Saturday, April 30, 2005

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2005

Drop The Chalupa!

School Mistakes Huge Burrito for a Weapon
N.M. School Locked Down After a Huge Burrito Was Mistaken for Weapon

The Associated Press

CLOVIS, N.M. Apr 29, 2005 — A call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All over a giant burrito.

Someone called authorities Thursday after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped into Marshall Junior High.

The drama ended two hours later when the suspicious item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapenos and wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt.

"I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," school Principal Diana Russell said.

State police, Clovis police and the Curry County Sheriff's Department arrived at the school shortly after 8:30 a.m. They searched the premises and determined there was no immediate danger.

In the meantime, more than 30 parents, alerted by a radio report, descended on the school. Visibly shaken, they gathered around in a semi-circle, straining their necks, awaiting news.
"There needs to be security before the kids walk through the door," said Heather Black, whose son attends the school.

After the lockdown was lifted but before the burrito was identified as the culprit, parents pulled 75 students out of school, Russell said.

Russell said the mystery was solved after she brought everyone in the school together in the auditorium to explain what was going on.

"The kid was sitting there as I'm describing this (report of a student with a suspicious package) and he's thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, they're talking about my burrito.'"

Afterward, eighth-grader Michael Morrissey approached her.

"He said, 'I think I'm the person they saw,'" Russell said.

The burrito was part of Morrissey's extra-credit assignment to create commercial advertising for a product.

"We had to make up a product and it could have been anything. I made up a restaurant that specialized in oddly large burritos," Morrissey said.

After students heard the description of what police were looking for, he and his friends began to make the connection. He then took the burrito to the office.

"The police saw it and everyone just started laughing. It was a laughter of relief," Morrissey said.
"Oh, and I have a new nickname now. It's Burrito Boy."


Supreme Court refuses Gordian knot of Canadian Justice

Supreme Court rejects hearing 'Kemosabe' appeal

CBC News

OTTAWA - Canada's highest court has refused to hear arguments on whether the word "Kemosabe" – a term used in The Lone Ranger TV series – is a racial slur.

Nova Scotia's Human Rights Commission had turned to the Supreme Court of Canada to clarify the use of the word in the workplace after a woman filed a complaint.

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission spent an entire day watching 'The Lone Ranger' in 2003 to decide whether being called kemosabe was demeaning. (CP Photo)

Dorothy Kateri Moore complained to the commission in 1999, saying her boss and a co-worker at Play it Again Sports in Sydney discriminated against her by calling her Kemosabe.

The term was the name Tonto gave the Lone Ranger on the 1950s TV show.

The commission appointed a board of inquiry to look into the complaint. In February 2004, the board ruled that Moore hadn't clearly shown she was offended by the remark so discrimination didn't take place.

The commission argued that the board of inquiry erred in placing an undue burden on Moore to prove she found the term offensive, and appealed the ruling to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.
The three-member appeal court panel upheld the board's decision, writing that Moore had not shown the word was "notoriously offensive."

But the commission appealed that decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, hoping it would clarify what the term "notoriously offensive" meant.

"We're disappointed," Mayann Francis, chair of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, said in a release. "We thought this case might help establish clearer guidelines for dealing with discrimination and the cultural differences one finds in a diverse workplace."

"This is about much more than the use of one word. It's about establishing standards that are clear to employers and to employees, standards that protect and encourage diversity," Francis said.

Ann Smith, a lawyer for the human rights commission, said that "people need to understand what that phrase means in order to determine what is or is not considered acceptable behaviour in the workplace."

"What I consider 'notoriously offensive' you may not. We wanted some legal standard that would help people," she said.

Since the highest court in Canada will not hear the appeal, she added, the commission will look for other ways to clarify the parameters.



Thirty-three songs later and The EELS' Things The Grandchildren Should Know is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard:

I go to bed real early
Everybody thinks it's strange
I get up early in the morning
No matter how disappointed I was with the day before
It feels new

I don't leave the house much
I don't like being around people
Makes me nervous and weird
I don't like going to shows either
It's better for me to stay home

Some might think it means 
I hate people
But that's not quite right

I do some stupid things
But my heart's in the right place
And this I know

I got a dog, 
I take him for a walk
And all the people like to say hello
I'm used to staring down at the sidewalk cracks
I'm learning how to say hello
Without too much trouble

I'm turning out just like my father
Though I swore I never would
Now I can say that I have love for him
I never really understood
What it must have been like for him
Living inside his head
I feel like he's here with me now
Even though he's dead

It's not all good and it's not all bad
Don't believe everything you read
I'm the only one who knows what it's like
So I thought I'd better tell you
Before I leave

So in the end I'd like to say
That I'm a very thankful man
I try to make the most of my situations
And enjoy what I have
I knew true love and I knew passion
And the difference between the two
I have some regrets but if I had to do it all again
Well, it's something I'd like to do


Bob Rae to probe need for Air India inquiry

Not that anyone cares, but isn't Bob Rae a dead-ringer for Bruce Davidson as Senator Kelly in the X-Men movies?

Wait a minute... do you know what this means?



Newly appointed as an independent advisor to the government on calls for an inquiry into the Air India disaster, former Ontario premier Bob Rae says he hopes to work quickly.

Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan announced the appointment Tuesday, charging Rae with providing independent advice on the bombing that killed 329 people aboard an Air India flight in 1985.

In an interview with CTV's Canada AM, Rae said Wednesday morning that he expects to be talking to relatives of the victims within days.

"I want to get on with it," he said. "I think it's important for us to move forward and for us to recognize that the families have waited for a long time for some resolution of what happened."
Rae has already found himself the subject of criticism, however.

Ottawa Air-India 182 Victims Families Association spokesperson Susheel Gupta told the Globe and Mail that Rae was an unqualified candidate for an unnecessary job.

"He's not an anti-terrorism expert, he's not an investigator," Gupta told the paper. "It offends me and it angers me, but sadly we are used to being treated like this."

After twenty years without answers about the crash off the Irish coast that claimed his mother, Gupta said the need for an inquiry should be obvious.

"The questions are already out there. Why do we have to come up with the questions?"
Responding to the criticism, Rae said he has relevant experience -- including five years on the security intelligence review committee.

But he's not interested in debating his credentials.

"Having been in politics for 20 years, I'm used to people saying nasty things or things that aren't very kind or negative things," he told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday.

"So that doesn't trouble me at all.

"I think one just has to work ahead ... and I think there are a number of people who are very interested in being constructive," he added, suggesting Gupta might eventually be among them.
The government has asked Rae to review all materials and previous inquiry findings, such as those conducted by the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) and the Canadian Aviation Safety Board; and transportation and security measures related to the bombing.

"Only when we have a good understanding of any outstanding questions that can reasonably be answered now can we decide on the next steps, but I want to emphasize that I am open to all options," said McLellan.

