10.25.2006

banished

Here's an item brought to my attention in comments. Friends of wmtc Scott M and Doug both noticed this craziness from a US judge. Why are so many judges in the US so damn stupid?
An American teacher convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old student has been exiled to Canada as punishment in an unusual case that has immigration experts divided over its legality.

A U.S. judge gave Malcolm Watson a choice between serving as much as a year behind bars or agreeing to a three-year exile at his home in Canada. Watson, a 35-year-old former teacher at Buffalo Seminary in New York state, chose Canada.

Under the sentence for sexual abuse imposed by Cheektowaga town court, Watson can enter the United States only to report to his probation officer. Watson lives in St. Catharines, Ont., with his Canadian wife and three children. His sentence started Monday.

Robert Kolken, a Buffalo immigration lawyer, told the Toronto Star that exiling a citizen is unheard of.

"I don't see how a judge sitting in a criminal court in the U.S. can lawfully banish a citizen as a condition of sentencing," he said.

"The real issue is whether it's legal or not," he told the paper, adding that he wonders whether the sentence can even be enforced.
Banish-ed, that banish-ed, that one word, banish-ed...

4 comments:

Scott M. said...

I've given this a lot of thought.

Fundamentally I don't have a problem with this if there is a reciprical agreement between juristictions for the matter of enforcing house arrest if the criminal lives outside of the juristiction in which he is found guilty. Unfortunately, there is no such agreement.

If the judge is sentancing the criminal to house arrest, he should have the means to enforce it. In this case since he realizes he can't enforce it, he limits the his juristiction to what he can enforce. There's where the misstep is.

Now, what should Canada do about it? Our laws clearly state that a Permanent Resident can only be deported or denied entry due to a conviction if the sentance in the foreign juristiction was more than 5 years, or if the crime were tried in Canada that crime carries a sentance of a maximum of 10 years or more. Neither apply in this case.

So, what should they do? Should they rewrite the laws for this case?

My take is simply that there should be a diplomatic protest.

L-girl said...

Um... I think you did it again.

I'd like to respond but I'm not sure I'm following your argument. It could be me. I drank a lot of wine last night and my brain is very fuzzy today.

Also, I haven't forgotten about checks and balances. It will have to wait, due to brain fuzz.

Scott M. said...

Well, there are a few typos there, but in short:

- It's OK to have reciprical agreements for house arrest between juristictions
- This is not the case here
- The judge was stupid
- Canada should *not* change their laws to disallow this
- Canada *should* lodge a protest with the US.

L-girl said...

Oh, who cares about typos. If my brain was working correctly this morning, I'm sure I would have understood this.

Thanks for the explanation. I concur.