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Sunday July 25, 2021
“A teenage girl who stabbed a boy to death in downtown Kelowna was sentenced to one day in custody after pleading guilty to manslaughter.”
That was the first sentence of a story in Wednesday’s paper.
It took me aback.
One day? Especially when that one day was the day she appeared in court?
Part of me says that murder, even an unpremeditated murder like this one, deserves punishment. No one should get off with a verbal reprimand.
That is, of course, the principle behind what’s called retributive justice. Make ‘em suffer for that they did.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: justice, rehabilitation, mental health
Something is not just in the Canadian justice system. And I think it has to do with jury selection.
As everyone probably knows by now, an all-white jury acquitted Gerald Stanley of murdering Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man.
The root of contention, it seems to me, is jury selection.
Theoretically, juries are chosen at random from the total population of Canadian citizens.
Some exclusions apply. But beyond those, lawyers have “peremptory challenges.” Either side can disqualify up to 14 potential jurors -- in this case -- without giving any reasons.
It might be because the person wears a business suit. Or has a beard. Or, perhaps, looks indigenous.
In the U.S., judges can demand reasons for peremptory challenges. In Canada, they can’t.
Although it’s illegal to challenge for gender or racial reasons, the Globe and Mail reported that Stanley’s defence rejected every potential juror who looked indigenous.
Tags: Gerald Stanley, Colten Boushie, jury, peremptory challenge, justice