DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Who Killed Theresa?: 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I Can't Quit You. Baby

I Can't Quit You, Baby, so I'm gonna put you down for awhile.
Said you messed up my happy home, Made me mistreat my only child.

Said you know I love you, baby, my love for you I could never hide.
Oh, when I feel you near me little girl, I know you are my one desire.

When you hear me moaning and groaning,
you know it hurts me deep down inside.

Oh, when you hear me... You know you're my one desire. Yes, you are.


Monday, August 30, 2004

Wouldn't surprise me one little bit

Military probes links between soldiers, biker gangs

Last Updated Mon, 30 Aug 2004 20:03:00 EDT

MONTREAL - The Canadian military has launched a series of investigations into possible links between members of the armed forces and biker gangs such as Hells Angels.

Military police confirmed reports on Monday that a number of probes have been carried out, including one sparked by the theft of eight pairs of night vision goggles from CFB Valcartier near Quebec City last year.

Biker experts say criminal gangs have been trying to recruit soldiers because of their special training with explosives, guns and other equipment.

A former investigator with the Quebec provincial police said the force has been talking with military police since at least 1998 about connections between soldiers and biker gangs after names started popping up during investigations.

"There's some guys who do their service with the military police or do their training with the special force who've been hired or were on the program with the Hells Angels," Guy Ouellette said.

Military police admit they're concerned about the linkages because many soldiers have training on a variety of weapons systems and also have access to the equipment.

However, spokesman Capt. Mark Giles said cases of military personnel having unsavoury links are rare.

"In many cases it may just simply be a bumper sticker or other things that indicate there may be some sympathies in that direction," Giles said, adding that when situations do cause concern they're closely monitored.

The military said it can't prohibit soldiers from associating with bikers because doing so would infringe on their civil rights.


Friday, August 27, 2004

Soon we'll be away from here
Step on the gas and wipe that tear away


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Sssssslllllloooooowwwww Justice

It took 10-years to dismiss this guy? What's wrong with this picture?

Court upholds firing of SQ officer
Police ethics commission ruling stands. SWAT-team member used excessive force, including putting gun in suspect's mouth
The Gazette

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

A Quebec Court judge upheld last month the firing of a Surete du Quebec SWAT-team member for striking a handcuffed suspect in the face and placing a loaded service revolver in his mouth while making an arrest in 1994.

After a lengthy disciplinary hearing, the police ethics commission found Cpl. Bernard Bourgouin guilty of using disproportionate force in 2002 and stripped him of his badge in 2003.

Bourgouin appealed the conviction and the sanction, but last month a court judge ruled that the ethics commission's ruling was supported by the evidence and that the punishment meted out was reasonable.

"Dismissal is the most severe sanction set out in the law governing police," Quebec Court Judge Armando Aznar wrote. "At the same time, the ethical violation the appellant was found guilty of is extremely serious."

During the course of a police raid in St. Etienne de Bolton on June 2, 1994, Normand Beaulieu was apprehended by an officer he later identified as Bourgouin.

After being handcuffed, Beaulieu said he was told to "shut his mouth." He said he was dealt a blow to the face, with a closed fist or a pistol, that fractured his cheekbone.

The arresting officer then took out his gun and placed its barrel in Beaulieu's mouth - supposedly in the name of extracting information on where other suspects were hiding.

The ethics commission ruled nothing justified this extreme use of force against Beaulieu, who was slightly built, handcuffed at the time, and not posing a threat to the arresting officer.

But Bourgouin appealed on grounds that it took the better part of a decade for the wheels of justice to churn out a decision, including nearly two years from the date of the incident for Beaulieu and the lawyer he hired to finger him and lodge a formal complaint.

Bourgouin contested Beaulieu's ability to identify him as the assailant. He also questioned why the ethics panel believed the complainant's word over that of several SQ officers who offered testimony that exonerated him.

But Aznar pointed out that the arbiters based their ruling on the fact that Beaulieu told a fairly consistent story, while the officers who testified drew memory blanks, claimed not to have seen anything and were only co-

operative with their accused colleague's lawyer.

Bourgouin could still appeal the latest decision to a higher court.


Horrified onlookers watch police shoot hostage-taker in downtown Toronto

No, I'm not going to touch this one... it's too easy.


I'm a steamroller baby...

So, what exactly is Irwin Cotler doing with the placement of two supreme court justices? Would a little debate on their appointment be oh so bad? This is Canada, right? The land of fairness? Not the land of totalitarianism?

(no wonder I left this place.)

p.s. thank you, Jacques Dupuis for attempting to insert yourself in the process, as you should.

Tories blast 'sham' review of judges
Nominees should appear in person, Tory justice critic argues

OTTAWA - To hear Justice Minister Irwin Cotler tell it, his two choices to sit on Canada's top court can pretty much walk on water. And no one disagreed with him.

The first-ever committee to review Supreme Court candidates aired no qualms today about Ontario Court of Appeal Justices Rosalie Abella and Louise Charron.

In fact, the all-party advisory panel of seven MPs and two legal experts asked few questions about the judges themselves.

Instead, opposition members on the interim panel spent much of a three-hour session venting frustration about the process.

The interim committee has no veto power, did not see a short list of candidates before selections were made, and will issue a non-binding report on Friday. The appointments must then be made official by the prime minister any time after that.

Conservative members had to settle for grilling Cotler after the Liberals nixed their request to quiz candidates in person.

Conservative deputy leader Peter MacKay called the process "a sham" that breaks Prime Minister Paul Martin's promise to open the high-court selection system.

`It's a joke," MacKay said after the hearing. "It's window dressing. It's lip service. It's just running it by us for some form of credibility that doesn't exist."

Cotler said he wasn't about to risk judicial integrity by exposing high-court candidates to such queries as "When did you stop beating your wife?"

MacKay called the comment "insulting" and said MPs never intended to turn the screenings into a political free-for-all.

Still, much of Wednesday's hearing was a mix of grandstanding and partisan clashes.

MacKay and Conservative justice critic Vic Toews lambasted Cotler for giving the panel 24 hours' notice, a three-hour televised hearing and just two days to report on the candidates. Abella and Charron weren't announced as nominees until Tuesday.

