Duffy Not Guilty!

So episode 35 - a new record.  But you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed the podcast- right? 

This week Emilie and I almost made it through the whole Duffy decisions - almost.

Spoiler alert - Mike Duffy was found not guilty of all charges last week. The decision was long, and a bit confusing, and really long.

So we dragged back peter Sankoff - star of episode 14 - to talk about the 'ol Duff and help us understand what happened

Peter Sankoff is a Professor at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law.  He concentrates his teaching and research on legal issues surrounding the criminal trial process.

Peter worked as a law clerk for Claire L’Heureux-Dubé at the Supreme Court of Canada in 1996-97.  He went on to work as Counsel in the Deparment of Justice (Human Rights Law Section) for two years before leaving Canada ....

Instead of shamelessness copying and pasting any more of Peter's extensive bio I will just post some links.

Visit Sankoff's webpage at petersankoff.com and follow the links to check out all of his work and thoughts on the Duffy trial.

Peter's comprehensive paper The Worst $90,000 Ever Spent: 10 Questions About Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright, the Criminal Code and the Canadian Criminal Justice System.

And the follow-up: Still The Worst $90,000 Ever Spent: 10 More Questions About Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright, the Criminal Code and the Canadian Criminal Justice System

And check out the full Duffy decision: R. v. Duffy, 2016 ONCJ 220

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

Louise Arbour on the United Nations Special Assembly Drugs

So episode 34 - a new record.  But you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed the podcast- right? 

This week Emilie and I phoned it in - we called former Supreme Court Judge and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour to talk about last weeks United Nations General Assembly Special session on the drug problem.

Canada will legalize marijuana in 2017 but there may be some problems with our international obligations. What are the road blocks and what went down last week at the UN - i guess you gotta listen to find out.  

Oh - you will also find out one of my top ten fears.

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

Supervised Injection Sites and The Latest Supreme Court Decision

So episode 33 - a new record.  But you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed the podcast- right? 

This week we talked with Rob Boyd director of the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre's Oasis program.

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre provides medical and social services for people living with HIV and/or hepatitis C, and who encounter barriers to services because they use street drugs, have a mental illness, are homeless or are involved in the sex trade. 

The Centre is also in the process of conducting community consultations in support of an application to operate a supervised injection site in Ottawa.  As you may expect there has been some controversy about the proposed injection site - but Rob breaks it down and makes a very compelling case.

Programming note... So.... something happened with the audio of the last 10 minutes of our interview with Rob. Not sure what - maybe when the Mail Chip money starts rolling in we can do better.

We also chat about the latest Supreme Court case striking down another Conservative minimum sentencing law for drug trafficking.  Yep - another cruel and unusual law bites the dust.

Here are some links:

The Supreme Court's decision in the Insite case: Canada (Attorney General) v. PHS Community

Bill C-2: Respect for Communities Act

My testimony at the Senate on the Conservatives' supervised injection site law: Respect for Communities Act

The Supreme Court's most recent decision striking down drug minimum sentences: R. v. Lloyd

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

Shower Jails and Blushing Over Privacy

So episode 32 - a new record.  But you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed the podcast- right? 

So this week on the opening day of the major league baseball season we recorded a podcast.

We ask what the hell is happening at the Dickensian hell scape otherwise known at the Ottawa Jail? Prisoners locked in the shower, women inmates spending 22 hours in solitary because the is no room anywhere else, oh and a guy died there too.  Seriously it is bad.

Then we stumble about talking about digital privacy. On a recent re-watch of The West Wing we were struck by a 15 year old speech about privacy by Rob Lowe's character Sam Seaborne - so we talk about how not far we have come since then.

Check out Andrew Seymour's excellent reporting on the Ottawa Jail here, here, and here.

For more on privacy here is some stuff I have written:

iPolitics: November 2013: C-13: A digital Trojan horse for the surveillance state

iPolitics: January 2015: You thought your phone was private. You were wrong.

