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November 2013 Archives

Coming clean about drug use can bar you from the U.S.

It is relatively common for people in the Greater Toronto Area to make the drive to the United States. It is only a few hours away and heading to the States for a few days is a relatively easy vacation. There are relatively few restrictions on Canadians that want to go across the border, but American immigration may not allow anyone in who has been convicted of drug crimes or admitted to using drugs.

Two men in Sault Ste. Marie jailed for domestic violence

There are very few criminal charges that have the same kind of punishment as those associated with domestic violence. Domestic charges not only can cause a devastating blow to one's career and reputation, but they may also have very serious effects on an individual's relationship with his or her children. Take, for example, one of the men who was recently sentenced to four months in jail. For two years following his release from prison, he cannot contact or be within 100 metres of the woman. This may be particularly difficult as she is the mother of his child.

Ontario judges critical of mandatory minimum sentencing

When someone is arrested and charged with a crime in North York, the presumption is that he or she will receive an appropriate sentence if he or she is convicted. Unfortunately, when a judge is forced to enforce a mandatory minimum sentence, there is a possibility that someone will be sent to prison for far longer than he or she really should, at least based on the circumstances leading to his or her arrest. Though mandatory minimum sentences may make the criminal justice system more predictable, that should not be a primary consideration when dealing with criminal offenders.

Concerns about opioids in Hamilton should be focused on addiction

There was a discussion in a recent special report by the CBC about the rise in opioid use in Hamilton. Though police are treating incidents of prescription drug abuse as they would any other type of crime, the real story is on why there is a growing dependence on these drugs. What many people in Ontario fail to remember whenever they read stories of individuals being arrested on drug charges is that most of these individuals are heavily addicted to drugs. Many of them don't need time in jail or to pay heavy fines, they need drug rehabilitation services and a supportive environment to resolve what issues led to their addictions.

Crash investigator's emails may show bias

The testimony of an Ontario Provincial Police crash investigator carries substantial weight, and many courts are want to accept his or her testimony as fact. After all, crash investigators are supposed to be impartial scientists who theorize about the causes of accidents; they aren't supposed to show any bias. Unfortunately, sometimes they do, which makes their testimony suspect.

Toronto teenagers arrested on 35 different charges

Although it is clear that teenagers are more than capable of committing crimes, the way in which the courts deal with teenage defendants should be considerably different from how they interact with adults. They do, in some respects, but an overly harsh response to teen crime can prevent teenagers from seeing significant success in their lives. Criminal records could mean no university, limited employment options, and restrictions on housing and social services. For three teenagers arrested on 35 different charges, including marijuana possession, they could be looking at serious consequences.

Federal justice minister's drunk-driving campaign is misplaced

There is no denying the fact that drunk driving can be dangerous. There is a risk of serious accident and injury for individuals driving over 80, and federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay is ostensibly using that risk of danger to potentially push for random roadside breath tests. Under the influence of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada, MacKay is looking at expanding police powers to conduct indiscriminate and random testing of Canadian citizens, something that would only make sense if drunk driving were a widespread problem.

Rob Ford asked to participate in police investigation

For the past six months or so, Mayor Rob Ford has been embroiled in a drug scandal. In May, Gawker and the Toronto Star reported on a video that allegedly showed the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine, but that video has never aired in public. For months, Ford denied being a drug addict, but he has recently admitted to using the drug once approximately one year ago. According to Ford, he was highly intoxicated when he was apparently filmed.