Cotler, on the other hand, spent eight months researching potential nominees, consulting with judges and lawyers, and reviewing rulings.

Toews called it a "rubber stamp" process that strips Canadians of their right to know their most powerful jurists.

He called it "astounding" that the candidates were not even asked if they would appear before the committee.

Cotler fired back that all parties agreed that only the justice minister would take questions on a contender's intellect, demeanour, racial awareness and other attributes.

New Democrat MP Joe Comartin reminded Cotler that the Liberals weren't willing to negotiate on that point.

MacKay called the hearing a pointless review of a done deal. Conservatives had little choice but to accept a lousy process and fight for future changes, he said.

Cotler himself all but confirmed its irrelevance.

It would take a lot to change his mind about Abella and Charron, he told the panel.

"Only if you can provide any clear, authoritative evidence that would disqualify a person from serving."

Both nominees are "outstanding," Cotler repeatedly said.

The government tried to broaden public scrutiny of top-court appointments while protecting judicial independence, he said.

Even before the hearing began, Toews noted that Abella and Charron are both known for judgments supporting same-sex rights.

The nine-member Supreme Court will hold a milestone hearing in October on Liberal efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. Toews suggested a political connection.

"It is clear for everyone to see that this is part of the prime minister's agenda" to allow gay weddings, he said.

Cotler insisted that merit was his prime consideration when whittling down top candidates.

He also dismissed suggestions from some quarters that Abella, a renowned defender of human rights, is soft on crime.

"This has no basis in fact," Cotler said, citing a review of her judgments.

He also torpedoed the idea that Abella may be the court's next great dissenter. Of 313 judgments since 1994, Abella dissented in 31 - or 10 per cent of cases, he said.

Cotler also rejected a Quebec request for the federal government to choose from a list provided by the province to fill future vacancies from Quebec.

In a letter sent Aug. 6 to Cotler, Quebec Justice Minister Jacques Dupuis and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Benoit Pelletier asked for "formal participation" by Quebec in the process.

"We insist that we are part of the decisions," they wrote.

But Cotler said selecting from a list provided by the province would infringe on the federal government's constitutional right to name justices.


Bravo Cyberpresse, vous etes le meilleur cyber-journal en Canada

Week after week Quebec's Cyberpresse - which publishes Montreal's La Presse and Sherbrooke's La Tribune, among others - scoops every other newspaper in Canada. Looking for breaking news in Canada? Go to There you will find current news long before it breaks in the other English Canadian newspaper publications. Go there now and you will find a report from today's events at the Canadian Police Chief's conference being held in Vancouver in which the RCMP warns Canadians that the world has become sufficiently dangerous and complex to the point where the police cannot assure the safety of its citizens.

For the rest of you Canadians that never bother to learn French (your loss), guess you'll have to wait for the morning papers...

Selon les chefs de police du Canada

Le monde devenu un endroit dangereux
Presse Canadienne

Le terrorisme et la menace croissante représentée par le crime organisé ont fait du Canada et du monde un endroit où il est devenu plus dangereux de vivre, a déclaré mercredi le dirigeant de la Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC).

«À mon avis, le monde est aujourd'hui un endroit beaucoup plus dangereux et ce pour plusieurs raisons, a dit le commissaire de la GRC Guiliano Zaccardelli lors d'une conférence de presse qui s'est déroulée au terme du congrès annuel de l'Association canadienne des chefs de police.

Le crime organisé dispose maintenant de moyens beaucoup plus raffinés qu'il y a une génération, et cela doit être ajouté à la menace d'attentats terroristes et aux événements du 11 septembre 2001.

«Je crois que le monde n'est plus aussi sûr que lorsque nous étions de jeunes policiers», a-t-il affirmé.

M. Zaccardelli et d'autres dirigeants de services de police ont participé à cette conférence de presse pour souligner certaines des discussions qui se sont déroulées durant ce 99e congrès annuel des chefs de police.

Même s'il croit que le Canada continue d'être un des endroits «relativement» sécuritaires dans le monde, il ne s'est pas dit rassuré pour autant, soutenant que «les menaces potentielles ont augmenté considérablement».

Edgar McLeod, président de l'association et chef du service régional de police de Cap Breton, en Nouvelle-Écosse, a posé la question et donné la réponse.

«Est-ce que les Canadiens sont plus en sécurité que lorsque j'ai commencé ma carrière?, a-t-il demandé. La réponse est non.»

Mais selon lui, ce n'est pas seulement un problème pour les policiers.

«Nous avons tous une responsabilité ici, a-t-il dit. Les citoyens doivent s'engager dans leurs quartiers et leurs communautés.»



Why - WHY? - am I up at four-in-the-freakin'-morning? I can't sleep. I was fine until my cell phone rang THREE TIMES! last night around midnight. Then someone left a message that contained nothing but static I know one asshole who's gonna get a call back this morning at six.

And I'm sorry for the crack yesterday about cops and donuts... it was too easy, I shouldn't have went for it. Mostly, because my good friend and fellow advocate, Dawn Kelly is actually at the police chiefs conference trying to drum-up sponsorships for our new victims group - way to bite the hand that feeds. John.

Now my good friend, Eric Muller over at Is That Legal? is debating a right wing journalist, Michelle Malkin on the radio today. Malkin has written a book that claims the WWII American internment of the Japanese wasn't all that bad after all.

Wrong answer, baby. Eric has a stick up his ass about the Japanese internment - he's even written a book on the subject", you don't want to cross him on this issue.

We wish you luck, Eric.

Actually I saw Eric on Sunday at a brunch (that's right, I'm old enough that I now attend brunches, sickening isn't it?) Eric and I live in virtual reality. We TALK ENDLESSLY about getting together and jamming (he plays guitar, I play drums. Influences? When I'm around Eric - Fountains of Wayne, Squeeze, and The Little Hands of Concrete). We also TALK about how we're going to mountain bike together.

so far, none of this has happened.

And it most likely never will happen. Why? 'Cause I'm up at four-in-the-morning blogging.

