• Conference2024

    Drug Treatment Court : Perspectives and Practices of Criminal Defense Lawyers

    Presented in 2024 by Nicolas Spallanzani-Sarrasin at the Law & Society Association meeting in Denver.

    Defence lawyers working in lower criminal courts are increasingly invited to be 'holistic' and to consider a range of options including specialized therapeutic justice programs like drug treatment courts (Van Cleve 2012). While criminal justice system is adjudicative by design, in practice, marginalized accused are often processed under managerial (Resnik 1982; Kohler-Haussmann 2013, 2014) or therapeutic (Wexler & Winnick 1996) models of justice. For the defence, this raises new ethical and practical challenges and questions. Scholars have been critical of specialized courts, showing how they circumvent the principles of presumption of innocence (Hannah-Moffat and Maurutto 2012), imposing onerous conditions and surveillance for participants (Moore and Lyons 2007; Moore 2014), often lacking the resources required to support participants long term (Quirouette et al 2016). What is not known however, is how criminal defence lawyers navigate this setting, advising clients or participating in drug treatment court (DTC) programs. Our paper examines this very question, drawing primarily from qualitative interviews with defence working in private practice and with legal aid, in two Canadian urban centers (n=102). We report on what participants said about their experiences, impressions, and strategies. Based on our thematic analysis, we present 3 key themes (1) when and why DTC can be desirable, (2) when and why DTC is undesirable, and (3) practices outside DTC's borrow from the form and logic. We present these findings and discuss their relevance, raising questions about access to health and social support resources, about interdisciplinary interventions and about the ways in which people are criminalized rather than helped.

    Quirouette, M., Batista, C., Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N., Maier, K.
  • Conference2024

    ‘We’re In the Trenches Here’: Criminal Defense Work with Marginalized Clients in Rural and Northern Canada

    Presented in 2024 by Cecília Batista at the Law & Society Association in Denver.

    Both in the US and in Canada, research has shown how access to justice is especially complicated for marginalized individuals in rural or remote areas. Yet, little is known about how criminal defense lawyers navigate supporting disadvantaged clients outside urban centers. In our study, we draw from 145 in-depth interviews documenting the perspectives and practices of criminal defense lawyers in urban and non-urban regions of eastern Canada. Focusing primarily on 40 participants working in rural and northern courts, we identify three key themes, related to their work representing marginalized clients. First, we report on how participants experience unique challenges related to geographic remoteness, delayed court processes and local resources gaps. Second, we document strategies they use to navigate this environment and help accused secure a better outcome: going above and beyond their formal duties, taking on extreme amounts of travelling and making use of technology. Third, we describe, and analyze, how they talk about working with other legal actors that populate court communities, like prosecutors and judges. We discuss the relevance of our findings in light of recent debates about expanding therapeutic justice, improving access to legal aid supports and community resources, and addressing the over representation of indigenous people in courts and corrections.

    Quirouette, M., Batista, C.
  • Conference2024

    (Dis)advantage, Collateral Consequences and the Right to Effective Legal Assistance

    Presented in 2024 by Meritxell Abellan-Almenara at the Law & Society Association meeting in Denver.

    Research on the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction has grown exponentially in the past years. However, the overwhelming focus has been on the offenders' experience of such consequences, the impact they have on social reentry pathways and different criminal record expungement initiatives. While a few authors have shown an interest in the perceptions and practices of criminal justice actors, questions persist about the effects expanding collateral consequences have had on the criminal defense lawyers' duty to provide effective legal assistance to their clients. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 65 criminal defense lawyers and engaging with scholarship on privilege and the reproduction of inequality by the criminal justice system, the current study explores the ways criminal defense lawyers with different levels of privilege consider the collateral consequences of a conviction for their disadvantaged clients. The findings suggest that the imposition on lawyers of the duty to inform defendants of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction as part of their right to effective legal assistance has exacerbated the privilege imbalance between private practice and legal aid lawyers. The study contributes to a better understanding of the ways collateral consequences of criminal convictions (re)produce inequality within the criminal justice system and beyond.

    Quirouette, M., Abellan-Almenara, M, Batista, C.
  • Conference2024

    La reconnaissance du passé colonial : la perspective des avocats de la défense criminelle

    Presented in 2024 at a Observatoire des Profilages's webinar

    No abstract submitted.

    To access the presentation, please follow the Link

    Batista, C.