Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

Blame – II. The Justice System

The criminal justice system exists to punish people who have
committed a crime.  It also serves three (or perhaps more) other
purposes:  deterrence, locking criminals to protect the public,
and rehabilitation.  To these objectives may I be permitted to
add one more:  blame.

When a heinous crime is committed in a community, there is
an expectation that the perpetrator will be found quickly and
made to pay for his crime.  But the police rarely arrives at the
scene of a crime and find a person with a smoking gun standing
over a body.  It takes time to solve a crime.  The prosecutor
needs solid evidence before she can go to trial.  Sometimes a
crime is never solved.  But people need justice done, or put in a
more candid way they need to blame.  Under these conditions, the
system (police, prosecutors, and legislators) looks for a
shortcut.  I am aware of two ways to do so.

If a disturbing crime is committed by a minor, i.e. a child,
by common agreement, we can decide to play a game of pretend.  We
can pretend he is an adult and punish him accordingly.  What that
means is that he will be tried as an adult, receive a long
sentence, and perhaps be jailed with adult criminals.

Neurobiologists tell us that in adolescence, the brain is
still developing.  Many connections are still being made in the
brain.  It’s a carryover from childhood, but the work is going on
in a big way.  Remember the body is exploding and that includes
the brain.  One is tempted to write on the forehead of every
adolescent:  “Brain Under Construction!”  An adolescent doesn’t
think like an adult, he is still a child.  However, when the
process is completed, he will have a fully developed cerebral
cortex with the proper controls, the ability to exercise sound
judgment, and the capacity to evaluate the consequences of his
actions.We understand all that of course, but sometimes we look the
other way.  Perhaps the system have no choice.  The lynching mob
is out there.  Ignoring it may impact our career or cost us the
next election.  So what do we do?  We jail a child!  We
substitute one crime for another and in the process satisfy our
appetite for blame.

This in an advanced society!  This in the 21st century!

The other shortcut involve an adult suspect.  Again we are
faced with a revolting act.  People are aghast.  How can anybody
commit such a crime?  Payment has to be exacted.  Blame should be
allocated.  The players involved have to, by hook or crook, find
the perpetrator.  But they cannot.  There is a silent question
out there.  Does it have to be a perfect fit?  Perhaps a neighbor
has committed the crime.  More commonly it’s a person that has a
criminal record; it could be for petty crimes committed a long
time ago.  No matter, a case can be made; it need not be a
perfect fit!

I want to provide you with an actual example.  My problem
is that, sadly, I have many cases to choose from.  Ultimately, I
picked the case of Guy Paul Morin since it profoundly disturbs my
sense of justice.

On October 3, 1984, in Queensville Ontario, the parents of
9-year-old, Christine Jessop, arrived home and found the backpack
of their daughter on the kitchen counter.  The mail and flyers
had been brought into the house; in other words, Christine had
arrived home safely, however, there was no sign of her. 

A search was undertaken, but Christine was never found.
Christine’s body was eventually found on December 31, 1984.

The Morins were the next door neighbor.  Guy Paul Morin was
a suspect early in the investigation; this despite the fact that
there was never any solid evidence against him.  Essentially, it
was found that his behavior was suspicious.

Guy was 23 at the time.  He worked for a furniture
manufacturer, lived with his parents, and played the clarinet and
the saxophone.  He was generally happy and looked forward to a
bright future.  Alas, it was not to be.    

Guy was arrested and charged on April 22, 1985.  On January
7, 1986, he was acquitted.  The Crown appealed (there is no
double jeopardy rule in Canada), and on his retrial, on July 23,
1992, he was found guilty.

Throughout this whole process, Morin maintained his
innocence.  Indeed, many believed he was innocent.  Unlike others
convicted of murdering children after sexually abusing them,
during his incarceration, he was kept in the general prison
population without being a victim of violence.

Improvements in DNA testing led to a test in 1995 which
excluded Morin as the murderer.  A hell that has lasted for 11
years had finally come to an end.

A subsequent inquiry revealed that there was evidence of
police and prosecutorial misconduct, and of misrepresentation of
forensic evidence by the Ontario Centre of Forensic Sciences.

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