The Center for Climate Change Law (CCCL) at Columbia Law School develops legal techniques to fight climate change, trains law students and lawyers in their use, and develops databases on climate law and regulation.
Comprehension of a Canadian police right to silence caution and a right to legal counsel caution was examined. Each caution was first presented verbally in its entirety, followed by its sentence-by-sentence presentation in written format. Participants (N = 56) were asked to indicate, after each presentation, their understanding of the caution. When delivered in verbal format, 4 and 7% of participants fully understood the right to silence and legal counsel cautions, respectively. However, 48 and 32% of participants fully understood the right to silence and legal counsel cautions, respectively, when delivered in written format. Comprehension of the cautions was not influenced by gender, experience with the caution, or whether the caution was interpreted by a police recruit or regular student. The implications of the results for statement admissibility and protection of suspects' rights are discussed.
This paper examines beliefs held by Swedish legal professionals about eyewitness testimony. In a survey including questions about 13 key issues of eyewitness testimony, three groups were investigated: police officers (n = 104), prosecutors (n = 158), and judges (n = 251). The response rate was 74%. Examples of findings are that the beliefs were in line with scientific findings concerning the weapon focus effect, but were not in line for simultaneous vs. sequential lineups. Between-group differences were found for seven items. Judges were much more sceptical than police officers about the reliability and completeness of children's testimonies. The groups seldom agreed about one answer alternative, and they reported not being up to date about scientific research on eyewitness testimony. The results suggest that some important research findings have reached those working on the field. However, they hold many wrongful beliefs about eyewitness testimony, beliefs that might compromise the accuracy of legal decisions.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) cases are notoriously difficult to investigate, and less than 10% of cases are prosecuted. We aimed to investigate prosecutors' experiences of preparing for and prosecuting suspected CSA cases with preschool aged victims. Nine specialized child prosecutors (6 women, 3 men) took part either in individual interviews or in focus groups on this subject. The transcripts were analyzed thematically. The prosecutors said that children's testimony was sometimes held to an adult standard and that child complainants who expressed emotion could be perceived as more credible than their less expressive counterparts. CSA victims were identified as vulnerable victims who had difficulty telling their stories. Some of the interviewers were described as lacking in the ability to approach these children. The results imply that the reliability and credibility of sexually abused preschoolers and their testimony might be influenced by a number of verbal and non-verbal factors and that there are several obstacles preventing prosecutors from prosecuting these cases.
Because of radical changes that have been effected by medical advances in the process of dying, it is now frequently necessary for patients to make an explicit decision on whether to forego life-prolonging medical therapies. We report physicians' and nurses' perceptions of the need for, feasibility of, and value of regulations and legislation to govern the dying process. In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with a sample of 20 physicians and 20 nurses at a large teaching hospital. There was little unanimity in their attitudes toward whether it is advisable or feasible to devise adequate legal safeguards for physicians and nurses who assist patients to hasten their deaths. Some believed such regulations were needed, but others believed they would seriously compromise good patient care. There was also disagreement as to who should develop guidelines. There was, however, clear opposition among most participants to the involvement of lawyers in the process of clarifying the content of regulations and legislation on the dying process.
This article summarizes the main findings from a study designed to examine the legal process in Canada as it applies to alcohol-impaired driving from the point of view of Crown prosecutors and defense counsel, and to identify evidentiary or procedural factors that may impact the legal process, the rights of the accused, and interactions of all parts in the legal process.
The data in this study were collected by means of a survey that was mailed out to the population of Crown prosecutors and defense counsel in Canada. In total, 765 prosecutors and 270 defense lawyers or an estimated 33% of all Canadian prosecutors and 15% of defense lawyers completed and returned the questionnaire. The "systems improvement" paradigm was used to interpret the findings and draw conclusions. Such an approach acknowledges the importance of the context in which countermeasures are implemented and delivered and the structures or entities used to deliver countermeasures to a designated target group.
Results on type of charges and breath alcohol concentration, caseload, case outcomes, case preparation time, conviction rate at trial and overall conviction rate, reasons for acquittals and time to resolve cases are described.
The findings from this national survey suggest that there are important challenges within the criminal justice system that impede the effective and efficient processing of impaired driving cases. Some of these challenges occur as a function of practices and policies, while others occur as a function of legislation.
This study illustrates that a "system improvements" approach that acknowledges the importance of all elements of the criminal justice system and the interaction between those elements, can be beneficial in overcoming the alcohol-impaired driving problem.
There has been a considerable amount of research that documents how women and men spend their time in different work and home tasks. We examine how much time professional women and men spend in paid and unpaid work and how this relates to their participation in different leisure activities. We also explore whether time in paid and unpaid work has gender-specific effects on leisure participation. In examining these issues, we rely on data from lawyers working in different legal settings. Our results show that, as hypothesized, men report more time in paid work and leisure whereas women devote more time to housework and childcare. An unexpected finding is that the time men spend in housework or childcare is either unrelated or positively related to their leisure participation. These results suggest that men's greater overall opportunities for leisure compared with women's appear to stem from the unanticipated relationships between men's involvement in housework and childcare and their leisure activities. We raise several possible explanations for these findings.