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Legal Aid Cuts In Ontario

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Avoid the comment section...

"you dont need a lawyer if you dont break the law"

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Well the writing was on the wall after Justice Koke ripped into legal aid.

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52 minutes ago, setto said:

Avoid the comment section...

"you dont need a lawyer if you dont break the law"

To be fair though, that's not entirely untrue when speaking of criminal lawyers which is what a lot of people think of when they hear Legal Aid.  The cut to the immigration and refugee cases would obviously impact a lot of people though so the above quote doesn't ring true in this context.

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8 minutes ago, Stark said:

To be fair though, that's not entirely untrue when speaking of criminal lawyers which is what a lot of people think of when they hear Legal Aid.  The cut to the immigration and refugee cases would obviously impact a lot of people though so the above quote doesn't ring true in this context.

Huh? Almost all of the refugees I represent "broke the law" as in immigration law, by making irregular crossings. Not all criminal clients have actually committed the offences with which they are charged. 

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8 minutes ago, Stark said:

To be fair though, that's not entirely untrue when speaking of criminal lawyers

Yes but it misses the point of having criminal lawyers, and a system which pays for those who can't afford it (who are the most marginalized in that very system and who's level of moral culpability is often the lowest because of their position in the system). That's true even regardless of factual guilt or not. It also doesn't even address the chasm between charges and what actually happened (even if they are factually guilty of something).

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Yes but it misses the point of having criminal lawyers, and a system which pays for those who can't afford it (who are the most marginalized in that very system and who's level of moral culpability is often the lowest because of their position in the system). That's true even regardless of factual guilt or not. It also doesn't even address the chasm between charges and what actually happened (even if they are factually guilty of something).

Very true. As well, those in the law and order crowd clamouring for people to be prosecuted and to face the consequences of their actions need to remember that that can't happen if accused need representation and it isn't available. If a judge deems that an individual's charges are serious enough and they are unsophisticated enough (a Rowbotham application), if Legal Aid has refused to provide them with counsel, and the judge finds that the person cannot afford counsel, the trial cannot proceed until the state pays for counsel for them. As well, if there are inordinate delays in people getting counsel, the judge can stay charges for unreasonable delay. So if the government keeps cutting Legal Aid, we will likely see people walk on serious offences because they didn't get timely access to competent counsel. 

Edited by lioness
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Most of the comments support the cuts. Lawyers have an image problem. People just don’t understand what we do. A reality show following the daily life of a lawyer would help, but with no cameras in the court room that’s impossible to do even if we could get over the confidentiality issues.   

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1 hour ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Yes but it misses the point of having criminal lawyers, and a system which pays for those who can't afford it (who are the most marginalized in that very system and who's level of moral culpability is often the lowest because of their position in the system). That's true even regardless of factual guilt or not. It also doesn't even address the chasm between charges and what actually happened (even if they are factually guilty of something).

I never said I don't see the value of Legal Aid or support the cuts to the program.  I fully support accused persons having representation and if they can't afford a lawyer, one should be appointed for them if they face jeopardy.  I've both prosecuted trials and been a witness in trials against self reps and it's a fucking nightmare.  I'm all for everyone having a lawyer. 

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3 hours ago, Stark said:

To be fair though, that's not entirely untrue when speaking of criminal lawyers which is what a lot of people think of when they hear Legal Aid.  The cut to the immigration and refugee cases would obviously impact a lot of people though so the above quote doesn't ring true in this context.

The same people who hate "criminals" also think there are too many immigrants here and often look at them as one and the same...

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3 minutes ago, providence said:

The same people who hate "criminals" also think there are too many immigrants here and often look at them as one and the same...

The Facebook warriors would certainly affirm your statement, but that's just your ignorant racists.  Immigration has nothing to do with wanting those who break the law to be appropriately punished. 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Stark said:

The Facebook warriors would certainly affirm your statement, but that's just your ignorant racists.  Immigration has nothing to do with wanting those who break the law to be appropriately punished. 

The same people who say that also say that they want immigrants to come here through proper channels, or they want them to come, but just in smaller numbers. 