The Olympics - not to rub rock-salt in a wound, but has Canada won anything? You know, in my day Canada was always the joke nation, we'd show up at these things, never win anything, but people like us, we were fun to party with. Now Australia has long surpassed us as the fun-lovin' nation AND they have respect. Thirty-seven medals, folks. Fourth overall. Remember when Ben Johnson was going to redeem us? Then he fell from grace (boy, by today's scandals Ben's controversy looks mild, what-he-do? Take a few Tylanol?). Oh well, it's never been the same since (ya, don't give me that Donavan Bailey crap, no one ever liked him anyway).

You know, I once met this Canadian literary agent and I asked him what his biggest failure was. He said on the eve he was to publish what would have been the book to make his career - the Ben Johnson story (common, this is Canada, folks, 100 units and a feature in Toronto Life is considered a success), the doping scandal broke. He hasn't been the same since.

Anyway look for heads to roll in the Canadian Olympic program. Vancouver is only six years away, but those are the Winter games... we should do okay there, right?

Now this is a quality in me that my wife loathes. Officially, I am an American citizen, but roll out the Olympic games and I become intensely patriotic to my former country. I'm like a reed in the wind... any port in a storm, I'll come home.

I wish James Ellroy would release the final chapter after Cold Six Thousand. American Tabloid was great (could 6000 have been any terser? For 600 pages I felt completely constipated.)

More coffee? Probably not... I should wait a few hours. Uh-oh, the baby's awake - hope I'm not asked to lend a hand. Maybe she'll eat and go back to sleep. Shit, it's almost six o'clock... Amelia will be up soon (early riser). Should I take her to The Misanthrope" this weekend? Probably not. She's going to bug me about seeing the Bulls" - last fireworks of the Summer. Some fun, huh Bambie?.

You know, I think I AM going to have more coffee...


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

All those chiefs, All those donuts..

Ask an American what they find most impressive about Canada, and they are astounded - ASTOUNDED - by the number of donut shops per capita north of the 49th...

Now, in case you weren't aware of it, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is holding their annual conference all this week in Vancouver. What do police chiefs talk about when they convene? What are the issues that get their dander-up?

According to the Toronto Star, Canadian chiefs want revisions to the criminal code so that they can have broader access to emails to fight "hi-tech crime"

You know if this is the Chiefs' major beef we're in trouble.

I can think of about a half-dozen other concerns (oh say, better communication between police jurisdictions OR towards a seamless integration of police, justice, and social services), but cyber-crime?

The Conservatives tried to make this a big campaign issue back in June. The argument went something like this; if Michael Briere never had access to child pornography, then he never would have murdered Holly Jones. Child porn is to blame, so let's propose banning its access on the internet (without providing a logical method for how this would be carried out that wouldn't somehow inhibit the tranference of all kinds of other useful information).

Now it seems like the Police chiefs are taking up the rallying cry, which is understandable - this sort of issue plays well in the homes of god-fearing Canadians (who wouldn't want to see and end to child porn?). Even Michael Briere admitted that child porn was what motivated him to kill Holly. It seems like a no-brainer, right? Give the police more authority and let's ban this porn.

But should we really trust anything Michael Briere says? I'm sure he believes pornography is the answer to all his troubles, but somehow I think its a little more complicated than that. And you know what? So do the chiefs of police.

Canadian chiefs should stop grandstanding on this issue, it only makes them look desparate and ineffectual - just what we don't want to see in our civil authority.


Thursday, August 19, 2004


(forgive my hyperbole)

Quebec Chief justice quits after impaired charge


MONTREAL — Lyse Lemieux, the first woman to be named chief justice of the Quebec Superior Court, announced today that she is retiring after being cited for impaired driving.

Blood-alcohol tests allege Lemieux was driving with a level of twice the legal limit of 0.08 when she was ticketed by Quebec provincial police earlier this month, said Alanna Woods, a Superior Court spokeswoman.

Lemieux, 68, is to appear in court on Nov. 10 to face charges of driving while impaired and having a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit.

She was cited after she allegedly hit an unoccupied piece of road equipment parked on the side of a major highway on Aug. 5.

No one was injured in the incident, which happened around 10 p.m.

"All citizens are equal before the law and I am taking my responsibilities," Lemieux, who has sat as a judge for more than 20 years, said in a statement.

Lemieux will leave her job on Sept. 30 and will perform only administrative duties until then.

"I will refrain from participating in any public event," said Lemieux, who was appointed in August 1996.

"As well, I will not participate in discussions involving the orientation of the institution, whose integrity I so vividly wish to preserve in taking this decision."

It will now be up to the federal cabinet to name a new chief justice.

Lemieux noted in her statement she had her driver's licence suspended for three months in 2001 when she overtook a school bus on her way to work in the morning.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada said in a statement that she was "very sad to hear of the unfortunate circumstances that led . . . (Lemieux) to abandon her functions and retire from the bench."

"This must have been a very difficult decision for Chief Justice Lemieux and I understand and respect the choice that she has made to leave at this juncture.

"Lyse Lemieux has served the administration of justice with skill and dignity for over two decades. Serious as it is, the incident that brings her to leave the judiciary must not overshadow her important and lengthy contribution to public life in Canada."

Lemieux has worked in all areas of law except criminal and has presided over civil and administrative cases in Superior Court. She is also credited for her work with her predecessor Lawrence Poitras in helping to reduce delays for court hearings.

Lemieux's colleagues were saddened by her departure but not surprised by her decision.

"She wants to preserve the integrity of the court and when she faced all this, she decided to quit her function," said Justice Robert Pidgeon, associate chief justice of Quebec Superior Court.

Pidgeon noted that Lemieux was doing a good job building a team to preside over implementing reforms to the Quebec Civil Code and was extremely concerned with the efficiency of the courts and judges.

Justice Andre Deslongchamps, assistant chief justice of the Superior Court, described Lemieux as a dedicated and well-liked jurist.

"She was a very responsible person," Deslongchamps said, calling her a person of vision.

"You can imagine that we have been consulted and we discussed the matter, myself, Justice Pidgeon and her, and she came to that conclusion that she has to quit."

Noted Montreal criminal lawyer Robert La Haye said Lemieux made the best possible decision.

La Haye said Lemieux not only preserved the integrity of the judicial system but also avoided putting herself in a conflict of interest if, for example, she ever had to judge an appeal in a drunk driving case.