Before becoming a partner at Toronto-based international law firm Goodman Phillips & Vineberg, Rae had a distinguished career in the public sector.

He served as Premier of Ontario from 1990 to 1995 before retiring from politics in 1996. He was appointed member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada in 1998 and served as a member of the Canada Transportation Act Review and SIRC.

He was educated at the International School of Geneva and University of Toronto, and he was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford.

He is President, and past-Chairman, of the non-profit, international organization Forum of Federations.




My daughters have some work displayed in the local community art show. The subject is Dreams. Check them out under Allore at:


"Absolute stone masterpiece."

Entertainment Weekly

I am off to buy a new release (no, not the Springsteen album!)



MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2005

Oh my god! The Gazette finally decided to cover a story about Quebec criminal justice! 

(ya, the ADQ... Super Mario never met a political opportunity he didn't like)

ADQ seeks tougher prison, parole systems
Dumont: Quebec charter of victims' rights urged; Father of murder victim Julie Boisvenu is on panel discussing how inmates are treated

The Gazette
Monday, April 25, 2005

Disgusted by stories of repeat offenders committing serious crimes after getting early parole, Action democratique du Quebec leader Mario Dumont yesterday vowed his party would draft a policy to correct the situation.

"It's absurd and revolting that a system that has as a goal to put people back on the right track is a system that is based, itself, on crooked actions, lies and hypocrisy," he told more than 200 members at a general council meeting.

"An ADQ government would fight against crime, and make Quebec a safer place to live."
The family of Julie Boisvenu spent $8,000 on funeral costs alone after she was killed in 2002 by a repeat sex offender who had served only three months of an 18-month sentence for his first crime. But while Quebec paid for the legal fees of Hugo Bernier - the man convicted of killing her - it gave only $600 to the family.

"So the victims are completely excluded from the system to the benefit of criminals," said Julie's father, Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, part of a panel invited by the ADQ to discuss the issue.
The family also had to pay to travel from their home in the Eastern Townships to Montreal once a week during Bernier's trial as they searched for answers to why he wasn't kept behind bars or rehabilitated the first time he was convicted of rape.

While they wrote to the Revenue and Public Security Departments for all available records on Bernier, the family's requests were refused because of laws protecting personal information. Boisvenu said it's an injustice that is unique in Canada.

"If we want to have the files, we have to launch a lawsuit against the Public Security Department, so again it's us as victims who must spend money to have information, while at the federal level, the government automatically sends you the information," he said.

Boisvenu is asking Quebec to revise its parole laws, and to adopt a new charter guaranteeing the rights of victims and improving their compensation.

Dumont said the issues would be debated prior to the party's next general council meeting in the fall, but he indicated he wants to end the system of political nominations to the parole board. He said the government imposes quotas on the board's commissioners as well as on prison officials, so it can empty out overcrowded detention centres.

Dumont said the issue is neglected by Quebec's other political parties, but he admitted crime rates remain low in the province.

"Certainly, our aim is not to create some panic, (or) to try to convince people that the crime rate is extreme in Quebec," he said. "But still, we have enough examples of people whose lives are taken by people whose names are on the prison list."

The author of a book on Quebec's parole system urged ADQ supporters not to be afraid of being labeled "rednecks" for pursuing the matter.

"This is bull----," said Yves Theriault, who sold a few copies of his book, Tout le monde dehors, following the panel discussion. "The reality is that the Quebec correctional services system is a monumental failure. Quebec prisons are like Club Med."

Theriault said federal inmates go through rehabilitation programs, while Quebec offers no such help. Since the provincial justice system only sends people with sentences under two years to Quebec prisons, he said there is often a false assumption that no serious crime was committed.


Election Dysfunction


The Ottawa Sun
Mon 25 Apr 2005

VICTIMS' ADVOCATES are worried an early election could let killers like Karla Homolka slip out of prison without their DNA in the federal databank.

MPs are in the throes of studying Bill C-13, which would expand the retroactive application of a law that gives authorities the right to take DNA samples of rapists and murderers. Currently, samples can only be taken from dangerous offenders or those serving time for at least two murders or sex assaults.

Steve Sullivan, president of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, said the bill would expand the law to "catch Karla" and other violent offenders and boost public safety.
"If you were to pass the amendment in one year or two years or three years you could still catch them, but they might be released on parole any time, so it would be nice to have their DNA before they're released," he said. "But with Homolka, once she walks out the door in July, that's it. They don't have any more authority over her."


Ottawa resident Carolyn Gardner, whose sister Sheryl was beaten to death in Toronto by psychopath Ralph Power, has written Tory Leader Stephen Harper imploring him not to trigger an election.

"If you force an election, Bill C-13 will die," she wrote. "When making your decision, Mr. Harper, I ask you to consider my sister, Sheryl."

Passing the bill would also help crack unsolved murder cases and serve as a deterrent, Sullivan said.

"People like Karla will be walking out the door. We won't have their DNA, and we'll just have to wait for the next victim to get it," he said.

Sullivan has written to all party leaders, asking them to ensure the bill is passed before an election.

Conservative Justice critic Vic Toews acknowledged the bill is in jeopardy, but said a Tory government would introduce a bill stronger than the Liberal measure.

His party can't be blamed if the current bill dies, he said. "The Liberals have had 12 years to do something, and they haven't."

Toews questioned whether the bill could be passed in time for Homolka's release, but Sullivan said if there's political will, there's a way.



Shades of Key-Dalzell

Oh doesn't this sound familiar...

Proceedings stayed in girl's slaying
RCMP charged man without consulting Crown prosecutors

Darah Hansen
Vancouver Sun; with files from Canadian Press
Saturday, April 23, 2005

PENTICTON - The Crown stayed proceedings Friday against a 68-year-old man police had charged with killing his brother's stepdaughter in Penticton almost 26 years ago.

Regional Crown prosecutor Brad Chapman announced the stay of the first-degree murder charge against Ernest Gardiner during what was supposed to have been a bail hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton.

Gardiner was not in court, but was represented by his lawyer, Oliver Butterfield. The killing of 12-year-old Susan Duff attracted province-wide headlines when she went missing in 1979.

Chapman said the RCMP had the charge sworn against Gardiner April 15 without consulting the prosecutor's office -- contrary to normal procedure in British Columbia. After reviewing the case, Chapman's office concluded the RCMP did not have enough evidence to support the murder charge.

Outside court, Chapman said it is not unusual for the police to lay a charge without going to the Crown.

"There's certainly circumstances where the police are involved in an investigation, where they have a body of knowledge and an understanding of their investigation that gives them a good idea as to the strength of their case," he said.

Butterfield disagreed, calling the police decision to circumvent normal charge-approval protocol in B.C. "very unusual" -- particularly when, according to the lawyer, police knew the Crown would not prosecute the case on the basis of the evidence then available.