And here is a link to my testimony on bill C-13 and C-51:

Bill C-13: An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (House 2014)

Bill C-13:  An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (Senate 2014)

Bill C-51: An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (Senate 2015)

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

Rap, Bail, and Power

So episode 31 - a new new record.  But you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed the podcast- right? Seriously you should - it moves us up the iTunes rankings which.... well does nothing really.

This week we talk about the prejudicial impact of admitting rap lyrics in court.  It seems to happen too often in Canada. Why?  

Check out Windsor law professor David Tanovich's paper: R v Campbell: Rethinking the Admissibility of Rap Lyrics in Criminal Cases.

And then on to bail. An Ottawa Justice of the Peace wrote a scathing indictment of Canada's bail system.  In her words - its a disgrace. It may be true but was it appropriate.

Then I tell a story.

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

Women in Criminal Law, Jail Conditions, and More Pot

So episode 30 - a new record.  But you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed the podcast- right? 

Women in the Law

This week we dive into the Criminal Lawyers' Associations report on the unique problems faced by women who practice criminal law.

You can also check out Emilie on the CBC documentary The Motherload for more on the challenges faced by working women.

Jail Conditions

Nothing is more depressing than the state of Canada's jails - so why not talk about it.  This week the Office of the Correctional Investigator published their annual report.  It was not good - not good at all.

More Marijuana

Last week a British Columbia court struct down the minimum sentences that apply growing more than 6 pot plants.  Not a surprising decision but a reminder that we still have bad laws on the books.  Even more surprising is that our current Prime Minister - Justin Trudeau - voted for the law in 2009.

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Pot, Sex, and Open Ice Holes

Look at this - we can talk about something other than Making A Murderer.  But you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed the podcast- right? How can you resist listening to us talk about marijuana, sex, and open ice holes?

Marijuana

There are lots of questions about the new Liberal government's position on pot. Yes we know - they are going to get to work legalizing it 'right away' - but right away may be longer than you think. And what happens in the mean time? The Liberal pot car - Bill Blair - acknowledges that over 22,000 people were arrested in 2014 over small amounts of pot and that a disproportionate number of these people were visible minorities and that prosecuting pot is expensive and that criminal records are of pot are harmful - but he refuses to take any action to mitigate these wrongs.

Ugh.

Check out Louise Arbour powerful marijuana dissent in 2003 Supreme Court case of R. v. Malmo-Levine

Sex

We also talk about the insane history of the criminalization of homosexuality in Canada and one very tragic case.

Check out John Ibbitsons's heart breaking story: The long, late redemption of a Canadian punished for being gay in the 1960s (subscription required)

For more on the story see the non-subscription required articles: Trudeau to urge pardon for gay man deemed a dangerous sex offender in 1960s and Liberals’ gay-pardon decision applauded but obstacles still exist

Hand-Cuffs

Presumption of innocence much?  We review a judges decision to blast the RCMP for shacking a woman in court: Judge writes on 'culture of fear' in Canadian court after questioning why 120-pound woman was shackled

Read the court's judgement here: R. v Kalleo

Open Ice Holes

And finally we stole an idea from the CBC's 180 and talk about some of the insane criminal laws on the books in Canada - keep your ice hole covered,  don't steal oysters, and put away your comic books.

Seriously?!? 

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

Making A Murderer After Show - Episode 10

Holy crap we did it - all ten episodes of Making A Murderer reviewed and dissected in nerdish detail - but there is still time for you to do the morally right thing - download all our episodes and subscribe on iTunes.

But you have already done that and rated and reviewed the show - right? 

So, this is the end for now - Making a Murderer Season 2 anyone? 

Steven Avery may have found a new girlfriend but he has exhausted all his avenues of appeal and is now acting as his own lawyer.

Brendan Dassey's case has moved to Federal Court where his awesome new lawyers Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin appear ready decimate the State on appeal.

Oh and Ken Kratz is a sex addict.