Let's go, rummy, walk the line...


Gone Fishing

There is an interesting story in La Tribune this morning about the father of Julie Boisvenu, Pierre Boisvenu's plans not to attend the trial of Hugo Bernier, which begins in Montreal next month. Instead, M. Boisvenu intends to leave the Province on a fishing trip.

Now I've been talking to Pierre and don't for a minute think he's decided to relax and get complacent. He had a meeting with the Quebec Minister of Justice this week, Jacques Dupuis, and I can tell you that Pierre's plans for the reform of victims services in Quebec are ambitious and just what the Province needs to knock it out of its slumber.

Here is the Tribune story:

Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu n'assistera pas au procès

Isabelle Pion
La Tribune

À un peu plus de deux semaines du procès du présumé meurtrier de sa fille Julie, Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu n'entend pas y assister. Deux amis travaillant pour deux firmes d'avocats à Montréal ont plutôt offert leur soutien à la famille.

Rappelons que le procès d'Hugo Bernier, accusé du meurtre de Julie Boisvenu en juin 2002, débutera le 8 septembre prochain. À la suite d'un jugement rendu par le juge Paul-Marcel Bellavance, le procès a été déplacé à Montréal. La nouvelle avait semé la consternation chez la famille Boisvenu. Avec ce changement de venue, l'avocat Marc Vaillancourt, qui devait représenter la famille pour la tenir au courant du processus, ne pouvait plus être présent.

"On a des offres d'amis criminalistes dans deux firmes d'avocats différentes. Ils nous ont offert de supporter la famille durant le procès et ils vont nous conseiller sur les suites à prendre", explique M. Boisvenu en soulignant qu'il a bien l'intention de partir à la pêche quelque temps, question de décompresser.

Leurs amis s'attarderont notamment au travail qui a été fait en matière de libérations conditionnelles. Dans le passé, celui-ci n'avait pas exclu d'intenter des poursuites civiles contre le ministère de la Justice. Interrogé sur cette question, il répond: "La question que l'on se pose, c'est est-ce que Julie serait vivante si des personnes avaient fait une meilleure job? Est-ce qu'il y a des gens qui ont une responsabilité en plus du meurtrier?"

Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu et sa conjointe veulent "limiter au maximum" leur présence en cour. Il croit qu'ils devront possiblement s'y rendre pour le prononcé de la sentence. De plus, comme le permet le code criminel aux proches de victime, ils pourraient faire un témoignage avant que le jury délibère. M. Boisvenu précise qu'il étudie encore cette possibilité.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

"Get me a victim, or you'll be the victim"

Hey can anyone put me in touch with a co-victim of homicide from the Atlantic provinces?


Johnny A


No Comment here on the death of Frank Cotroni...

I don't do mob bosses.

Frank Cotroni meurt à 72 ans

Rollande Parent
Presse Canadienne

L'un des mafiosi montréalais le plus légendaire, Frank Santo Cotroni, est
décédé mardi en matinée, emporté par un cancer du cerveau. Agé de 72 ans, il
était en libération conditionnelle et avait passé presque la moitié de sa vie en

Cotroni était né dans l'est de Montréal et avait commencé à sévir au
début des années 1940. Ses parents et certains de ses frères et soeurs étaient
originaires de Calabre, dans le sud de l'Italie. Le grand public avait eu
l'occasion d'entendre parler de Frank Cotroni pour une dernière fois, en
septembre 2003, lors de la parution d'un livre de recettes italiennes de son
cru. Dans la préface, il écrivait aimer concocter des petits plats pour ses
proches. Cette initiative avait semblé saugrenue à certains observateurs surtout
que Frank Cotroni était connu pour ses crimes, ses nombreux bris de conditions
et ses multiples séjours en prison. Un endroit qui est loin d'être idéal pour
développer des qualités de gastronome et de chef cuisinier. En fait, Frank
Cotroni a été privé de liberté pendant une bonne trentaine d'années. Il a connu
les prisons canadiennes et américaines.


Monday, August 16, 2004

Mark and Burke O'Brien

You know I've often felt that I might die sometime on one of my frequent trips back to Canada to investigate some unturned thread in my sister's murder. Some local newspaper editorial would get it wrong, saying I passed doing what I loved best...

So what to make of Mark and Burke O'Brien? The son - Burke - is murdered in lower Manhattan. His father - Mark - killed in a freak car accident while on a retreat to get over his grief for Burke...


Thanks to Eric Muller for showing me this very sad story:



August 15, 2004 -- A heartbroken father who immersed himself in a remote wilderness program to deal with his son's tragic slaying on a Lower East Side street has been killed in an auto accident.

Mark O'Brien, 55, of Glenview, Ill., died in an accident near the U.S.-Canadian border while driving back from a wilderness retreat Wednesday.

He had just begun showing signs of healing since his son, Burke O'Brien, 25, was shot in the heart on Jan. 12, 2003, after being mugged by a pair of still-unidentified men.

The slaying was featured last month on the police reality TV show, "NYPD 24/7."

"It's horrible," Mark's daughter, Mariah O'Brien, told The Post. "I mean, to have to go through all of this again.

"He was so excited to get back. Just because he wanted to get home with his kids, he missed us so much. He sounded better than he sounded since my brother died; he sounded like he had life back in his voice."

Mariah, 27, said her father was the "strongest man she knew." She had talked to him three times the day before he started his days-long drive home from the Temagami wilderness in Ontario.

The accident happened in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, just over the border, about eight hours from O'Brien's home in the suburbs of Chicago.

O'Brien was driving his tan 1997 Lincoln Town Car just after noon when he veered into oncoming traffic.

He then collided with a flatbed truck hauling logs, according to Sgt. Joseph Trudeau, of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service.

The Town Car then hit a Dodge Caravan minivan, and O'Brien was thrown from his car. A fourth vehicle spotted O'Brien in the road and tried to swerve, but could not avoid striking him.

It was unclear what caused O'Brien to veer into oncoming traffic, and investigators are still looking into the accident.

He was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"My dad's my best friend; he told me that the day the he left," Mariah said.

She said her father had been up in the Canadian woods leading the same type of wilderness retreats his son had piloted before he was killed. The excursions were designed for people to get back to nature and to get to know themselves.