Chapman defended the way the police handled the case.

"The police conducted themselves in this investigation impeccably," he said.

Butterfield said the reason police decided to lay the charge "was to facilitate their own investigation."

"They were hoping to get either a confession or some other evidence from [Gardiner] when he was detained in custody," Butterfield said.

Gardiner spent seven days behind bars charged with the first-degree murder of Duff. During that time, Butterfield said, his client was subject to "intense" interrogation by police and had undercover agents placed in his prison cell in order to collect new evidence in the cold case.
Speaking to media outside RCMP E Division headquarters in Vancouver Friday, Sgt. John Ward defended the actions of Penticton investigators.

"Our members were acting with all the right intentions," Ward said.

He said the matter remains under active investigation and Friday's stay of proceedings has done nothing to hurt the case. "We've lost nothing here," he said.

Six charges of sexual assault remain outstanding against Gardiner. The charges date between 1973 and 1979 and allegedly involve girls between the ages of five years and the mid-teens.
Stan Lowe, spokesman for the provincial Crown, said his office has yet to review those charges, which were sworn April 15, again without prior approval by Crown counsel, the same day police charged Gardiner with murder.

Gardiner is currently on bail on those charges. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 23.

Susan Duff was last seen alive on Sept. 26, 1979, after eating supper with her family at their home in a Penticton mobile home park. At 5:30 p.m., she went outside to play with her sister and was last seen pedalling away on a bicycle.

A family picking mushrooms found Duff's fully clothed body among trees and rocks on Oct. 21, 1979. Her three-speed Mustang bike was found in the bushes a short distance away. Also found were a man's brown leather glove, a string of tape and a half-metre length of yellow nylon rope.
Police believe the body had been there since the girl disappeared almost a month earlier. An autopsy performed at the time failed to reveal the cause of death.


Tragedy = Justice's Mother of Invention

Fla. Legislature Cracks Down On Sex Offenders
Jeb Bush Expected To Sign Bill
April 23, 2005

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- After a convicted sex offender was arrested in Georgia for killing a 9-year-old girl, the Florida Legislature has passed a bill that would strengthen punishments for sex offenders.

[Jeb Bush... you Snakeskin Cowboy, you.]

Gov. Jeb Bush is expected to sign the Jessica Lunsford Act, named for the young girl who was abducted, raped and killed in February.

[oh... did we forget to mention she was buried alive?]

The bill would set a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison for people convicted of molesting children under 12. If offenders serve less than life, they would be required to wear a global positioning system device after their release so authorities could monitor their whereabouts.

[Oh where oh where has my little ped. gone?]

Both chambers passed the measure unanimously - the House on Friday, the Senate on Thursday.

[Politics... it plays well on television]

Convicted sex offender John E. Couey, who lived near Lunsford, is charged with her killing. Couey did not inform the state when he moved into Lunsford's neighborhood in Homosassa, about 60 miles north of Tampa.

[Bad convicted sex offender, BAD convicted sex offender!... next time you tell us where you're going, young man!]

In March, police arrested Couey in Augusta, Ga. and later charged him in Lunsford's death. Police say Couey failed to inform Florida authorities he was traveling to Georgia.

[and his punishment for failing to report was????]

Earlier this month, another sex offender was charged in the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Sarah Lunde of Ruskin. David Onstott, the man accused in the slaying, was convicted of a sex crime in 1995.


Quick Spin on Canada's Justice Carousel

It may be legal, but it sure ain't right.

Baranovski's killers go free

Friday, April 22, 2005
Canadian Press

Toronto — Two young men convicted of manslaughter in the death of a 15-year-old boy who was kicked in the head over a pack of cigarettes have been freed less than two years after they were sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Meir Mariani and Lee Cochrane were released from prison earlier this week after completing two-thirds of their sentences, said Julia Noonan, a spokeswoman with Ontario's Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Matti was in a North Toronto park in November, 1999, when he was swarmed by about a dozen youths, some of whom began kicking him repeatedly in the head in an effort to steal pocket change, drugs and a pack of cigarettes.

He later died in hospital of a ruptured artery.

Mr. Mariani and Mr. Cochrane were both 20 when they were convicted of manslaughter in July, 2003, and sentenced to 10 years in prison five months later. A third man, 22-year-old Daniel Weiz, was acquitted of charges in the case.

Because Mr. Mariani and Mr. Cochrane had spent four years in pre-sentence custody, Justice David McCombs decided – as is standard – to count that time as eight years served and subsequently ordered the men to each serve two years less a day in jail.

That decision was based on a two-for-one rule that gives double credit to inmates who served time before a trial because they were not eligible for parole or other programs. The pair were denied parole last summer.

“They were serving sentences of two years less a day, they were denied parole this past August, and then they would have to serve their complete two-thirds,” Ms. Noonan said.
“They've completed their two-thirds, so (now) they'd be under three years community supervision.”

She refused to disclose any details about where either one of the men is living or the terms of their release.

“I can't tell you that for security reasons,” she said. “Especially for high-profile cases, it can be a security risk to identify where individuals are being supervised within a community.”
The two were denied parole last August, out of fears of more violence and reports that they had smoked marijuana while behind bars.

In refusing their parole applications, the Ontario Parole and Earned Release Board described Mr. Cochrane as “unstable” and having a history of ”combative altercations.” It also cited Mr. Mariani's behaviour as ”less than favourable and actually declining.”

Matti, a straight-A student who dreamed of becoming a doctor, had immigrated to Canada with his mother from Israel two years before his death. The killing prompted his classmates to raise $6,000 for anti-violence initiatives, and the Toronto police formed an anti-swarming task force to stem violent youth acts.

Mr. Mariani and Mr. Cochrane had originally been charged as youths but their cases were bumped to adult court a year later.


FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2005

GRE Results

SA-Weeet!!!! (and sour)

Okay, I got my official results.

First; the bad news. On the quantative (math) I was in the 22nd percentile - which is a bit disturbing, considering that as the Treasury Manager for the City of Durham I'm responsible for a $100 Million investment portfolio and a $300 million debt portfolio. What can I say... there's not a lot of demand for knowing the value of pie.

The good news: On the verbal I was in the 72nd percentile.

Even better: On my essays I was in the 86th percentile. I scored 5.5 - the max possible (with 0.5 increments) is 6.0.

Daddy can chase down that voodoo.


AFPAD's response to Federal Corrections Reform

I have included the entire text in French of AFPAD's press release of April 21st, concerning the proposed modifications to Corrections. My French is a little rusty, but here are the highlights in English:

AFPAD respectfully thanks McLellan and Cotler for their attention, bla, bla, bla...

But then AFPAD requests these further modifications:

1. Although Quebec has it's own Parole system, AFPAD maintains that the Feds still have a responsibility of oversight for Quebec parole. The Feds must address the problem of the more that 1,000 Quebec victims who have seen "life" sentences in cases that concern them overturned after 15 years.