You can't be appropriately punished for breaking the law if you don't have a lawyer, in most cases. The judge only gets all the information relevant to sentencing when both Crown and defence provide it.

Saying "you wouldn't need a lawyer if you didn't break the law" doesn't to me convey a reasonable person accepting that when people do "break the law", as will always occur in any society, the judge should be given all relevant information by both Crown and defence. 

That's not even getting into the debate as to who breaks the law vs. who gets caught, or who can mount a full defence vs who cannot, or what is considered breaking the law vs. what bad behaviour is still legal. And this is highly relevant to the Legal Aid issue - governments get away with cutting it because of poisonous attitudes like "don't break the law and you won't need a lawyer."

Edited by providence
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1 minute ago, providence said:

The same people who say that say they want immigrants to come here through proper channels, or they want them to come, but just in smaller numbers. 

You can't be appropriately punished for breaking the law if you don't have a lawyer, in most cases. The judge only gets all the information relevant to sentencing when both Crown and defence provide it.

Agreed, which is why I even said in an earlier post in this thread that I'm completely for Legal Aid.  Self reps in court are a complete disaster. 

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1 hour ago, providence said:

Saying "you wouldn't need a lawyer if you didn't break the law" doesn't to me convey a reasonable person accepting that when people do "break the law", as will always occur in any society, the judge should be given all relevant information by both Crown and defence. 

Not to mention that it completely ignores literally every other field of the law that people with lower economic status encounter because someone else broke the law or did something tortious: residential tenancies, employment, family, etc.

It's an asinine comment that's being thrown around social media today. It goes to show that some people don't understand the role of a lawyer in the community beyond what they've glommed from Law and Order.

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1 minute ago, setto said:

Not to mention that it completely ignores literally every other field of the law that people with lower economic status encounter because someone else broke the law or did something tortious: residential tenancies, employment, family, etc.

It's an asinine comment that's being thrown around social media today. It goes to show that some people don't understand the role of a lawyer in the community beyond what they've glommed from Law and Order.

Also cops are often full of shit or wrong and charge people who haven't broken the law with crimes. Only stupid people would ever say "you don't need a lawyer if you don't break the law", full stop. There's no degree of truthfulness to that - it's false and dumb.

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21 minutes ago, setto said:

Not to mention that it completely ignores literally every other field of the law that people with lower economic status encounter because someone else broke the law or did something tortious: residential tenancies, employment, family, etc.

It's an asinine comment that's being thrown around social media today. It goes to show that some people don't understand the role of a lawyer in the community beyond what they've glommed from Law and Order.

The people saying it are often the same idiots who a year from now will drink and drive or shove their girlfriend around when they get in an argument or have sex with a drunk woman they just met without bothering to ascertain consent and end up crying in my office - I make a lot of money off those people.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Rashabon said:

Also cops are often full of shit or wrong and charge people who haven't broken the law with crimes. Only istupid people would ever say "you don't need a lawyer if you don't break the law", full stop. There's no degree of truthfulness to that - it's false and dumb.

Yep. There are some charges in the Code that are tailor-made for this: "cause disturbance", "utter threats", "public mischief", "obstruct justice", "breach of recognizance/probation for failing to keep the peace and be of good behaviour" (not to say that those things can't be serious, but I often see them used indiscriminately and incorrectly. Also a common tactic of the cops is that if they pull a vehicle over, search it and find drugs and/or weapons, they arrest absolutely everyone in the car as a matter of routine, put them on conditions or ask the judge to, and sort it out later. So putting aside whether that search was even legal (which it often isn't) and/or racially motivated (which it often is), you can be arrested and charged and subject to strict conditions like not having a cellphone, not associating with your other innocent friends, or a curfew, purely for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can also be arrested as a "party" for mere presence at the scene of a big fight, which is actually not illegal if you don't aid and abet the others or participate in any way. Lots of those types of charges end up being stayed through the assistance of a lawyer, but it would be extremely difficult for an unrepresented person to navigate the process.

Edited by providence
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