Free Guide from Rangefindr: Sentencing Guide for Transgender Offenders

Rangefindr.caLegal research tool Rangefindr has recently released a free sentencing guide for transgender offenders.

The guide summarizes material on the sentencing of transgender and gender nonconforming offenders in the following topic areas:

    • Effect on moral blameworthiness and mitigation
    • Conditions of imprisonment
    • Placement in men’s or women’s prisons

The guide is especially timely given sentencing courts recognition of transgender identity as an important factor in imposing a proportionate sentence.

It is licensed under CC BY 4.0, meaning that it can be copied and distributed freely, in whole or in part, if the attribution to rangefindr.ca and the author is intact.

The guide also coincides with the activation of a new tag in Rangefindr: “Accused: Transgender/Gender non-conforming.” This tag allows users to easily find sentencing judgments in which the offender was transgender.

Members of the Law Society of Manitoba have access to Rangefindr’s criminal sentencing resources through the Member’s Portal.

Rangefindr.ca has other helpful publications available here.

New Print Books from Emond

New print copies of Emond’s Criminal law series are now available. A reminder that all our reserve books are available for members to borow for two days, or two weeks for items from the regular collection.

Online access is also available for Digital Evidence, Search and Seizure, and Prosecuting and Defending Fraud Cases, as well as the rest of the Criminal Law Series in the Library Resources section of the member portal.

Digital Evidence — 2nd ed. – “This is the first comprehensive text on this facet of law. It is designed to clarify the nuances of the authentication and admissibility of digital evidence, privacy rights, the uses and limits of social media evidence, and the search and seizure of electronic devices. This text also explores the ways in which law enforcement can access digital data in the hands of third parties, including the various powers created by Bill C-13 (S.C. 2014, c. 31 Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act).”

Search and Seizure – “Search and Seizure provides a practical examination of the evolving body of legal rules and principles that govern how reasonable searches and seizures are conducted. In particular, it considers the increased complexity of assessing a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy in the digital age. This handbook addresses central concerns and relevant topics such as Section 487 Search Warrants, computer device searches, warrantless searches, and exclusion of evidence.”

Modern Criminal Evidence – “the first major treatise to provide a truly practical and comprehensive guide to criminal evidence law in Canada. Unlike other texts in this area, this book’s practical approach guides readers through evidentiary issues in all components of criminal law, providing indispensable insight from Crown, defence, and judicial perspectives.”

Prosecuting and Defending Fraud Cases, 2nd ed. – “prepares readers to properly litigate fraud cases, examining both prosecutorial and defence perspectives. Guiding readers step by step throughout the process of a fraud case, this practical resource weaves strategic information with case law analysis and relevant provisions of the Criminal Code. This edition features up-to-date legislation, additional content, updated charts, and a new chapter on cyber fraud in Canada.”

Locating Hard-to-Find Sentencing Decisions

Guest post by Melanie R. Bueckert, Legal Research Counsel – Manitoba Court of Appeal

Rangefindr is another one of the excellent research resources available to members of the Law Society of Manitoba through the Member Portal

Rangefindr logo

While Rangefindr is extremely helpful for all kinds of criminal sentencing research, it is particularly useful when trying to locate cases that do not lend themselves to keyword searching.  For instance, imagine trying to find cases where a lawyer or a police officer is the accused person.  It would be very difficult to construct a keyword search to locate only those cases, without bringing up irrelevant results that also involved lawyers or police officers in other capacities.  Using Rangefindr, such cases can be identified with just a few clicks.

Instead of using Google-style keyword searching, Rangefindr is a filtering service.  To find cases where lawyers were sentenced, one can simply click on the “Accused” category at the top left-hand side of the Rangefindr query page. 

rangefindr accused filter

Scrolling down through the alphabetical list of filters (also called “tags”), clicking “Lawyer” reveals 63 cases in the Rangefindr database.  As soon as the filter is applied, the dispositions in the 63 cases are displayed on the right-hand side of the screen.  Apparently the 63 cases involved 4 absolute discharges, 3 conditional discharges, 10 conditional sentences, 2 intermittent sentences, 2 fines, 2 periods of probation and 40 imprisonments.

table of sentencing decisions

  By clicking “Show Durations”, the display on the right toggles to show a breakdown of the 40 prison sentences.  Clicking “View Cases” brings up the results page, which defaults to showing all 63 cases in reverse chronological order. 