2. AFPAD wishes the proposed reforms would have addressed issues of control and increased monitoring for offenders once they are released. AFPAD maintains the Federal government has a responsibility to protect public security especially for dangerous offenders.

3. AFPAD calls for the Federal government to live up to their commitment of creating a national sex offender registery.

4. Finally - and this is a doozy - AFPAD calls for representatives of the families of the victims to be named on a permanent Committee of justice and rights for persons examining the Canadian court system and conditional liberation. That AFPAD would be happy to represent the victims of Quebec on this committee.

Here is the text in full:

L'AFPAD satisfaite en partie des modifications proposées par le gouvernement fédéral Le 20 avril 2005, le gouvernement fédéral annonçait des modifications à la loi sur le système correctionnel et la mise en liberté sous conditions et certaines mesures à l'intention des victimes.
L'AFPAD qui représente plus de 130 familles au Québec ayant connu l'assassinat d'un proche ou la disparition d'un des siens, se dit satisfaite de ces propositions qui vont dans le sens de ses démarches auprès des deux paliers de gouvernements : mieux encadrer les criminels dangereux et reconnaître des droits aux familles des victimes dans nos systèmes de justice.

Les mesures annoncées hier par les deux ministres fédéraux, Mme Anne McLellan à la Sécurité publique et M. Irwin Cutler à la Justice, sont un pas dans la bonne direction. L'AFPAD se réjouit qu'enfin on consacre plus de ressources afin d'aider les victimes et les organismes qui les représentent. Dans ce sens, l'AFPAD rencontrera le ministre Cutler au début juin 2005 et lui adressera des demandes spécifiques pour qu'enfin on vienne en aide aux 1000 familles du Québec dont la vie a été bouleversée par un assassinat depuis 15 ans. Le gouvernement fédéral ne peut pas continuer à prétendre que l'aide aux victimes ne relève que des provinces. Il a aussi une responsabilité dans ce sens.

l'AFPAD aurait voulu que certaines mesures du gouvernement fédéral aillent plus loin, et ce afin d'assurer une plus grande sécurité des victimes et plus de transparence dans la gestion des criminels dangereux, notamment les prédateurs sexuels. De plus, rien n'est annoncé concernant le contrôle des criminels dangereux libérés après l'échéance de leur peine d'incarcération. Cette attitude ouvre la voie à de nouvelles poursuites contre le gouvernement fédéral pour manquement grave à sa responsabilité d'assurer la sécurité des citoyens et citoyennes du Canada. L'AFPAD exige un meilleur encadrement et un suivi de ces criminels une fois en liberté.
En ce qui concerne les crimes à caractère sexuel, l'AFPAD exige un renforcement des mesures de la loi sur le registre des prédateurs sexuels adoptée en décembre 2004. Celle-ci ne va pas assez loin et elle n'a aucun caractère préventif.

Enfin, l'AFPAD demande au gouvernement fédéral que des représentants des familles des victimes soient nommés sur le Comité permanent de la justice et des droits de la personne qui a été chargé d'examiner le système correctionnel canadien et de libération conditionnelle. L'AFPAD serait heureuse d'ailleurs de représenter les victimes du Québec sur ce comité.




The content from last fall's victim conference hosted in Montreal byl'Association Quebecoise Plaidoyer-Victimes is now available on there website.

Even if you don't speak French, you should check it out. There are a number of Powerpoint presentations that are - despite the language barrier - essentially self-explanatory.

It's a good snapshot of what the folks are up to in Quebec with victim services.


Apparently I've touched a raw - and somewhat unbalanced - nerve in one reader, Holly Desimone who blogs over at Fight For Justice.

Note the vitriol in the following comment:

Dear John, WAKE UP MAN, come back to the real world, if you think this is going to become law by 2007, your really not that smart! After our so called Prime Minister makes his 5 minutes of fame, calls an election, makes the next few months without another mess, we may be pass May. It will take them some time to pass the bill, let alone pay it! John a bit of knowledge, from me "it is not what you know, it is who you know". John I thought you were smart enough to take STATS really not waste the time, money on studying criminal mind. If you could figure out the criminal mind you would be rich already! John if you want to be an advocate work on STATS, TO REALLY GET your VOICE IN CANADA!! If you want to fight crime. That will be my course of action if I was returning to school! oh right you live in the United States! Victims of Crime have NOVA. National Centre for Victims of Crime.

Attacking my ex-pat status... Ouch!

Look, The only real danger here is if the Liberals call an election and actually win. If we get a cabinet shuffle and McLellan gets replaced, then I agree - we're (or you're) up the creek. If the Tories squeak in, I think the bill will stay in play.

As for the rest of Holly's message, I don't quite know what to make of it. It's acknowledged (mostly by Canadians) that the United States is about 20 years ahead of Canada in their victims services. Yes, we have NOVA. We also have a permanent office of victims of crime (from what I understand, Canada's still chicken-scratching for a victimsombudsman.)

Now I can't recollect the exact definition, but I think an ombudsman is a phenomenon that is quintessentially Canadian: Someone who listens attentively, AND DOES NOTHING.

Is there anything more Canadian than that.


Laval Police reactivate three cold cases

La police de Laval réactive trois enquêtes
Presse Canadienne
Le 17 avril 2005 - 09:18

La police de Laval a réactivé trois enquêtes pour des meurtres non résolus d'une jeune femme et de deux fillettes, commis dans les années 90. Les trois victimes sont Marie-Ève Larivière, 12 ans, Joleil Campeau, 10 ans, et Annie Brissette, 29 ans.

De nouveaux éléments et les progrès technologiques en matière de recherche de criminels pourraient particulièrement permettre de faire avancer le dossier de la jeune Larivière. En 1992, en se rendant au dépanneur, elle avait été agressée sexuellement puis étranglée. Quant à Joleil Campeau, elle avait été retrouvée sans vie dans un marécage près de chez elle, en 1995. De son coté, Annie Brissette avait été battue à mort dans le garage de son immeuble de condos, également en 1995.




Government of Canada Proposes Amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and New Measures to Benefit Victims

OTTAWA, April 20, 2005 -- The Government of Canada introduced important new measures today that will benefit victims of crimes and make the federal corrections and conditional release system more effective.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Anne McLellan, introduced legislative amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), and together with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Irwin Cotler, also announced new program measures and new funding.

The proposed new program measures are supported by $77 million in Budget 2005. Approximately $52 million, for the next five years, has been allocated to Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for this initiative, and $25 million for the next five years has been allocated to the Department of Justice for the Victims of Crime Initiative.

“The Government of Canada is committed to maintaining a corrections and parole system that makes the safety and security of all Canadians its top priority,” said Minister McLellan. “We have listened to Canadians and are responding with new measures to support victims. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Raymond Bonin, Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt, for his important contribution in bringing these victims initiatives forward to the House,” she added.

