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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 157335 Find in a Library
Title: Research on the Application of Section 85 of the Criminal Code of Canada, Working Document
Author(s): C Meredith; B Steinke; S A Palmer
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 57
Sponsoring Agency: Canada Department of Justice
Ottawa ON K1A 0H8, Canada
Publication Number: WD1994-20e
Sale Source: Canada Department of Justice
Justice Bldg. Kent St., at Wellington St.
Ottawa ON K1A 0H8,
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: Research was conducted to assess the effectiveness of amendments to Section 85 of Canada's Criminal Code in deterring the use of firearms in the commission of criminal offenses.
Abstract: Data were collected from several sources, including research literature, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Statistics Canada, provincial court system databases, telephone interviews with selected police agencies, prosecutors and judges, and case law reported in automated databases. The research indicated that charges for offenses involving mandatory minimum sentences were frequently the focus of plea negotiations. The public was largely unaware of which offenses were covered by mandatory minimum sentences. Police officers, lawyers, and judges altered their behavior in various ways aimed at mitigating the impact of mandatory minimum sentences on accused persons for whom the mandatory sentence was perceived to be unduly harsh. Mandatory minimum sentences were seen as shifting discretion from the impartial judiciary to the adversarial prosecution, and mandatory minimum sentences were associated with lower overall conviction probabilities for target offenses. Further, mandatory minimum sentences were estimated to have no more than a modest impact on crime rates for target offenses. Of charges brought under Section 85, about two-thirds were typically stayed, withdrawn, or dismissed. About half of Section 85 charges involved robbery. When individuals were convicted under Section 85, the sentence was most often a single year of imprisonment. Support in principle was strong for mandatory minimum sentences for weapon offenses. 25 references and 12 exhibits
Main Term(s): Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Canada; Firearm-crime relationships; Foreign criminal codes; Foreign laws; Foreign sentencing; Mandatory Sentencing; Weapons violations
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