Oct. 2 of this year will be the second annual Wrongful Conviction Day, which honours the wrongly convicted and raises awareness about what leads to wrongful convictions. John Artis was charged alongside Rubin Hurricane Carter in 1966 with the murder of three white men in Patterson, New Jersey. n 1981, after spending 15 years in prison, Mr. Artis was released. Charges were dismissed in 1985 after the pair was successfully granted a Writ of Habeas Corpus which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.
In consultations with justice partners and LAO’s advisory committees, Legal Aid Ontario heard again and again about the need to expand criminal certificates beyond the “loss of liberty” test — largely because the impact of criminal conviction is much greater now than in recent years. Nye Thomas is LAO’s Director General, Policy and Strategic Research. Nye has been leading LAO’s financial eligibility project.
In my last blog, I said that Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) had met with hundreds of stakeholders to help us make informed decisions about expanding legal aid eligibility. We recently announced the road LAO plans to take, and I am pleased to say that it is a comprehensive, multi-year plan to significantly enhance access to justice for low-income Ontarians.Nye Thomas is LAO’s Director General, Policy and Strategic Research. Nye has been leading LAO’s financial eligibility project.
We’ve come a long way since my last blog on financial eligibility, posted in March 2014, in which I noted how far Ontario was lagging behind other jurisdictions in recognizing that financial eligibility for legal aid services must be increased. Nye Thomas is LAO’s Director General, Policy and Strategic Research. Nye has been leading LAO’s financial eligibility project.
Cécile Kazatchkine is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
Janet Butler-McPhee is their Director of Communications and Advocacy. In September 2011, in Canada vs. PHS Community Services Society, the Supreme Court of Canada decided to allow Insite–Vancouver’s life-saving supervised consumption site–to remain open without risk of prosecution.
How does legal aid work in other jurisdictions? LAO asked the Montana Legal Services Association for its perspective. Alison Paul is the executive director of MLSA.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Gladue is a significant recognition of the position of Aboriginal offenders in the Canadian criminal justice system. It is well known to those working within the criminal justice system that Aboriginals are overrepresented. Chad Kicknosway is Ojibway and a graduate of law. He is currently a Gladue caseworker with Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto and has been authoring Gladue reports for the past four years.
This post is part of our Personal perspectives on access to justice series. Justice is not something you can hold in your hand, or put in the bank. It is neither concrete nor constant. The essence of justice is a proper balance between or among opposing or competing interests.Kingston lawyer Fergus J. (Chip) O’Connor was called to the bar in 1974. He opened his practice in Kingston a year later, and has dedicated his career since then to providing legal services to – and advocating for – prisoners at every level of Canada’s courts, often on a pro bono basis.
Wrongful convictions are an international problem. Our Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted decided there was a need for an International Wrongful Conviction day. Wrongful Conviction Day informs the general public, on an international level, that wrongful convictions have occurred, are occurring and will continue to occur in the future. There’s a need to change our system to uncover them and avoid them in future. James Lockyer, a principal at Lockyer Posner Campbell, is co-founder and lead counsel of the Association in Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted, an organization that advocates for the wrongly convicted.
“As a wrongly convicted individual who has had the good fortune to finally be set free, I feel a need to do what I can to help free others. Simply put, wrong is wrong. We all have an obligation to right the wrongs which come to our attention…” Newfoundlander Ron Dalton spent more than eight years in prison, charged with second-degree murder of his wife. It stole 12 years from his life, and led to two trials, an appeal, a lawsuit a public inquiry into his case, and two other wrongful convictions.
Ann McRae, Director of Legal Services at Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, writes about Rexdale’s FOCUS crime prevention model. “Today’s crime fighters wear jeans and sweaters, carry a cell phone and work for a vast network of modestly funded agencies…”