“The Government’s commitment to improve the experience of victims of crime remains strong,” said Minister Cotler. “These resources will allow the Policy Centre for Victim Issues within the Department of Justice to continue their essential work in assisting victim service providers and advocates to address the needs of victims.”

New program measures for victims of offenders under federal responsibility will be put in place in the fall of 2005. These include f inancial travel assistance to attend parole hearings, and a National Office for Victims, featuring a new toll-free line for information and support. The Office will provide a centralized source of information about victims’ entitlements under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and an avenue for complaints about federal corrections and conditional release.

“Financial travel assistance to victims who wish to attend parole hearings and expanded information sharing will allow victims to play a greater role in the parole process,” said Minister McLellan. “These measures will be implemented in collaboration with the Department of Justice’s Policy Centre for Victim Issues.”

Key elements of the proposed amendments to the Act and new program measures would:

- Tighten up the Accelerated Parole Review process;
- Reinforce greater scrutiny of those eligible for Statutory Release;
- Streamline the Temporary Absence process;
- Permit terminally ill offenders to apply for early release on humanitarian grounds;
- Assist offenders suffering from mental illness; and
- Create additional Community Corrections Liaison Officers.

The right of victims to present a statement at National Parole Board (NPB) hearings would also be enshrined in the proposed legislation. Other elements of the Bill include providing more information to victims, such as: reasons for offender transfers; information on offender program participation; and a ccess to recordings of the most recent NPB hearings.

The definition of victim would be amended to ensure that guardians/caregivers of dependents of deceased, ill or otherwise incapacitated victims, could get the same information to which victims are legally entitled.

The CCRA provides the legal framework for the federal correctional system. Its purpose is to protect the public by providing a balance between control of, and assistance to, offenders to help them reintegrate successfully into society. In addition, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights was asked to look at corrections and parole. The Government is looking forward to the Committee conducting a review of issues related to corrections and parole and, where appropriate, making recommendations to the Government of Canada

The amendments and program measures respond to recommendations made by the-then Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in its May 2000 report entitled A Work in Progress: The Corrections and Conditional Release Act. A number of policy and program measures have already been implemented to meet the report’s recommendations.

For more information, visit these web sites:

See also:
Backgrounder: Victims Of Crime
Backgrounder: Amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release act and New Measures


Of course if the Tories call for an election, this all goes out the window...


The Toronto Sun
Wed 20 Apr 2005 

THE LIBERAL government will table a revamped prison and parole package today in Ottawa that puts a sharp focus on victims.

The Corrections and Conditional Relief Act, which is the legal framework for Canada's corrections system, is expected to pour millions of dollars to assist victims of crime. It would also include a new program to help victims and their family members attend parole hearings.
The pledge will come on top of $25 million earmarked in February's budget for the victims' centre run through the Justice department.

Previously tabled legislation that died before the last election aimed to tighten the accelerated parole review process and streamline the temporary absence process. It would also permit the release of terminally ill offenders on humanitarian grounds.

The Sun reported last November that the federal government shied away from helping needy victims get to parole hearings after costs were pegged at about $1.7 million a year.

Government documents had indicated the travel, salaries and operating costs for a victims assistance program would be about $6.5 million for the first five years, with annual ongoing costs projected at $1.7 million.

Bill would tighten parole rules

The Gazette
Wed 20 Apr 2005
CanWest News Service

The Liberal government will introduce a bill today to tighten up parole for offenders and boost support for crime victims.

MP Roy Cullen, parliamentary secretary to Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan, confirmed his government will reintroduce many of the same reforms that were contained in two previous Liberal bills that died on the order paper.

"This would advance the interests of victims of crime and it will also tighten up some of the provisions around accelerated parole," Cullen told CanWest News Service.

The new bill is expected to enshrine the right of victims to make statements at National Parole Board hearings.

It is also expected to exclude mobsters and child pornographers from being eligible to have their parole reviewed after serving one-sixth of their sentence.

And it would increase the scrutiny of a variety of parolees convicted of violent offences.
Cullen said the new bill will contain measures to address the spirit of a private member's bill tabled by Sudbury, Ont., Liberal MP Ray Bonin.

Bonin wants an ombudsman's office for crime victims. Under his proposal, the office would investigate and review policies and decisions of Corrections Canada and the National Parole Board, and look into problems experienced by crime victims.


A great article in Newsweek on the Christa Worthington case

A Lingering Mystery on The Cape
Why did it take so long to arrest a suspected killer?

DNA dragnet: Worthington's killer could have been found in days, not years

By Rebecca Sinderbrand

April 25 issue - For three years, police in tiny Truro, Massachusetts, had been searching for a killer. Yet they had no idea who murdered 46-year-old Christa Worthington. A world-weary fashion writer from a prominent family, Worthington had left behind the grind of New York journalism and settled into a quieter life in the Cape Cod town. Residents were shocked when she was discovered half naked on her kitchen floor on Jan. 6, 2002, a single stab wound in her chest. Her 2-year-old daughter, who was found sitting beside her, had been alone with the body for nearly two days.

The case drew national attention as suspicion wrongly settled on men with whom Worthington had been romantically involved. Police questioned the man who had found her body when he came to return a borrowed flashlight. were also drawn to a married lobsterman who fathered the daughter she was raising on her own. But after three years' effort failed to lead to an arrest, frustrated police turned to a controversial tactic: a DNA dragnet. Genetic evidence had been found at the crime scene and in January, investigators began asking for DNA samples from hundreds of randomly selected men in Truro. Civil-liberties groups denounced the effort, saying it trampled on individual rights. The ACLU pointed out that of 19 such dragnets carried out nationwide, only one had led to an arrest.

But late last week police announced a break in the case. They arrested Christopher McCowen, a 33-year old garbage collector with a long criminal history, and charged him with the murder. According to prosecutors, McCowen's DNA matched the evidence found at the scene. McCowen pleaded not guilty.

What took so long? As it turned out, the DNA dragnet had nothing to do with the arrest, and may have actually delayed it. Police had questioned McCowen earlier in the investigation, and he had voluntarily given a DNA sample in March 2004. But for some reason, the police apparently sat on the sample for several months before turning it over to the state's crime lab. Once it got there, the sample languished in the lab for another eight months, waiting its turn to be tested. The lab in Massachusetts—like many across the country—is undermanned and overworked. Police blamed the backlog at the lab for the delay, but lab officials say the cops could have had the results of McCowen's test in just a few days if they'd told the lab he was a high-priority suspect. Instead, while they were waiting for the results, the police launched the DNA dragnet—flooding the already swamped lab with hundreds of additional samples.

Yet there might not have been a need to do a DNA test on McCowen in the first place. In 1998, he left prison after doing time in Florida for car theft. By law, that state now sends DNA samples of all convicted felons to a nationwide criminal database. But at the time, McCowen's offense was not yet eligible for inclusion in that system. If it had been logged into the list, a suspected killer could have been caught in days, instead of years.


