Prisoners and Work

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Several years ago, the Alberta government and other provincial governments considered the introduction of Alabama-style chain gangs as a form of employment for prisoners. This action reflected a North American trend towards making the prison experience harsher, with the view that this would discourage criminal behaviour. Currently, while there would no doubt be near-universal support […]

R v Fearon : Can Police Search a Cellphone Upon Arrest?

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Important Update:  Please see the article by Juliana Ho about the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in R. v Fearon.  The Supreme Court of Canada decided that the police search of Mr. Fearon’s cellphone did breach his Charter s. 8 right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure but decided that despite this breach, […]

Judicial Review is Different from Judicial Activism

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Since the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, there has been much discussion about the proper role of judges and courts in our democratic system. Commentators have noted, and many critics have complained, that decisions made and laws passed by our democratically elected representatives in Parliament and our provincial and […]

Whatever Happened To…U.S. v. Burns: Extradition and the Death Penalty

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The Death Penalty Around the World About 140 countries have permanently abolished the death penalty.  Some 50 countries have it on the books but don’t use it; 36 countries continue to use the death penalty, and 22 of these carried out executions in 2013. Japan and the United States are the only two industrial democracies […]

Bench Press 39-4: The Charter Protects Proms

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Two graduating high school students in Ontario launched a Charter challenge to their school principal’s decision to have a mandatory breathalyser test at their prom. They argued that the mandatory test was a violation of their s. 8 Charter right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure. Justice Himel of the Ontario Superior Court […]

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