And with that we are done with the episode by episode Making A Murderer review - there will be more.  You have not heard the last from Emilie Taman and Michael Spratt.

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Making A Murderer After Show - Episode 9

Time to talk about the 9th episode of Netflix's super popular doc-series Making a Murderer - but you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed it - right? We are almost at the end of our after show run - so show us some love.  Literally the least you could do is nothing - so maybe do a tiny bit more than that!

Ottawa lawyers Michael Spratt and Emilie Taman discuss Netflix super popular docu-series Making a Murderer one episode at a time.

In episode 9 the focus of Making a Murderer shifts from Steven Avery to Brendan Dassey. The lawyers are different (except for KRATZ!), the trial is different, the issues are different - but the result is sadly the same.

Dassey's' trial focusses on his confession. Why would an innocent man confess to a crime he did not commit? The answer - the Reid technique - a police tool that is good at getting a confession, not the truth.

Let's just say we are less than impressed.

For more on the Reid interrogation technique chock out:

National Post: Alberta judge slams use of 'Reid' interrogation technique in Calgary police investigation

For a detailed back ground of the Reid technique and the associated dangers check out R. v. Chapple, 2012 ABPC 229: Justice Dinkel "I denounce the use of this technique in the strongest terms possible and find that its use can lead to overwhelmingly oppressive situations that can render false confessions and cause innocent people to be wrongfully imprisoned."

National Post: You’re guilty, now confess: False admissions put police’s favourite interrogation tactic under scrutiny

Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 61, p. 529, 2010Police 'Science' in the Interrogation Room: Seventy Years of Pseudo-Psychological Interrogation Methods to Obtain Inadmissible Confessions

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Making A Murderer After Show - Episode 8

Time to talk about the 8th episode of Netflix's super popular doc-series Making a Murderer - but you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed it - right? How else are we going to get all that mad MailChimp money?

So, Episode 8 is where Steven Avery is acquitted and all charges against Brandon are dropped - right?

Oh yah - it is the exact opposite.

This episode we are joined by Carissima Mathen - law professor at the University of Ottawa and an expert in the Constitution of Canada, criminal law and U.S. Constitutional Law.

We chat about some Canadian/American legal differences. Jurors can talk about their deliberations? the judge's closing charge was 14 pages? And seriously - lawyers look so much cooler in vests, gowns, and tabs!

Follow Carissima on twitter: @cmathen

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Making a Murderer After Show - Episode 7

The Docket.png

Time to talk about the 7th episode of Netflix's super popular doc-series Making a Murderer - but you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed it - right? Because you should. Do it.

Keys, Blood, and EDTA - Oh my!

As Steven Avery's trial draws to a close the defence team points a spotlight on the police. Why was the Manitowoc police depatement involved in the search of the Avery residence given the conflict of interest? Why does the dynamic due of Lenk and Colborn keep finding importance evidence? How come no one in Manitowoc police department knows how to take notes?

The prosecution is offended by the defences 'dastardly' tactics.

Blood experts battle it out in court.

Oh and also since when did it become appropriate to wear fake moustaches in court?

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Making a Murderer After Show - Special Guest Scott Fairgrieve

Canadian content! 

This episode we were lucky enough to chat with forensic anthropologist Scott Fairgrieve.  Yep - Steven Avery's expert bone burning defence witness from episode 6!

Dr. Fairgrieve is the Chair of the department of forensic science at Laurentian University;  director of the forensic osteology laboratory; forensic anthropology consultant to the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario - in other words an expert.

Fairgrieve went head to head with the prosecution expert Dr. Eisenberg and in our opinion won the logic battle. Fairgrieve dishes some inside info, comments on the US court system, and explains the science of a human body burns.

A wholesome good time!

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Making a Murderer After Show - Episode 6

Time to talk about the 6th episode of Netflix's super popular doc-series Making a Murderer - but you know that right? Because you subscribe to the show on iTunes and have already rated and reviewed it - right? Because you should.