MEDIA ADVISORY - Deputy Prime Minister to introduce amendments to Corrections and Conditional Release Act

OTTAWA, April 19 /
CNW Telbec/ -

On Wednesday, April 20th, the Honourable Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness will introduce amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

The amendments will be accompanied by a series of new program measures designed to improve resources available to victims of crime and enhance the corrections and conditional release system.

Government officials will be available for a background technical briefing at 3:45 pm. To participate, media can call 1-888-265-0464 and quote reservation (pound sign)5672023.

Note: The briefing is not for attribution

DATE Wednesday, April 20, 2005

For further information: Alex Swann, Director of Communications, Office of the Honorable Anne McLellan, (613) 991-2863; Media Relations, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, 613-991-0657



Winds of change?

My sources tell me there may be an announcement tomorrow that the Federal government may be re-introducing a bill to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and this may spell good news for victims.


More homework

The topic tonight in my Public Information Technology class is GIS (Geographic Information Systems). So I figured I'd talk a little about Geographic Profiling...

PA 542 - Public Information Technology
North Carolina State University
Assignment 11

April 19, 2005

Subject: GIS Applications

Sources: 1998 lecture by Dr. Kim Rossmo on Geographic Profiling for the UK’s National Criminal Intelligence Service


While working as a patrol officer for the Vancouver police department, Constable Kim Rossmo became interested in geographic mapping tools that would assist officers in solving serial crimes such as arson, murder, rape, burglary, robbery and other volume crime. Rossmo later completed his doctorate in criminology at Simon Frasier University. He studied under Paul and Patricia Brantingham, pioneers in the use of GIS for law enforcement purposes. The Brantinghams developed theoretical models that could anticipate where crimes may occur based on statistics concerning offenders. Rossmo’s thesis inverted the question, asking: If you knew where crimes occurred, could that give you information about where offenders might live?

Based on his research, Rossmo developed (and subsequently patented) the Criminal Geographic Targeting model (CGT) and termed the phrase “Geographic Profiling”. Rigel, the computer system used for geographic profiling, incorporates geographic information systems, database manipulation, imaging and algorithmic formulas. It is an information management strategy used to assist investigators in solving crimes.

In 1998, Dr. Rossmo addressed the National Crime Intelligence Service in the United Kingdom about his work in Serial Profiling up to that point.

Geographic Profiling

Geographic Profiling is concerned with mapping and probability. Psychologists often talk of the “least effort principal”, the idea that human beings don’t go further than they have to in order to accomplish their goals. The same may be said for offenders. A series of rapes or burglaries may appear “random”, but in mathematics “randomness” has a very specific meaning. Indeed, criminals tend to commit their crimes fairly close to where they live. Geographic Profiling is concerned with this “nearness principal”. However, there is a buffer zone around an offenders home wherein they will not commit crimes. As Rossmo relates, at some point the desire for anonymity and the desire to operate in one’s comfort zone ultimately balance in an area of peak probability.

Geographic Profiling actually takes data of geographic importance in a crime and plots them as X-Y coordinates on a map. For instance, in a murder there might be four points of geographic relevance; the encounter site between victim and offender, the attack site where the crime first unfolds, the murder scene itself, and finally the location where the offender disposes the body. Four points for one murder. But there might be other relevant geographical data; and if an offender has multiple victims, the information increases exponentially.

In Geographic Profiling these data points are entered into the Rigel system. The information is used to create a “jeopardy surface”; a three-dimensional map detailing the probability of where an offender may live. On the map, the area of probability would be reflected on the Z-axis, the contours on the topological surface would give you the area where the offender is most likely to live.


Rossmo tested his computer based geographic profiling system against a number of historical cases, including the murders committed by Clifford Olson. Olson is Canada’s most infamous, convicted serial killer. He murdered eleven children and was responsible for a number of sexual assaults in British Columbia in the 1980s. The geographic profiling system produced a map that pinpointed a foursquare block area around Clifford Olson’s home.

Though Geographic Profiling achieves much of its cache from celebrity cases such as that of Clifford Olsen, the system has many other practical applications that – though not as glamorous – are equally useful to law enforcement.

Consider that a typical criminal investigation can generate thousands of leads and suspects. The "Green River" murders generated over 18,000 suspects. In a decade investigators where only able to work through 12,000 names. Geographic Profiling can be used to prioritize information based on the locations where crimes occur. Examples include zip codes prioritization being used to do mailouts to the public. Searching DMV records based on locations. Blanketing police patrols in areas of high crime.

Rossmo cites one example where Geographic Profiling was used to solve a series of thirty-two armed robberies that occurred in the course of a year in Vancouver. The system created an area of probability where the offenders lived. When the next armed robbery occurred police where not only sent to the scene of the crime, but to that area of probability. The offenders were apprehended and the robberies stopped.

Beyond 1998

Approximately 200 crime analysts have been trained on the Rigel system. Today Geographic Profiling is used by police agencies across North America and Europe. Kim Rossmo is currently a research professor at the Department of Criminal Justice at Texas State University-San Marcos. Shortly after giving this lecture, Rossmo warned about the disappearance of more than 50 women from downtown Vancouver’s East-side prostitution district, suggesting a serial killer was likely at work. In 2002 Robert Pickton was arrested and could ultimately stand trial for the murders of 32 of the over 70 Vancouver women.


MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2005

RCMP solve 26-year-old murder

Yes, yes, it would give me pause for thought provided Quebec actuallyhad a cold case unit that was dedicated, and considered old crimes a priority.

B.C. man charged with 1979 murder

Last Updated Mon, 18 Apr 2005
18:20:45 EDT
CBC News

PENTICTON, B.C. - A British Columbia man has been arrested and charged with the murder of his 12-year-old niece in the Okanagan city of Penticton more than a quarter of a century ago.
Ernest John Gardiner, 68, has been charged with the murder of Susan Duff.

The girl was last seen alive near a popular Skaha Lake beach at the south end of Penticton in September 1979. Her body was found in the Carmi Hill area just east of the city limits by a hiker nearly a month later.

Police say it was one of the most shocking crimes ever committed in the Okanagan, and has been a high priority for the RCMP's cold case squad over the past decade.

"In 1994, our unsolved homicide unit began actively investigating the murder, and has been very active since that time," says Cpl. Rick Dellebuur.

Dellebuur says Gardiner also faces six counts of sexual assault in connection with a series of attacks on females that happened around the same time as Duff's death.

Gardiner remains in police custody and is appearing in provincial court in Penticton on Monday.



Time flew right past and I forgot that last Wednesday was the 26th anniversary of Theresa's body being recovered (perhaps it's a good thing that went by unnoticed).

