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"[Canadian] Judge Orders Man Not To Have Girlfriend":

So reports the AP:

The ruling came after Steven Cranley pleaded guilty on Tuesday to several charges stemming from an assault on a former girlfriend....

Doctors say Cranley has difficulty coping with rejection and runs a high risk to re-offend if he becomes involved in another intimate relationship.

Justice Rhys Morgan said Cranley "cannot form a romantic relationship of an intimate nature with a female person...."

I don't know Canadian law, so I can't comment on that. In America, it is pretty clear that the law can bar people who were convicted of a crime from having sexual relationships with a member of the opposite sex -- that's what happens to prisoners generally, unless they get conjugal visits (which are by no means constitutionally guaranteed). The question would be whether the law can impose such a requirement as a condition of probation; the test for that (rational relationship to a legitimate penological purpose) leaves the judge a lot of discretion, and I'd be inclined to say that this condition is rationally related to the protection of the public. On the other hand, it is pretty vague, the law having no ready definition of "romantic" (even if "intimate" is understood simply as sexual); maybe that would be the problem. In any case, this isn't my core field, so I don't want to opine too definitely -- I just thought it was an interesting story to pass along.

Thanks to John Struan for the pointer.

Fub:
Justice Rhys Morgan said Cranley "cannot form a romantic relationship of an intimate nature with a female person....

,,,On the other hand, it is pretty vague, the law having no ready definition of "romantic" (even if "intimate" is understood simply as sexual); maybe that would be the problem."
Complicating the vagueness is the fact that prostitution is not illegal in Canada. So, Mr. Cranley arguably might have a lawful and consensual sexual relationship that is obviously not "a romantic relationship of an intimate nature".
6.16.2007 2:39am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
I'd be willing to bet that they would never do this to a woman, and there are probably just as many, if not more, women that cannot handle rejection and behave pathologically when it occurs.
6.16.2007 2:44am
Kendall:
In America, it is pretty clear that the law can bar people who were convicted of a crime from having sexual relationships with a member of the opposite sex

That actually strikes me as an interesting (though most likely meaningless) distinction. Is it somehow less clear that you can bar people from sexual relations with the same sex? I know you're very careful and measured with you're words so what seems like a casual (and understandable) slip struck me as odd coming from you.
6.16.2007 2:49am
Dave D. (mail):
..It would seem as though the Presiding judge has left a hole through which Mr. Cranley can drive his libito through unencumbered. And I can only assume he meant to do thusly.
6.16.2007 2:57am
CDU (mail):
"Is it somehow less clear that you can bar people from sexual relations with the same sex?"

Given the fact that the, "don't ask, don't tell" policy hasn't been overturned, I'd say the answer is yes.
6.16.2007 2:59am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
That actually strikes me as an interesting (though most likely meaningless) distinction. Is it somehow less clear that you can bar people from sexual relations with the same sex? I know you're very careful and measured with you're words so what seems like a casual (and understandable) slip struck me as odd coming from you.

You get this vibe from the situation as well. Inherent male sexual jealousy and competitiveness? (A lot of men in general get bothered/jealous at the prospect of other men having sex with women.) Note that if they were doing this to men of a specific ethnicity it can be considered genocide under international law - under some doctrines the long term seperation of men and women can be considered a form of genocide.
6.16.2007 3:14am
Lincoln (www):
3 years? Pftttttttttt..... I'm serving a life sentence.
6.16.2007 3:16am
Nathan_M (mail):
The man apparently assaulted his ex-girlfriend, tried to prevent her from calling 911, and then stabbed himself in the neck when the police arrived. I have no idea whether, in general, men or women handle rejection better, but I doubt many people of either sex behave more pathologically than this.

As for the legality in Canada, I'd love to see this go to the Ontario Court of Appeal, although it probably won't be appealed that far. I think there is a real question about the constitutionality of the order. (The B.C. Court of Appeal has held that, absent extraordinary circumstances, a term of a probation order requiring psychiatric treatment violates the Charter, but aside from that particular issue there's very little jurisprudence on the constitutionality of probation orders. I can see an argument that this order violates s. 2(d) (freedom of association) and s. 7 (security of the person).)