She said he himself had gone up to try to attain some peace regarding Burke's murder, by doing the outdoors activities the father and son pair used to loved to do together.

"The reason why he was up there was to address some issues surrounding his relationship with my brother," said Mariah.

"To try and find closure to some things, because that was such a huge part of my brother's life. Being up there, I'm sure he felt much closer to my brother and could get at some things he couldn't get at in the midst of daily life in Chicago."

A securities trader by day, Mark O'Brien was a renewed man after the two-week retreat, Mariah said.

O'Brien leaves behind his wife, Barbara, his three daughters — Mariah, Raurie, 24, and Carleigh, 19 — and a son, Tommy, 22.


Friday, August 13, 2004

Blink and you missed it

You would have needed to be a micro-biologist to notice the story in Thursday's National Post about Canadian universities warning their students about local sex offenders. The story was available to "subscribers only" on the websites, and when I Googled the story I came up empty.

So what's important here? That Queen's University e-mailed 16,000 students about the release of a convicted rapist in the campus area is not big news; Queens has had an alert protocol system in place for quite some time to warn students about potentially dangerous characters on the loose at their campus. But the University of Saskatchewan?

This is news. Recall that last winter U of S was battling a controversy in which a young student was raped in a campus washroom by a sex offender well known to the community. This, after another student had been similarly assaulted by a different offender earlier last Summer. The School was criticized for not taking steps to adequately warn their student body about problems on campus with sex offenders.

After her offender was caught, one of the women in the U of S rapes went public and proceeded with charges against him. From there the story only got worse... for the victim. The School refused to admit any wrongdoing in the events. The press made suggestions that the woman had fabricated the story. Eventually, the police capitulated and began to doubt the victim (despite the fact that their was DNA evidence (ie: sperm) to back up her claim). Humiliated, the victim dropped all charges, withdrew from the University of Saskatchewan, and found solace in the arms of her parents - who never doubted her.

So what are we to make of it now, as another school year is about to begin at the University of Saskatchewan that administration is now taking the pre-emptive position of warning students of potential problems with sex offenders released in the campus area?

I would call it a victory for that victim who was raped last winter in the campus washroom - a little late, bittersweet, but satisfying nonetheless. I applaud University of Saskatchewan administration for having the decency to change and develop new safety alert procedures. Bravo U of S. Now if we could only convince some other Canadian Universities to become equally courageous on the subject of safety and security on campus.

For those of you who missed it, here is the entire National Post article:

Universities warn their students of sex offenders

Photos e-mailed to all

Siri Agrell and Dan Kinvig National Post and The StarPhoenix

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Students at two Canadian universities received e-mails this week containing the names and faces of convicted rapists.The messages were sent to students at Queen's University in Kingston and the University of Saskatchewan by the schools' administration, in an effort tomake students aware of potential danger on campus.

On Tuesday, Queen's officials sent 16,000 registered students an e-mail containing a police news release, warning that a convicted sex offender had been released to a halfway house near the university.A 22-year-old man arrested in 2000 for sexually assaulting six women near York University was released in the area last week, putting Queen's, two colleges and many high schools on high alert.

"That's really weird," third-year Queen's student Robert McGroarty said upon seeing the e-mail.Even though security is an issue at the school, which is located nearseveral federal penitentiaries, he does not think it was necessary for thealert to be sent to the student body. "It gets people more scared than they need to be," Mr. McGroarty said."Idon't know if it's the university's responsibility to alert us about something like that. He's not in residence, so it's not really a Queen's "issue."

Queen's director of campus security, Dave Patterson, said the department's Web site received several thousand hits by students looking for more information.

The University of Saskatchewan also issued a safety alert this week after aman convicted of a sexual assault at the university reappeared on campuslast month in breach of his probation.A photograph and description of Rodney Alexander Johnson, 25, was posted last Thursday on the university's new safety alert boards in the
entrancesof main buildings. Johnson's description was also e-mailed to all
university staff and students."If you see this man on campus, please do not
approach him," the e-mail read.


Thursday, August 12, 2004


Anyone who subscribes to the National Post - could you please email me this story from the August 12th edition:

"Universities warn their students of sex offenders
Students at two Canadian universities received e-mails this week containing the names and faces of convicted rapists."

Thank you.


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Woman in Smart Kidnapping Said Incompetent

This via Associated Press:

Wanda Barzee, 58, who first was ruled incompetent in January, remains incompetent, but there is a "substantial probability she may become competent in the foreseeable future."

Boy-oh-boy, I know the feeling.


Conservative Vic Toews: ally or poison apple?

Justice critic blasts parole for murderer

'This guy had not demonstrated in any way that he was fit to be released,' Tory MP says

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

VANCOUVER -- Federal Conservative justice critic Vic Toews called for changes to Canada's parole system yesterday after a convicted murderer out on day parole was charged with the beating death of a 75-year-old man during a home invasion.

"The record clearly shows that this guy had not demonstrated in any way that he was fit to be released," Mr. Toews said.

He was referring to the case of Eric Norman Fish, 42, charged yesterday with first-degree murder in the slaying of Bill Abramenko of Vernon, B.C.

Mr. Fish had a long record of prison misbehaviour and parole violations when he was allowed to stay at a halfway house in Vernon last April, including a prior conviction for second-degree murder during a 1984 home invasion.

"This to me demonstrates simply a desire to get the person back out on the street," Mr. Toews said, "without a real consideration of whether parole has been earned."

He said that the criteria for parole need to be changed to put the onus on individuals actually earning their parole.

"It shouldn't simply be a matter of serving time. It should be a matter of a demonstrable effort toward being rehabilitated," Mr. Toews said. "We've got to reformulate the [parole] test to clarify this."

The parole board decision approving limited day parole for Mr. Fish, despite two recent parole violations for using cocaine, noted that the inmate had completed "numerous programs" in jail and gained "some insight into the dynamics of [his] offending."

The board gave Mr. Fish credit for immediately re-involving himself in relapse-prevention programs after his most recent cocaine lapse.

Mr. Toews questioned the importance of such factors. "What weight has been put on these things to come to the conclusion that there's no undue risk to the community?