This week we were joined by Tony Spears and Matt Day to debrief on Making a Murderer: Episode 6. Matt and Tony are both awesome reporters who have worked the court and crime beat in Ottawa.

It turns out it was a great episode to have Tony and Matt drop by - the media played a huge role in episode 6. The press cross-examined the prosecution, dissected DNA evidence, and asked many of the questions that were on our minds.  

I mean lets face it - Episode 6 is the best.  The defence destroys it in court, the prosecution do their best to prejudice Steven Avery through their endless press conferences, and scientific experts battle it out under oath - how can that not be the best!

So lets get to it.

Oh - but first - check out Tony and Matt on twitter:

Tony Spears: @WaywardPressman

Matt Day: @mattdaymedia

We also have some new art - it is still new because it is way easier to just copy and past this section each week - from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Making a Murderer After Show - Bonus Episode - Jerry Buting Interview

Hey - you should probably subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your ear holes. This week - Bonus time - we skipped watching an episode today and decided to talk to Jerry Buting.  

Ya, the guy who the internet made into a Simpsons character - he was also one-half of Steven Avery's defence team. In other words a fearless, passionate, and super smart defence lawyer.  So it was awesome to be able to talk with him.

Jerry was fantastically accommodating and generous with his time - especially since we asked him for 15 minutes and then talked for almost an hour.

Maybe Len Kachinsky next...... maybe not.

We also have some new art from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Making a Murderer After Show - Episode 5

Alright! It’s time to sit back and talk about Episode 5 of Netflix's super popular docu-series Making a Murderer.

But, you already know it’s up, right? Because by now all of our legal knowledge has magically dropped straight up into your iTunes! Because… you subscribe, right? 

Good. But on the off chance you don’t, go get subscribing and rating and reviewing - supporting us on iTunes makes us zero dollars but it does make us feel good.

This week we are again joined by special guest, former Supreme Court of Canada judge and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour.  

And we finally get into the courtroom. The prosecution does a 180 on Brandon Dassey's evidence - despite the fact they have been trumpeting Dassey's statement as proof of Avery's guilt in public, in court (where it can actually be tested by the defence) the prosecution intends to bury it.  

After all, the damage to Avery's presumption of innocence has already been done.

Meanwhile, the defence begins to sow the seeds of police misconduct that have the potential to call into question the entire investigation. 

The prosecution whines, the judge tried to shut down the defence and the wheels of a potential wrongful conviction really start to turn.

Ugh!

We also have some new art from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good - go check out his work.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

Stay tuned next week for a very special guest - 90% sure this is hapening.

IMG_3156.JPG

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Making a Murderer After Show - Episode 4

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. 

An unexpected confession casts doubt on Steven Avery's role in the murder case, but the new suspect gives conflicting accounts of what occurred - oh and we are introduced to one of the worst criminal defence lawyers ever - Len Kachinsky.

Kachinsky speaks to the media and opines that Brandan Dassey, HIS CLIENT, is 'morally and legally responsible' and then public suggests a plea deal - all befor speaking Brandan. Meanwhile Steven Avery's lawyers wrestle with the ethical dilemma of how to deal with Kachinsky's incompetence. 

After Dassey's confession is inexplicably admitted into evidence Kachinsky extracts another confession from his client and fights against Brandan's request for a new lawyer who believes in him.

The prosecution says some crazy shit, the media foams at the mouth, and new questions are raised about possible police misconduct.

So just a typical day in Manitowoc Wisconsin.

This week we are again joined by special guest, former Supreme Court of Canada judge and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour (who scolds me for swearing).  

We also have some new art from an awesome young designer Parker Mazerolle - serious he is crazy good.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your friends computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Making a Murderer After Show - Episode 3

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. 

Things seemed to be going Steven Avery's way until they weren't.  After 18 years in jail Avery's case was the driving force behind much need justice reform, the State was going to introducing a bill to compensate him for his wrongful conviction, and Avery's civil lawsuit against Manitowoc County and the police was gaining momentum. 

