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Getting Away with Murder

Getting Away with Murder

The Canadian criminal justice system

By David M Paciocco

CONTENTSREVIEWS

Since Cain killed Abel, the crime of murder has fascinated humans. So, too, do murder trials. They enable us to be voyeurs, peering from a safe distance into the dark recesses of the human capacity for evil and deadly impulse, and allowing us to bear witness to the ceremonial punishment of wrongdoers.

If the process of fatal crime and punishment fascinates, the Canadian criminal justice system infuriates, with its technicalities, its habit of coddling offenders, its abuse of victims, its inane defences, and its parole system.

Using the docudrama of a crime of murder as a lead to each chapter, Getting Away with Murder: the Canadian Criminal Justice System unravels the mysteries of the criminal justice system, explaining how and why we sentence offenders and pointing out where we err, particularly with the parole system. It describes the reasons behind the system's technicalities and why some of the guilty receive their benefit. The book explores the inadequacies and excesses of criminal defences, and illustrates why the system is miserly when it comes to victims' rights. Suggesting that much of the loss of confidence in our criminal justice system is based on misunderstanding and inadequate information, the book provides information to fill in the gaps without becoming an apologia for the system. Although entertaining - written with a sense of humour and a bit of irreverence - the book is a serious, hard hitting, and candid work by a law professor who has acted both as prosecutor and defence counsel.

Getting Away with Murder won 2nd Prize in The Donner Prize 1999/00.


CONTENTS

Faith and Justice

The credibility crisis

Crime and Punishment

In defence of the need to punish
Conditional justice
The injustice of parole

Getting Off on Technicalities: The Rule of Law

Defining crime
Getting off on technicalities

Proving Guilt and Maintaining Innocence

The specific allegation
Presumed innocent
Closing our eyes to find the truth
Abandoning the search for the truth

Justifiable Homicide

Forgiving human weakness
Kill or be killed: the law of self-defence
Losing control: provocation and excusing the inexcusable
The abuse excuse: “psychobabble” and the protection of basic values
Disordered minds: insanity, automatism, and intoxication

The Role of the Victim

The sad truth about victims’ rights

Conclusion

Responding to the credibility crisis

REVIEWS

Getting Away with Murder makes an important and timely contribution to discussion of reforming our justice system. Anyone interested in crime and justice should read it. Along the way, they will learn a great deal about the law and the administration of justice.

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

...consistently challenging and absorbing... . For anyone who prefers to understand and think before deciding whether to join in the outrage, Getting Away with Murder is mandatory reading.

The Ottawa Citizen

Paciocco provokes readers into challenging their own opinions on important criminal justice matters. Many of his conclusions are as blunt and unsettling as they are articulate.

The Vancouver Sun

   

Published February 2000
Publisher Irwin Law (Canada)
Paperback/418pp
ISBN 9781552210437
Australian RRP $34.95
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Criminology & Policing - Criminology
Criminology & Policing - Justice Studies
Law - Canadian Law
Law - Criminal Law & Procedure
Law - Evidence


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