Another possible issue is that the terms of a probation order cannot be punitive, only rehabilitative. I expect this order would be found to be rehabilitative, but there are undoubtedly punitive aspects to it, so that could be an issue.

But unfortunately for interested lawyers, I expect it's more likely the offender will apply to have the probation order varied than that he'll appeal.
6.16.2007 3:26am
Ryan Frank (mail):
My reaction was more, why are they letting this guy out of jail already?

According to the news piece, he not only assualted the woman, he cut the phone line to prevent her from calling for help, that degree of premeditation is scary, and the guy really should've been locked up for longer than the 4 months of so he got.
6.16.2007 3:28am
Jay Myers:
Kendall:

That actually strikes me as an interesting (though most likely meaningless) distinction. Is it somehow less clear that you can bar people from sexual relations with the same sex?

Well the authorities do tend to seem uninterested in preventing inmates from having same-sex relations among themselves.

If the judge really wanted to keep Cranley from having a girlfriend then he should have ordered Cranley to read comics and play role-playing games during his probation. That's always worked for me.
6.16.2007 3:48am
Nathan_M (mail):

According to the news piece, he not only assualted the woman, he cut the phone line to prevent her from calling for help, that degree of premeditation is scary, and the guy really should've been locked up for longer than the 4 months of so he got.

Judges usually give two for one credit for time served, so he "got" almost ten months. It seems the victim wasn't seriously injured. Unless he has criminal record for violence, or there were aggravating factors in addition to the assault on a partner, a sentence of less than 10 months isn't at all surprising. Remember, our incarceration rate, despite being one of the highest in the western world, is about 20% of the American rate.
6.16.2007 3:48am
Dave Wangen (mail):

Given the fact that the, "don't ask, don't tell" policy hasn't been overturned, I'd say the answer is yes.


Note the problem is not "Don't ask, don't tell". The problem is UCMJ, Article 125.
6.16.2007 4:56am
Kendall:
I think you miss his point Dave. DADT wouldn't be necessary if they felt Article 125 covers sodomy between heterosexual and homosexuals. DADT provides for the specific circumstances under which a person who is an announced homosexual may be discharged (but only if they admit it or there is sufficient "plain sight" evidence to that effect, with allegedly no pursuit, though that isn't followed). Therefore if it was felt that UCMJ covered gays sufficiently then DADT wouldn't be necessary.
6.16.2007 5:33am
Kendall:
Second sentence should read "DADT wouldn't be necessary if Article 125, which covers sodomy between heterosexual and/or homosexual partners sufficiently dealt with homosexuality from the military (and Congress's) perspective."
6.16.2007 5:35am
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

Ya gotta love these common law countries... Personally, I rather like living in a country where penalties like this can't simply be made up by a judge just because it seems right.
6.16.2007 9:14am
Mr_Thorne (mail) (www):
RE: "I don't know Canadian law, so I can't comment on that. In America, it is pretty clear that the law can bar people who were convicted of a crime from having sexual relationships with a member of the opposite sex . . . ."


Where is this Canada you mention? In Europe? Africa? Asia?
6.16.2007 1:36pm
Henri Le Compte (mail):
Do you think I could find a judge to order me to get a girlfriend? I get kinda grumpy living by myself. Maybe he could also order me to do more sit-ups, eat more vegetables.

Judges! Is there anything they can't do?
6.16.2007 2:11pm
triticale (mail) (www):
So in accordance with the judge's orders he starts playing for the other team. Three years from now some twink is going to get slashed for rejecting him.
6.16.2007 3:12pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Nathan_M-

The man apparently assaulted his ex-girlfriend, tried to prevent her from calling 911, and then stabbed himself in the neck when the police arrived. I have no idea whether, in general, men or women handle rejection better, but I doubt many people of either sex behave more pathologically than this.

Trust me - idiots and their families can get much more pathological than this.
6.16.2007 5:10pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
triticale-

So in accordance with the judge's orders he starts playing for the other team. Three years from now some twink is going to get slashed for rejecting him.