But when Avery becomes the main suspect in Teresa Halbach disappearance those who had supported him the most began to question his innocence. Avery's life is thrown into chaos when he is charged with Halbach murder. His guilt is presumed even by his closest allies, his civil suit collapses and the wheels of a potential wrongful conviction begin to turn, again.  

Episode 3 of Netflix's Making a Murderer raises important questions about the erosion of the presumption of innocence, the disparity between the rich and the poor, the necessity of expert legal counsel, and the police and prosecution's role in poisoning the fairness of the trial process through the media.

This week we are joined again by special guest, former Supreme Court Justice and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour (who shares a personal story about potential police misconduct).

So a former judge, a defence lawyer, and former prosecutor - the dream team together again!

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your mom's computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the podcast on SoundCloud.

Emilie Taman on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael Spratt on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

Oh ya - it our podcast was news again - this time the Ottawa Sun - seriously WTF.

The Docket: Making A Murderer After Show - Episode 2

It’s been 3 days since we released the first episode of our Making a Murderer aftershow podcast and if our current ranking on iTunes is any indication (at one point number 2 in Canada - WTF!) - viewers were as hungry for more content as we expected they’d be.  Heck, the CBC even reported on the podcast.

Thanks to everyone who has tuned in… tell your friends!

We don’t have a guest on the show this time around, but are happy to say that Louise Arbour has demanded to return for episode three - Fantastic!

Episode two of MAM chronicles the aftermath of Avery’s release from custody following 18 years of wrongful imprisonment.  The media and politicians embrace him as a celebrity of the criminal justice system.  The Wisconsin State Legislature drafts a Bill, “Avery’s law”, to raise the ceiling on compensation by the State.  Understandably dissatisfied with outcome of the Wisconsin Attorney General’s investigation into the conduct of Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office, Avery files a lawsuit to further his quest for justice and accountability.

Just as things seem to be going his way, Avery finds himself at the centre of yet another criminal investigation in which he adamantly maintains his innocence.  We’ll explore how the investigation was flawed from the start; how it’s clear that notwithstanding near irrefutable evidence of Avery’s innocence of the Beernsten assault, the Manitowoc County police still clearly viewed him as a violent criminal; how at best tunnel vision set in for a second time, or at worst the seeds of a second miscarriage of justice were deliberately sown. 

For more on wrongful conviction compensation in a Canadian context checkout Laura Mijares masters thesis: Compensation for Wrongful Convictions: A study towards an effective regime of tort liability.

Here is a Globe and Main story on Ontario's use of a special prosecutor in the 2009 Bryant case: Crown faces challenge in giving former A-G a fair trial.

Subscribe to The Docket on iTunes to get the latest episode pumped straight into your earbuds. If you like the show your subscriptions, comments and ratings really help us (so do that and then do it on your mom's computer too) - Click Here

You can also access the episode on SoundCloud.

Emilie on Twitter: @EmilieTaman

Michael on Twitter: @mspratt

If you like show spread the word.

Enjoy

The Docket: Making A Murderer After Show - Episode 1

Totally not copied by the police from the mug shot (below) - except it totally was.

Totally not copied by the police from the mug shot (below) - except it totally was.

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On December 18, 2015, Netflix released its engaging and controversial docu-series, Making a Murderer.  In the three weeks since its release, the series has become an obsession for all kinds of people both inside and outside of the justice system in the United States as well as here in Canada.

Each episode we (Michael Spratt and Emilie Taman) will discuss an episode of Making a Murderer - call it an after show.  This week we are joined by special guest, former Supreme Court Justice and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour (she has promised to join us again). So a former judge, defence lawyer, and former prosecutor - not a bad team for episode one.

Episode One of Making a Murderer tells the story of Steven Avery’s wrongful conviction for the brutal 1985 sexual assault of Penny Beernsten.  An incontrovertible miscarriage of justice, Avery’s conviction led to his incarceration for 18 years before he was conclusively exonerated by DNA evidence and released.  Avery’s 18 year-long saga, which could stand alone as a story worth documenting, is just the back story for what was to come as set out in the subsequent nine episodes. 

