Runner-up for the 2000 Donner Prize
Shortlisted for the 2000 Walter Owen Book Prize
Since Cain killed Abel, the crime of murder has fascinated humans. So, too, do murder trials. They enable us to be voyeurs, peering from a safe distance into the dark recesses of the human capacity for evil and deadly impulse, and allowing us to bear witness to the ceremonial punishment of wrongdoers.
If the process of fatal crime and punishment fascinates, the Canadian criminal justice system infuriates, with its technicalities, its habit of coddling offenders, its abuse of victims, its inane defences, and its parole system.
Using the docudrama of a crime of murder as a lead to each Chapter, Getting Away with Murder: the Canadian Criminal Justice System unravels the mysteries of the criminal justice system, explaining how and why we sentence offenders and pointing out where we err, particularly with the parole system. It describes the reasons behind the system’s technicalities and why some of the guilty receive their benefit. The book explores the inadequacies and excesses of criminal defences, and illustrates why the system is miserly when it comes to victims’ rights. Suggesting that much of the loss of confidence in our criminal justice system is based on misunderstanding and inadequate information, the book provides information to fill in the gaps without becoming an apologia for the system. Although entertaining — written with a sense of humour and a bit of irreverence — the book is a serious, hard hitting, and candid work by a law professor who has acted both as prosecutor and defence counsel.
"Getting Away with Murder makes an important and timely contribution to discussion of reforming our justice system. Anyone interested in crime and justice should read it. Along the way, they will learn a great deal about the law and the administration of justice."
"...consistently challenging and absorbing... . For anyone who prefers to understand and think before deciding whether to join in the outrage, Getting Away with Murder is mandatory reading."
"Paciocco provokes readers into challenging their own opinions on important criminal justice matters. Many of his conclusions are as blunt and unsettling as they are articulate."
Table of Contents
PART ONE: FAITH AND JUSTICE
Chapter 1: The Credibility Crisis
PART TWO: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Chapter 2: In Defence of the Need to Punish
Chapter 3: Conditional Justice
Chapter 4: The Injustice of Parole
PART THREE: GETTING OFF ON TECHNICALITIES: THE RULE OF LAW
Chapter 5: Defining Crime
Chapter 6: Getting Off on Technicalities
PART FOUR: PROVING GUILT AND MAINTAINING INNOCENCE
Chapter 7: The Specific Allegation
Chapter 8: Presumed Innocent
Chapter 9: Closing Our Eyes to Find the Truth
Chapter 10: Abandoning the Search for the Truth
PART FIVE: JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE
Chapter 11: Forgiving Human Weakness
Chapter 12: Kill or Be Killed: The Law of Self-Defence
Chapter 13: Losing Control: Provocation and Excusing the Inexcusable
Chapter 14: The Abuse Excuse: “Psychobabble” and the Protection of Basic Values
Chapter 15: Disordered Minds: Insanity, Automatism, and Intoxication
PART SIX: THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM
Chapter 16: The Sad Truth About Victims’ Rights
Chapter 17: Responding to the Credibility Crisis