Something tells me that sexual orientation can't be ordered with a goofy judicial order. And if some idiot judge tried to force it that would be something called rape. And of course in America ordering rape and trying to order sexual orientation changes isn't something judges do normally in the course of employment (since its a violent criminal act), therefore judicial immunity does not apply.

But you are right the order is also prejudiced towards gays' interests in several ways. It implies that they deserve less protection and it also implies that sexual orientation can be ordered, decided, or otherwise cheapened and devalued by the state.
6.16.2007 5:19pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
In America, it is pretty clear that the law can bar people ... from having sexual relationships ... that's what happens to prisoners.... The question would be whether the law can impose such a requirement as a condition of probation; the test for that (rational relationship to a legitimate penological purpose) leaves the judge a lot of discretion, and I'd be inclined to say that this condition is rationally related to the protection of the public.

I thought that the US law was clear that it can not bar people, even prisoners, from marrying. I'll let you lawyers be more careful, but I'm finding one journal article that mentions Turner v. Safley finding marriage to be a fundamental right and subject to strict scrutiny. (In the context that Goodrich didn't use that reasoning, while Loving did.)

I wonder if it is the case that you can't prohibit marriage, if that also means you can't prohibit romantic relationships which generally precede and are necessary for marriage.

Does "that's what happens to prisoners" demonstrate much of anything? Some regulations are necessary to safety, order and discipline within the context of a prison, but have very little basis outside a prison.
6.16.2007 6:18pm
Nathan_M (mail):
martinned, what do you mean by "Ya gotta love these common law countries... Personally, I rather like living in a country where penalties like this can't simply be made up by a judge just because it seems right"?

I'm not very familiar with civil law systems, but do those judges typically not have any discretion in probation orders?

This order wasn't made under any common law authority. Canada has abolished all common law offences, and probation orders are governed by statute -- this order was made under para. 732.1(3)(h) of the Criminal Code.
6.16.2007 6:20pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
One thing to keep in mind with regard to Canadian constitutional law is that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is the approximate equivalent of the Bill of Rights, only dates to 1982. That's not to say that there were no such notions prior to 1982, but in effect there were only British-style notions of fair play and things like the Magna Carta, not a specific set of written provisions. In addition to the fact that the Charter has been in existence for only a quarter-century, Canada has only one tenth the population of the US, and therefore many fewer court cases. As a result, Canadian jurisprudence in this area is less fully developed than in the United States.
6.16.2007 8:25pm
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

@Nathan_M: I did not mean to imply that this order was made based on any Common Law authority, but rather than in Common Law countries, judges tend to have more freedom to fashion orders, even when they're acting under statutory authority. Over here, I don't think such a thing would be possible. AFAIK, the whole concept of probation is pretty much unknown; once you're out of prison, you've paid your debt to society.

BTW, I forgot to mention in my previous comment that there is a recent US ruling on a similar issue. In US v Voelker, the (federal) district court gave a defendant who pled guilty of various child pornography charges a lifetime ban on using computers, generally, and the internet in particular. That order was overturned on appeal to the 3rd circuit on June 5, for lacking "care in ensuring the proper nexus between sentence, offense, and offender", whatever that means. (Case no. 05-2858)
6.18.2007 4:38am
hey (mail):
Canadian Criminal Law is a travesty. The judiciary is an adjunt of the defence bar and has created ridiculous concepts like the 2 for 1 credit. Sentences are insanely low ("life" is a max of 20 years w/o parole) and consecutive sentences are treated as anathema. Just sentences would tend to be 10x what is currently handed down (20 years minimum for a rape, where now 2 years is a HUGE sentence).

Martinned: Overturning the ban on using the Internet looks to be appropriate, actually. Given the centrality of the internet and computers to an ever increasing proportion of daily essentials , the order would be incapacitating. Much better to throw him in jail for life, or (much better idea) shoot him, rather than set an offender free but make it impossible to actually function.
6.18.2007 3:54pm
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

I don't think I expressed any dissatisfaction with the 3rd circuit's ruling. I actually agree, it's a good decision.

As for the American perspective on what constitutes a reasonable punishment, I don't think this is the time or the place for me to express my (lefty liberal European treehugger) opinions on the point.
6.19.2007 9:03am