Anyway, one of you was asking me if I was familiar with the Vidocq Society...

Yes. In fact my good friend Eric Muller over at Is That Legal? is a member of Vidocq. The problem with Vidocq is they need to be invited by the police authority in charge of an investigation before they will become involved in a case.

With Theresa, there's little hope of that ever happening.




550 on the verbal; 480 on the quantitative

(I don't know about the essays, but I thought they went well) - more than enough to get me into grad school.

This is a milestone for me, a really big deal. I can't explain. Maybe I can.

I always thought that I screwed up my undergraduate. Part of it was tied to Theresa. I had a breakdown in first year of college. After that, my confidence was shattered. I took bird courses (theater production: where you learned to hang a light and use a crescent wrench). I knew I was smart, but I couldn't find the nerve to test myself (perhaps some of you feel this way).

Well, a number of years ago (around the time I turned 35) a number of questions persisted: could I move beyond Theresa's death? If I could, did I have the smarts to hang with the best?

It was a huge albatross. The weight was daunting. I decided I couldn't move to the question of higher education until I resolved the matter of Theresa. That consumed four years of my life. I'm proud of it. That gave me strength. I then moved on to the second question. Was I smart enough? I really didn't know. The idea of attending an American university for post graduate studies crippled me. It was like a tunnel in those Twilight Zone episodes that kept getting longer and longer. It froze me.

I decided to go for it. To legitimize myself. An individual who cried for vicitms' rights was a lunatic, but an advocate with degree credentials was a force to be answered. The graduate degree will answer the question of the victimization. It has to.

Now there is no doubt. My wife and I drank a bottle of champagne this evening. My daughters wrote me a banner of congratulations. The course is certain. I will defeat the forces that oppose me not with passion, but with intellect and facts. This is a power that I willingly share with all who are oppressed through victimization. Your cause is my cause. Tell me how I may help.


I write the GRE this afternoon...

Wish me luck.



Smug Canadians...

...who think the CBC cornered the market on radio documentary need to catch-up with what Americans have known all along:

This American Life is one of the finest pieces of social commentary on the airwaves.

Check out this week's episode, Mindgames (it'll be posted soon in their archives); especially the piece on Elizabeth Smart

The show raises maddening questions about the Stockholm syndrome and our own naivete.

How did Elizabeth Smart manage to escape detection in Salt Lake City (or, for that matter Bobbi Parker and Randolph Dial in Texas, or Julie Bureau in Sherbrooke, or Dennis Rader in Wichita?

Whoever fights monsters...


Well, well, well... isn't this interesting

(It was on Fox' watch that Andrew Dalzell (who confesssed to the murder of Deborah Key) walked from prison)

Eveyone still primed to jump on the Carl Fox love-wagon?

Family of shooting victim to stage protest against Carl Fox

Herald Sun
Apr 8, 2005 : 6:09 pm ET

RALEIGH -- Members of an Orange County family who feel that the shooting death of their relative, Billy Terrell, was improperly investigated will stage a protest today against the appointment of Carl Fox as a superior court judge.

The Terrell family claims that when Fox was district attorney in Orange and Chatham counties, he ignored evidence they collected that showed discrepancies surrounding the death of Terrell. The 25-year old was shot and killed during a fight with his girlfriend's father, Tom Cooper, in December. The sheriff's office and Fox ruled Cooper killed Terrell in self-defense and no charges were filed against Cooper.

Fox was appointed to the new judgeship last month.

The protest will run from noon until 4 p.m. in front of the governor's mansion, on Blount Street.


FRIDAY, APRIL 08, 2005

Microsoft / Toronto Police Force and RCMP join in private / public partnership to battle online child pornography

Sorry, I'm tired... so I'm just gonna' post a bunch of headlines - but this is a good one.

Microsoft develops software to aid anti-child porn efforts
Posted on : 2005-04-08 Author : Nigel WrightNews Category : Internet 

Software giant Microsoft Corp has announced a program that can help curb child pornography on the Internet. The Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) aids law-enforcement officials in preventing sexual exploitation of minors on the Internet by way of advanced software tools and effective collaboration. Microsoft Canada, the Toronto Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have jointly developed this program.

Using CETS, two separate investigations - by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Department of Homeland Security - were linked together in a child abuse case. As a result, Toronto Police Service’s Sex Crimes Unit managed to charge a previous child sex offender with sexually abusing a 4-year-old girl, taking her pictures in compromising positions and circulating them over the Internet.

“Our vision is to support more effective child-exploitation policing by enabling collaboration and information sharing across police services. The tracking system will serve as a repository of information and will also be used as an investigative tool,” said David Hemler, president, Microsoft Canada.

According to Jennifer Strachan, officer-in-charge, RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Center, the ‘old ways of policing’ don’t meet the needs of today’s cyber criminals. Hailing the new software, she said, “…Microsoft is setting a good example by realizing that with this innovation also comes accountability. Law enforcement will never be industry, and industry will never be law enforcement, but we need to keep the best interests of the people we serve in mind.”

Online child pornography has assumed massive proportions lately. According to reports, the FBI has posted a 2000 per cent rise in the number of online photographs depicting child pornography since 1996. According to Canadian police estimates, over 100,000 Web sites feature images of child sexual abuse.

“CETS is a great tool for information management. It puts together the work of hundreds of police agencies in one place. The tool can establish links from the different agencies that police wouldn’t necessarily make,” said Garry Belair, technology manager, RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Center.


Edmonton, we have a problem

Another woman's body found in Edmonton
Last Updated Fri, 08 Apr 2005 12:25:36 EDT
CBC News

EDMONTON - Police in Edmonton are investigating the discovery of a woman's body in the North Saskatchewan River, four days after another young woman was found dead on a golf course near the city.

INDEPTH: Edmonton's missing women

People walking near the river spotted the latest body at about 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The woman's body was floating down the river on an ice floe.

Spokesman Chris McLeod said an autopsy would be conducted on the body Friday. Police hope it will tell them the woman's age, cause of death and how long she'd been on the ice. Police are treating the death as suspicious.

Members of Project KARE, a task force investigating the death or disappearance of about 80 sex-trade workers in Western Canada, were called to the scene Thursday afternoon. On Monday, a groundskeeper called police after a young woman's body was found on the Edmonton Springs golf course, in a remote area northwest of the city.

FROM APRIL 7, 2005: Edmonton murder victim may have been as young as 12

She died of blunt-force trauma, an autopsy revealed Wednesday. Police have not been able to identify the victim but they say she was between 12 and 20 years old.



Words, words, words...

An old girlfriend of my brother's (actually, the girl he was dating while attending Champlain College) recently emailed me and asked,what am I reading?)

My response:

What am I reading?

First understand that I am currently applying to graduate school so what’s preoccupying most of my time is Barron’s How to prepare for the GRE Test. Also I’m taking a course at NC State University so most of my reading revolves around Public Information Technology / Policy and Management Issues and Jane Fountain’s Building The Virtual State(all very exciting, I know, but you asked).