table of imprisonment duration

The cases can also be sorted by “Highest Punishment”, “Lowest Punishment”, “Judge” and “Level of Court”. 

sorting options

Clicking “Tags Associated with this Case” expands the brief case summary to show all of the filters that are associated with the case. 

tags associated with case

Jurisdictional filters can be added by clicking “Edit Search” and choosing the desired jurisdiction(s) under the “Jurisdiction” category on the left-hand side of the screen.  Apparently there are 8 such cases from Manitoba in Rangefindr’s database.

jurisdiction options

  Rangefindr provides links to all of the case results in CanLII (which is where it draws its data from).  These links can be accessed for individual cases by clicking on “Download This Case” in the top-right corner.

Though the Rangefindr database is limited in scope (it generally includes appellate cases since 2000 and trial decisions from 2010 onward), it can help researchers quickly identify pertinent cases, particularly when they involve unique factual elements.  In case you are wondering, Rangefindr’s filters are applied by human editors who go through a rigorous training process. 

To learn more about using Rangefindr, check out the short video available at https://app.rangefindr.ca/help or their Getting Started guide.  For additional Rangefindr search tips, see https://tips.slaw.ca/2017/research/rangefindr-youre-doing-it-wrong/

New Protocol for Accused’s First Appearance

THOMPSON COURT CENTRE

In a continuing effort to reduce infection rates as well as the number of people needed to attend court, Thompson Court Centre has instituted new protocols for accused persons appearing for their first time in court.

Notice – Precautions – in custody first appearances (February 24, 2021)

“Commencing March 1, 2021 accused making their first appearance will appear in court via teleconference from the interview room or holding cells in Thompson Court building and will be brought into the Courtroom for a personal appearance only if so ordered by the presiding Judge.”


See here for all COVID-19 related court notices and practice directions.

New edition of “Prosecuting and Defending Sexual Offence Cases” now available online.

The second edition of Prosecuting and Defending Sexual Offence Cases by Daniel Brown and Jill Witkin, is now available to member’s online through the Member’s Portal.

Sexual Offence Cases 2e

This new edition contains “new chapters on historical sexual offences and cross-examination on private records, and reflects changes in Bill C-51 pertaining to third party records, other sexual history, and consent. Analysis of case law and relevant Criminal Code provisions have been integrated throughout in order to effectively guide readers through the flow of a sexual offence case.”

Also included:

  • Discussion of the new s. 278.92 regime that governs the use of records in sexual offence cases;
  • New section dealing with “myths and stereotypes” in relation to the complainant as well as the accused;
  • Key commentary, from both Crown and defence, on advocacy and trial strategy.

This title is the fourth volume in Emond’s Criminal Law Series. Check out the rest of the series in the Library Resources section of the Member’s Portal.

Judicial Consideration of Mandatory Roadside Breath Tests

If you practice impaired driving law, you may want to review this decision from Saskatchewan Provincial Court on the constitutional validity of mandatory roadside breath tests as implemented by Bill C-46.

In R. v. Morrison, 2020 SKPC 28, M.M. Baniak, J. delivers a discerning judgment on a variety of issues: notice for delay, a voir dire re Charter challenges blended into the trial itself, analysis of s. 320.27(2) of the Criminal Code including a discussion of Parliament’s legislative intent by analysing the words of the preamble to Bill C-46, and a discussion of the judicial meaning of “immediately”.

[172]      Obviously, s. 320.27(2) also has a deleterious effect.  Every person in a free and democratic society should, to the greatest extent possible, be free from a warrantless search or seizure especially when no grounds or reasonable suspicion exist.  This becomes even more concerning when that search or seizure incriminates the person.

[173]      However, the new provision, even though it eliminates the reasonable suspicion requirement, is grounded to an extent on the premise that it is a supplemental investigative tool that is not determinative of a person’s guilt and is subject to judicial review.  The search is restricted to provision of breath samples.  It does not extend to a person’s belongings or his living space.

Even if it’s not applicable in Manitoba, I think it’s a good example of all the elements that can be considered in a decision.

Additional Commentary:

Saskatchewan court rules mandatory roadside breath testing constitutional / Kyla Lee (The Lawyers Daily, August 24, 2020)

The library will be closed on Monday, May 20th for Victoria Day