"He's taken certain steps but I don't think anyone would have said that he's earned it [day parole] with his kind of record."

At the time of the break-in and beating death of Mr. Abramenko, Mr. Fish had been missing from his halfway facility, known as Howard House, for six weeks.

Joanne Crawford, executive director of the John Howard Society, which runs Howard House, said the facility houses an average of about 18 federal parolees on any given day.

Police in Vernon have been criticized for not alerting the public to Mr. Fish's escape.

The picturesque Okanagan community is also in an uproar over the fact that Mr. Fish had been sent there on day parole.

Mr. Toews said there needs to be a full investigation into all aspects of the case. "Not only the parole board conduct, the police conduct, but also the criteria on which people are granted parole."

He added that the Criminal Code should establish minimum mandatory sentences for home invasions.

"The whole idea of breaking into people's houses is not simply a property offence. Residential break-ins can lead to exactly the kind of situation that happened in Vernon."

Regional parole board director Evelyn Blair said that it is almost certain a joint investigation by the board and Corrections Canada will be held.

"Whenever any serious harm comes to anyone in the community, we review all the circumstances."


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Escaped convict charged in B.C. murder

"RCMP spokesperson Heather Macdonald said privacy laws protecting the identity of the parolee prevented police from notifying the public sooner. "

Good news, Canadians, your rights mean jack!


I thought I had to wait a long time - Part II

Why do I love this story so much?

Lost Cat Found 18 Years Later


Monday, August 09, 2004

Le chef de police intérimaire de Kanesatake, nommé à la fin mars par le Grand Chef James Gabriel, a remis sa démission lundi parce qu'il était insatisfait du travail de la Sûreté du Québec (SQ) et de la Gendarmerie royale du Canada

Disatisfied with the SQ and the RCMP? I can't imagine why.


...and don't let the door boot you in the ass on the way out to pasture.

Heatherington resigns from Alberta city council


And I thought I had been waiting long

The mother of Kathryn-Mary Herbert has been waiting 29 years for closure on her daughter's murder investigation. Kathryn-Mary was murdered near Abottsford, British Columbia on September 24th, 1975, and, yes, this is another instance where police (RCMP and Abbotsford) lost evidence vital to solving the crime...

Minister Cotler? Do you have an E.T.A when I might receive a response to my July 1st letter concerning statutes of limitations on evidence retention?


Winnipeg police warn Hockey Gladiators on thin legal ice if they stage event

The event will see 32 former NHL, semi-pro, university and junior hockey tough guys pair off at centre ice in a series of short punching matches

Hey that's an idea with zip; cut out the hockey and get straight to the pummeling.


Toronto police chief Julian Fantino wants DNA samples taken at arrests

But defence lawyer, Clayton Ruby argues;

"This is a second-rate idea, for a second-rate police state with a second-rate police chief."

Ouch! Clayton, how do you really feel about T.O.?


Friday, August 06, 2004

She Lives

On two occasions, I have had the pleasure of meeting and conversing with the author, James Ellroy. At one of these meetings we had a long conversation about the death of my sister, Theresa. Ellroy consoled me by relating the following:

"She lives, baby, she lives" (so very Ellroy)

"She Lives" subsequently became the moniker for all of his inscriptions for My Dark Places.

I have of late left Theresa in the background, but I think it time that I move her forward. It's time to move from victims advocate back to victim and tell you a little about the girl that made me who I am.

Tonight I was out driving to pick up supplies for my daughter's fourth birthday party (tomorrow). I was listening to Dave Mason. Now, I don't recall Theresa ever listening to Dave Mason, but it has that distinctive 70s' sound that I always imagine her enjoying (Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave: So seventies... the acoustic piano and drums, the banjo, that wah-wah (oh that sweet wah-wah!)) So it got me thinking of the music she most enjoyed.

So here for you are ten of Theresa' s favorite 70s' albums in no particular order:

  • Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks
  • Genesis Selling England By The Pound
  • George Harrison All Things Must Pass
  • Cat Stevens Teaser and the Fire Cat
  • David Bowie Ziggie Stardust
  • Spooky Tooth The Mirror
  • Al Stewart Year of the Cat
  • James Taylor Mud Slide Slim
  • Fleetwood Mac Rumours
  • David Bowie Station to Station

You know, after 25-years it's still a pretty good list.

Groove to those sweet-70s'-sounds baby!


The Policy Centre for Victims Issues

The Policy Centre for Victims Issues was created in 2000 by the Justice Department of Canada. For the past 4 1/2 years it has been a vital resourse for victims wishing to unlock the mysteries of the Canadian criminal justice system from the victim's perspective.

The Centre's mandate is as follows:

  • make victims more aware of their role in the criminal justice system and the laws, services and assistance applicable to them;
  • increase overall awareness about the needs of victims of crime and effective approaches in Canada and internationally
  • improve the ability of the Department of Justice to develop laws and policy that take into consideration the perspectives of victims.

The Policy Centre was initiated by a grant from the Government of Canada in the amount of $25 million allocated over a five year period. In March 2005, the funding for the Policy Centre will end unless individuals interested in victim-related initiatives designed to improve support to victims of crime speak out in support of this program.

I urge all of you to write to the Policy Centre and show your support for this vital institution at:


Gary Dimmock has a good piece in the Citizen on the Ardeth Wood investigation

(I will - again - remind everyone that the Wood murder remains unsolved, and there have been suggestions that the police botched the investigation early in the game. Also note that the Ottawa chief of police is Vince Bevan (yes, THAT Vince Bevan who botched a case a while back concerning a certain Scarborough rapist.))

I'm glad the Wood family still has the strength to cooperate with the police, but ask the Mahaffy family what their opinion is of Vince Bevan...


Ardeth Wood: One year later, the victims' perspective.

A year after she was murdered, The Ottawa Citizen has a nice profile of the parents of Ardeth Wood.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

The creator of Passe-Partout was murdered?

Why, Lord, why must you take all the gifted ones!


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Has-beens Stump to Kickstart Ailing Careers!

Springsteen, REM, Pearl Jam unite to Rock the Vote


And in the wake of iPodgate, UNCW prepares to release a yak-fest on student safety...