Avery Mug Shot.png

One of the truly remarkable things about the series is the amount of audio and video footage filmmakers Moria Demos and Laura Ricardi were able to either capture or obtain.  This is attributable to the length of time they worked on the project (over a decade), the frequency with which police and prosecutors spoke to the media (lots), and the practice of videotaping court proceedings, something which is very foreign to us here in Canada.

What emerges is a story about how, starting with his false accusation in 1985, the justice system failed Steven Avery.  How the presumption of innocence yielded time and time again to overzealous cops and District Attorneys intent on securing a conviction at all costs.  Ultimately though, Making a Murderer is about every accused person in the US, Canada or anywhere.  It’s about what it’s like to be confronted by the full resources of the State. 

I’m not sure what it says about my Netflix viewing habits, but Making a Murderer popped up as a recommendation for me immediately upon its release. An algorithm somewhere had apparently determined that it was something I might enjoy. I’m not sure that “enjoy” is quite the right word, but I certainly found the series riveting, and consumed it pretty much as fast as a mother with three young children possibly can (for me binge watching a show usually involves watching one episode and in the unlikely event that I’m able to stay awake for the whole thing, immediately falling asleep upon starting the next).

My spouse, Mike, was initially more skeptical. A criminal defence counsel by profession, he generally finds justice system dramatizations insufferable to watch. I think it’s partly because he typically finds the portrayals to be unrealistic (oftentimes offensively-so) and partly because it’s so close to his work that it’s not enjoyable to spend his leisure time watching it. He wasn’t even a big fan of Serial, the hugely popular NPR podcast documenting another likely miscarriage of justice, which I consumed from start to finish three times. It took a little convincing on my part to get him to watch Making a Murderer with me, but after the first episode we were both equally hooked.
— Emilie Taman

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Michael on Twitter: @mspratt

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The Docket - Episode 16: In the news and in the courts: violence against women

So, over the holiday break I got mad.

The Sudbury Star reported on the case of Precious Charbonneau.  Charbonneau was murdered by her husband Robert Gilbon.  He stabbed her and threw her off a balcony. He murdered her.  Charbonneau was 9 weeks pregnant at the time.  The Star's reporting simultaneously sanitized Gilbon's actions calling him a "a dedicated son, brother, uncle and friend, who had a varied and exemplary military career" and ignored the true victim of the crime. 

If Robert were sitting here today, and if Prec were sitting here today, if they were in this room and it was like This is Your Life, they would be hearing the things people are saying about them, especially Robert, and he would be grinning and nodding and laughing inside, because that’s his life. But the last part of his life – how do you think he’d feel about that? I think he would be saying, ‘I’m not sure what happened there. I’d sure like to get that day back.’
— Sudbury Star, Afghanistan 'left its mark' on veteran

I doubt the murdered woman would be 'grinning and nodding and laughing'. The reporting was so shocking that it was a subject of discussion on Jesse Brown's CanadaLand podcast.

A day latter I sat down to read Windsor law school professor David Tanovich's paper “Whack” No More: Infusing Equality into the Ethics of Defence Lawyering in Sexual Assault Cases

Tanovich's paper did nothing to calm me.  As a defence lawyer who believes in the presumption of innocence I was shocked.  Tanovich advocates that counsel defending an allegation of sexual assault should be under an ethical obligation to prejudge their client's case. If the lawyer deems their client guilty they should be ethically precluded from calling the client or any other witness in support of a defence of innocence or from cross-examine the complainant in a manner to make her look like a liar.

Anyone who has watched Netflix's Making A Murderer knows the danger of a defence lawyers prejudging their client's guilt.

So, I was mad and conflicted.  

How could i reconcile my feelings about the Star's reporting and Tanovich's paper?

 

So I sat down with Naomi Sayers and Anne-Marie McElroy to talk it out.

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