What am I reading? Currently I have several on the go. Stiff, The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (your husband should enjoy that one), Robert Ressler’s Whoever Fights Monsters (serial killers and the FBI), James Ellroy’s Destination: Morgue! (BecauseStephanie is one of the finest essay’s ever written about the pursuit of a cold case.

Hey! What-the-hell did you think I’d be reading, Jonathan Livingston Seagull?.

Books I should be reading? Both Life of Pi and The Kite Runner are at my bedside, but I have yet to crack them. Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. I’m three chapters into Blink, not because of cultural faddism, but because I happened to have gone to college with Malcolm. 

A book I can’t wait to read… Peter Bernstein’s Wedding of the Watersabout the completion of the Erie Canal (mainly because my father’s an engineer and I maintain a fascination with public/private partnership mega-projects).

Other books… well, Saul Bellow just died (I never knew he was born Canadian) so I feel I should read Herzog or Mr. Sammler’s Planet. There are some books of Mordechai Richler’s that I still want to read (again). I think Toronto law professor, Alan Young’s Justice Defiled: Perverts, Potheads, Serial Killers and Lawyers is one of the funniest dissections of the Canadian legal system. What else…

Children’s books: I love William Steig (especially the Dr. DeSotobooks). Tomie dePaola is wonderful. My favorite Dr Seuss is One Fish Two Fish.

I think that’s about it.

Now… I’m trying to put together a Summer reading list, so…

What do you like?

So, people, what are you reading?



Fear and Loathing at the Police Conference

Parole board under attack... (again)

Parole board says police call for changes based on misleading numbers

OTTAWA (CP) - A police association is calling for what it terms a culture change at the National Parole Board, saying too many dangerous prisoners are being freed.

But the parole board suggested the numbers the association are using to make its case are misleading. The Canadian Professional Police Association said Tuesday during its annual lobbying of MPs that the success rate for reviews of mandatory life sentences without parole is 80 per cent.

"It's become kind of an automatic thing," said Tony Cannavino, president of the 54,000-member association.

He said what's known as the faint hope clause is not so faint.

"Why should it be automatic, why would a criminal, a murderer or a predator after two-thirds of his sentence get that free pass?"

But a parole board official says only one in four eligible prisoners applies under the faint hope clause because most know they wouldn't get it.

Spokesman John Vandormalen also pointed out that applicants don't ask for parole but only for a reduction in the time they must wait to apply for parole.

He said the latest figures show 684 prisoners were eligible for review in the last 12 months and 140 applied.

Of those 140 applicants, 107 were granted some reduction in the time they had to wait to apply for parole and when they did apply, 77 of those applicants were paroled.

The board said 20 previous paroles were revoked during the same time period for breaches of terms.


Uh oh, we're in trouble

The head of corrections says inmates have the power?

Concerns Over Canadian Prisons
Josh Pringle Monday, April 4, 2005

Canada's Correctional Officers say drugs are entering prisons in all sorts of ingenious ways.
Speaking to the Canadian Professional Police Association in Ottawa, the head of the union representing officers said Correctional Service Canada is doing little to crack down or control drugs in prisons.

Sylvain Martel says tennis balls and arrows concealing drugs are being shot over prison exercise walls.

Martel also told Canada’s front-line cops that the inmates now have the powers inside prisons.


MONDAY, APRIL 04, 2005

Pickton, Bernardo, Briere, Homolka, Croteau, Fyfe...

What-the-hell are you so damn happy about?


V - also stands for Victory

(but I'm not breaking out the champagne just yet)


Ottawa, April 1, 2005 -- The Honourable Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, and the Honourable Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced public consultations on creating a DNA Missing Persons Index (MPI).

The purpose of an MPI would be to identify anonymous human remains, and to help provide closure to families and loved ones of missing persons in Canada . An MPI would help law enforcement personnel to connect unidentified remains with a person who has been reported missing.

“The Government of Canada is committed to exploring the creation of a DNA Missing Persons Index to help families get the answers they need under difficult circumstances,” said Minister McLellan. “Public safety is everyone’s business, and I encourage interested Canadians to step forward and make their views known on this important issue.”

“Cross -matching DNA samples with missing persons across jurisdictions is a compelling and complicated task, but one that deserves careful examination and consideration,” said Minister Cotler. “On behalf of federal, provincial and territorial Ministers in Canada , I am committed to examining the legal and regulatory framework of how to bring about such a vital humanitarian tool.”

According to RCMP estimates, the total number of long-term missing persons cases in Canada is approximately 4,800. An average of 270 new, long-term cases are recorded each year. The Canadian Police Information Centre currently records a total of 286 sets or partial sets of unidentified human remains.

The consultations follow previous federal-provincial-territorial Ministerial discussions on the issues surrounding a DNA Missing Persons Index. They are intended to help determine whether there is a will among Canadians to create such a system, and if so, to gather expertise and points of view on such complex issues as privacy of personal information, legal and constitutional jurisdiction, technical matters relating to DNA, and financial implications.

The consultation paper is available at the following website:

Submissions are due by June 30, 2005 .

See also: Public consultations on a DNA Missing Persons Index
See also: Missing Persons Investigations


SUNDAY, APRIL 03, 2005

29 year old cold case

Shari Greer is calling on the public to write a letter to the Attorney General of British Columbia, Geoff Plant asking for a public inquiry to be held in the matter of her daughter's death, Kathry-Mary Greer. Kathryn-Mary was found murdered on November 17th, 1975 in Abbotsford B.C.. After 29 years Kathryn-Mary's murder remains unsolved.

Apparently the Abbotsford Police have been less than effective in their investigation and even less forthcoming in their methods (ya, ya... deja vu all over again).

Please help Shari Greer by sending a letter. Further details may be found at the Unsolved Crimes International website.

(you know, this sounds like a good idea... maybe I should do the same thing)



I just bought The Bee Gees, Main Course from ITunes (yes... The Bee Gees). For thirty years I'd forgotten how great this album is. Play it along side Young Americans and you've got White Soul all sewn up.


If anyone finds themself in the Ottawa area next week you might want to check out the Canadian Professional Police Association's (CPPA) annual legislative conference. Both Steve Sullivan of theCanadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime (CRCVC) and Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu from l’Association des Familles de Personnes Assassinées ou Disparues du Québec (AFPAD) will participate in a round-table on Corrections and Parole.

The round-table takes place on Monday at 10:00 am in the ballroom of the Chateau Laurier. For more details on the conference check out the media release.

Also noteworthy...

On April 10th, Yves Thériault , author of "Tout le monde dehors" which criticizes Canada's parole system, will speak on themes of justice at Quebec's Palais des Congrès along side ex-Quebec Justice Minister, Marc Bellemare.


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