UNC panel previews safety ideas
Background checks suggested, with limits

By JANE STANCILL, Staff Writer

UNC campuses can get tougher in their admissions practices to keep out potentially dangerous students but should stop short of background checks for everyone, members of a campus safety task force say.

The group, formed this summer after the slayings of two UNC-Wilmington students, is exploring ways to better screen applicants at the state's 16 public university campuses.

Among the panel's preliminary recommendations Monday:

* Required character references for prospective UNC system students.

* Stern warnings to applicants about the consequences of lying about their criminal past.

* Limited background checks for those whose history raises red flags.

The two suspects in the UNCW cases were students who had lied on their applications about past crimes.

Beyond better screening, campuses might be asked to conduct safety assessments, analyze specific threats and tailor prevention programs accordingly. All UNC system students could be required to take a safety course that would go beyond "Don't walk alone at night." The course would explore anger management, domestic violence and stalking, for example.

"It ought to be something that everyone is exposed to early on when they arrive on campus," said Skip Capone, UNC-Greensboro general counsel.

Also Monday, one of two UNC-Wilmington safety task forces released a preliminary report recommending the university offer more violence prevention programs. Among the ideas: a prominent UNCW Web page devoted to the subject -- a resource that professors would be asked to promote in classes. The university could do a better job advertising its programs to students, including an existing rape aggression defense course taught by campus police.

Records checks posed

But since Jessica Faulkner of Cary was raped and killed May 5 and Christen Naujoks was shot to death June 4, the talk has centered on background checks of students.

The suspect in Faulkner's case, Curtis Dixon of Charlotte, failed to disclose a misdemeanor larceny conviction to UNCW. He is charged with rape and murder.

John Peck, the suspect in Naujoks' killing, lied to the school about a conviction for sexual assault on a former girlfriend. Peck, who eventually shot himself during a chase with police, had dated Naujoks. She had reported him for stalking and obtained a restraining order.

UNCW officials were flooded with questions from parents about why the school did not conduct criminal checks of potential students.

Such checks are rare, said George Dixon, a former admissions director at N.C. State University who now works as a consultant to the UNC system.

Few campuses do

Among 40 public campuses that responded to an informal query from UNC, only two said they did such checks -- Iowa State University and North Dakota State University. UNC campuses routinely ask applicants about criminal convictions other than minor traffic violations. Many public U.S. universities don't even do that, Dixon said.

UNC relies on students to be honest. In the future, panel members said, the universities should take a closer look at student claims on applications, particularly when there are gaps in school attendance.

Among the possibilities: checking a prospective student against a UNC database to make sure the student had not been expelled by another campus, and checking against a national database to see whether the student had attended college anywhere else.

The panel also recommended training to help admissions officers recognize signs of trouble in a student's background.

But the group was opposed to widespread criminal background checks of all students or groups of students. That could anger applicants and parents and open the university to accusations of discrimination.

"We're not going to do profiling," said Leslie Winner, vice president and general counsel for the UNC system. "It's very clear we're not going to do that."

Admissions officials, could, however, order a background check if a student's record raises questions.

The task force is expected to complete its work this fall, with final recommendations likely in October. The UNC Board of Governors and individual campuses will then decide how to proceed.

In the meantime, the group will study data from campus police agencies to determine the extent of student-on-student violent crime. The reality is the numbers are probably very small, said Steve Farmer, senior associate admissions director at UNC-Chapel Hill.

"Campuses are very safe places," he said. "They're safer than the communities that surround them, by far. ... How much further can we reduce that? How much safer can we be?"

Oh, UNC, get with the times man... Give 'em all iPods!


Who Killed Theresa?

Special Back-To-School Edition!

I think this story goes hand-and-hand with last week's Globe article about Canadian Universities being too secretive:

Colleges No Longer Able To Silence Campus Rape Victims

By Amy Argetsinger

When Kate Dieringer learned that the fellow student whom she had accused of raping her in her first month at Georgetown University would be suspended from the college for a year rather than expelled, she was outraged. "I wanted to tell everyone," she said.

Yet she couldn't: In order to learn the results of the young man's
campus disciplinary hearings in the spring of 2002, she had signed a form
promising not to share them with anyone, except for her parents and one close

Such confidentiality pledges have been standard on many college
campuses, and administrators have generally argued that they are necessary to
maintain the federally mandated privacy shrouding most student records.

But in response to a complaint filed by Dieringer, the U.S. Department of Education
told Georgetown this week that its policy violates a federal campus crime law.
Campus safety watchdogs are hailing the order as a major victory for sexual
assault victims at colleges nationwide.

The decision could encourage victims to shine a light into the often secretive workings of collegiate disciplinary systems -- and even warn fellow students about their alleged attackers, said S. Daniel Carter, senior vice president of Security on Campus Inc., a nonprofit group that monitors campus crime and judicial programs.

"Colleges can no longer silence campus rape victims," he said. Asked if the decision would prompt victims to publicize details of accused students' punishments in campus media, Carter responded, "That is certainly what we hope."

Others in higher education played down the significance and expressed concern about airing the results of disciplinary cases. In sharing the outcome of campus hearings with victims, "the desire here is to help an individual through a difficult time," said Sheldon E. Steinbach, vice president and general counsel for the American Council on Education.

"It is not designed as a hook for future litigation, nor for pillorying an individual," he said. The Department of Education's order apparently applies only to cases involving sexual assault, as governed by a 1992 law known as the Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights, which requires that victims receive information about disciplinary proceedings without any conditions or limitations.

The systems in place on most college campuses to handle matters ranging from drinking violations to cheating to assault are a perennial source of controversy, with both victims and the accused often complaining they are not treated fairly.
The particulars of those cases are often hard to assess, though, because most colleges conduct such actions under the veil of confidentiality. College officials say the secrecy -- including the nondisclosure agreements -- is rooted in their view that such proceedings are part of the students' education and therefore protected under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

While there is nothing to prevent a student who is assaulted by a classmate from pursuing charges publicly through the criminal justice system -- regardless of whether the student also files a complaint on campus -- many choose to seek action only through the confidential college disciplinary channels.

That was the route chosen by Dieringer, seven months after she alleges she was assaulted by an older student in September 2001. She said the man separated her from friends and pulled her into his apartment after a night of heavy drinking.
Dieringer also alleged that the man, who was at the time serving as an official adviser for new students, might have drugged her.

