysis they aren't running the city. There is a good role for them and that is watch dog on safety issues, not meddling with financial issues. The main consideration should be the people paying the bills and that happens to be the tax payers.
 
damngrumpy
No Party Affiliation
+1
#18
Judges need discretion and powers of their own. We have governments who want to
seek revenge more than justice and other governments who want to be too soft on the
criminals. We need what is appropriate in all cases and not a sentence prescribed by
legislation court did the right thing
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by damngrumpyView Post

Judges need discretion and powers of their own. We have governments who want to
seek revenge more than justice and other governments who want to be too soft on the
criminals. We need what is appropriate in all cases and not a sentence prescribed by
legislation court did the right thing


Well, I do believe in some cases Harper was being a little vindictive in wanting to count time served in remand the same as time served under sentence, particular for non violent crimes and crimes against property as for types like the Brothers Bacon, I don't think it really matters, either way when they get released it should be in a body bag!
 
Nuggler
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by shadowshivView Post

Sometimes I feel that the judges here in Canada have entirely too much power. I wish that the public had the ability to vote them in (that way, if they are doing a piss-poor job of it they won't be getting back in during re-election time).


You should move to the States. They already have mandatory minimums there, and three strikes (life for stealing a loaf of bread)......You'd enjoy it.

Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Here is the scoop. The laws were written in a way to deliberately be struck down in the SCoC. There was zero intent in them having clout. It was all showmanship to appease the weak of mind and gain brownie points.

What a waste of time and cash for fluff.


Right, Helmet never really intended to send anyone to prison..............


Where did you come up with that remarkable observation ?
 
Locutus
#21
The Canadian MSM vs. The Truth

watch the vid and that's that kids.


Supreme Media Party spin : Prime time : SunNews Video Gallery


The Canadian MSM vs. The Truth - Small Dead Animals


/end thread.
 
Colpy
Conservative
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by LocutusView Post

The Canadian MSM vs. The Truth

watch the vid and that's that kids.


Supreme Media Party spin : Prime time : SunNews Video Gallery


The Canadian MSM vs. The Truth - Small Dead Animals


/end thread.

Yep. The MSM is simply not on.
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#23
Yet you swallow SunPropaganda hook, line and sinker....
 
pgs
Free Thinker
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

Yet you swallow SunPropaganda hook, line and sinker....

Did you listen to the clip ?
Sun may be a little over the top but if you get through the bluster they do make legitimate points .
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
+2
#25
They all do ... mingled into the BS to make it ALL sound true. Propaganda is like that. That's the problem with news media being owned by political interests. But it makes money for millionaires so who cares....
 
Colpy
Conservative
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

They all do ... mingled into the BS to make it ALL sound true. Propaganda is like that. That's the problem with news media being owned by political interests. But it makes money for millionaires so who cares....

LOL!!

I listen to the CBC...........

And I listen to Sun occasionally on the Net.

Here is the odd thing.....Sun was the ONLY media outlet telling the truth about the anti-fracking protests in Rexton, NB....which I have some insider knowledge about.

Sun is the ONLY media outlet telling the truth about our Supreme Court, in this decision and in the decision on Harper's appointee.

Sorry if it shakes up your narrow view of the world, but it is always good to have, and to listen to an alternative voice.
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by ColpyView Post

LOL!!

I listen to the CBC...........

And I listen to Sun occasionally on the Net.

Here is the odd thing.....Sun was the ONLY media outlet telling the truth about the anti-fracking protests in Rexton, NB....which I have some insider knowledge about.

Sun is the ONLY media outlet telling the truth about our Supreme Court, in this decision and in the decision on Harper's appointee.

Sorry if it shakes up your narrow view of the world, but it is always good to have, and to listen to an alternative voice.

You, who consider Israel to be the standard of the world, have very little wiggle room in defining the width of my world.
 
PoliticalNick
Free Thinker
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by ColpyView Post

Sorry if it shakes up your narrow view of the world, but it is always good to have, and to listen to an alternative voice.

Unless that voice is just inside your head and telling you to do strange things.
 
pgs
Free Thinker
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

They all do ... mingled into the BS to make it ALL sound true. Propaganda is like that. That's the problem with news media being owned by political interests. But it makes money for millionaires so who cares....

So you didn't listen then ?
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by pgsView Post

So you didn't listen then ?

I heard one make Harper sound like Hitler and another make the news sound like it was everyone else's fault and like all news, I know the truth is somewhere halfway between. What did you want me to hear?
 

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