According to documents from the Department of Education, a Georgetown hearing board -- composed of students and faculty -- determined that Dieringer's account was credible and decided to punish the student with expulsion. However, the man appealed his case, and an appeals board reduced his sanction to a one-year suspension. Dieringer, a 21-year-old senior from Bridgeport, W.Va., said she felt the reduced punishment represented a failure of Georgetown's disciplinary process. "Obviously, the system was faulty and needed fixing," she said in an interview.

In an unrelated investigation prompted by a separate complaint from Dieringer, the Department of Education this spring determined that Georgetown's investigation and hearing did not reflect any discrimination against Dieringer or violate her rights.
But Dieringer, who still believes she was wronged by the process, complains that she was stymied from mounting a public critique of Georgetown's system because the nondisclosure agreement prohibited her from sharing details of the hearings or their outcome. Todd A. Olson, Georgetown's vice president for student affairs, said the
university was using the nondisclosure agreements to try to uphold its students'
rights to privacy. He said the school will change its policy to reflect the Department of Education's order.

"It involves a difficult balancing act between accountability and confidentiality, and we'll continue to walk that line as carefully as we can," Olson said. Others see more sinister intent behind colleges' confidentiality policies. Bill Shaw of Shaker Heights, Ohio, said his 19-year-old daughter was compelled to sign such an agreement after being assaulted in April at a party at Bates College in Maine.

"The whole thing is an attempt to keep things quiet, to put her under duress," he said. Bates officials declined to comment.

Yet some in higher education say they don't believe the Georgetown order will prove a watershed for student victims. Most students involved in such cases don't want to publicize them, said Gary Pavela, director of judicial programs at the University of Maryland, which has not required nondisclosure agreements. And students who want to publicize their cases were probably never deterred in the first place, he said.
"People who have a strong interest in the outcomes will go to the media," Pavela said, "and will not be deterred by some piece of paper."


To hell with student safety, we're gettin' some iPods!

Some Duke students critical of iPods expense

Jane Stancill, Raleigh News and Observer

Julie Hutchinson, 21, a Duke University senior, is distressed that the
university is investing a large amount of money in iPods for freshmen, instead
of addressing campus security.
The announcement last week that Duke
University would give its freshmen free iPod digital music players sent a buzz
through the Internet, the airwaves and national news media.
freshmen are giddy about the trendy door prizes they'll get when they pass
through the entrance to the Gothic campus next month.

But not everyone is high-fiving the plan, which will cost Duke $500,000
combined with discounts by Apple Computer Inc.

Predictably, upperclassmen feel slighted by the first-year students'
good fortune. On an Internet bulletin board last week, one suggested envious
students bombard administrators with complaints: "GO BE PROACTIVE AND LETS GET

Others say the $500,000 could have gone to better use.

Julie Hutchinson, a Duke senior from Fuquay-Varina, is angry about the
iPod giveaway. But not because she wants one too.

Hutchinson has lobbied Duke administrators for three years for better
security on campus after one of her hallmates was sexually assaulted in a
dormitory bathroom. When she enters a bathroom now, she always checks the stalls
and showers to make sure they're clear.
She would like to see electronic
card readers on all bathroom doors, as well as panic buttons similar to the ones
at N.C. State University. A Duke administrator once told her such things were
too expensive, she said.

"I think the iPods are ridiculous - a waste of money to begin with,"
she said. "If they can spend that much money on toys for freshmen -- and the
fact that Nan [Keohane] raised $2 billion -- they have enough money to make
changes for security."

Duke spokesman David Jarmul said, in fact, a campus group has a plan to
improve security. He said new measures would be announced next month, but he
declined to give details. He said the changes would involve lighting, police
actions and awareness programs. "There are people working on that," he said.

In the deal with Apple, Duke will buy 1,800 20-gigabyte iPods at a
cheaper rate than the $299 retail price. The university will distribute 1,650
iPods to freshmen and have 150 others to loan other students in classes where
the devices are used.

Duke is apparently the first university in the United States to give
its students iPods. The pocket-size audio players -- commonly used to download
and store music -- will be loaded with practical Duke information such as
calendars and schedules. Students also will be able to download course content,
including language lessons, recorded lectures or audio books.
After the
first year, Duke will study the effect of iPods on academics.

"We will be the first to agree that this is an experiment," Jarmul
said. "We're not viewing iPods as an entitlement for students....We want to see
evidence that the iPods have indeed been incorporated into the life of the
classroom and that they're being used in ways that are not only innovative but

In an e-mail letter to the Duke student body last week, administrators
said that the money for the project came from a strategic fund that the
university had designated for "one-time innovative technology projects."

Tally Balaban, an incoming Duke freshman from Cary, was delighted to
learn she'd get a free iPod on orientation day. "Wow, that's kind of nice," she

A classical music fan, she wasn't quite sure of its academic
possibilities. "We'll have to see how we're going to use it," she said.

Emily LaDue, a junior from Levittown, N.Y., said the iPod distribution
was "completely extravagant." The money could have gone to more financial aid,
or books and school supplies for low-income students, she said.

But many Duke students are wealthy enough to own iPods already, she
said. "I'm sure a lot of them will just be selling them on eBay and making money
on them," she predicted.
Some believe the focus on freshmen is unfair.

"We're going into our last year and we've paid a high premium at Duke
for the last three years," said Trent Corbin, a rising senior from Richmond, Va.
"We never received anything as we came in."

He said the program was a way for Apple to capture new customers.
Libby Conn, a 2004 Duke graduate, said alumni have been chattering about it ever
since the iPod news came out.

"Everyone's up in arms that we just missed it," she joked. "I suppose
it's great for freshmen. I'm not sure what educational use [iPods] will be put

Eric Vivier, a senior from Buffalo, N.Y., sees an interesting parallel
between the iPod program and some unusual purchases by Duke's police department
last year. Duke officers now patrol the campus on pricey newfangled scooters
called Segways.

"They zoom around on campus," Vivier said. "There seems to be a trend
of unnecessary, expensive toys."


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Nothing to say. Working hard on my french lessons.

Losing hope.