Transcript: Women in Criminal Law | Apr 12, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and checked blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Women in criminal law. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says THE AMERICAN JUSTICE
RUTH BADER GINSBERG WAS ONCE
ASKED, "WHEN WILL THERE BE
ENOUGH WOMEN ON THE SUPREME COURT?"
HER ANSWER:
"WHEN THERE ARE NINE."
RBG CONFESSES PEOPLE ARE SHOCKED
TO HEAR THAT ANSWER, BUT THEN
SHE ADDS: "THERE WERE ALWAYS
NINE MEN, AND NOBODY EVER RAISED
A QUESTION ABOUT THAT."
FORTUNATELY, THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
IS NO LONGER THE OLD BOYS CLUB
IT ONCE WAS.
A NEW BOOK CHRONICLES SOME OF
THE CHANGES TO THAT CLUB AS 18
WOMEN SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES
IN: "WOMEN IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE:
TRUE CASES BY AND ABOUT CANADIAN
WOMEN AND THE LAW."

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a picture of a statue of a cloaked woman against a pale blue background.

Steve continues AND IT BRINGS:
JENNIFER BRISCOE, FORMERLY FROM
THE PUBLIC PROSECUTION SERVICE
OF CANADA, NOW A SOLE PRACTITIONER...

Jennifer is in her sixties, with blond hair in a bob. She's wearing a black blouse and a silver chain necklace.

Steve continues AND JILL PRESSER, CRIMINAL
DEFENSE LAWYER WITH PRESSER
BARRISTERS, TO OUR STUDIO.

Jill is in her early forties, with long wavy chestnut hair. She's wearing a lavender blazer over a printed white blouse.

Steve continues NICE TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE.

Jill says NICE TO BE HERE, STEVE.

Steve says NOW, IF WE WERE
TALKING ABOUT THE CANADIAN
JUSTICE SYSTEM SAY 50 YEARS AGO,
CHANCES ARE YOU TWO WOULD BE
MEN, AND CHANCES ARE WE WOULD BE
COMPLAINING ABOUT THE FACT THAT
THERE ARE PROBABLY ONLY ONE OR
TWO WOMEN IN YOUR OFFICE WHO
DARE TO JOIN THE OLD BOYS CLUB.
HOW DO YOU THINK... JILL, START
US OFF HERE... HOW DO YOU THINK
THE CANADIAN JUSTICE SYSTEM IS
DIFFERENT BECAUSE IT IS NOW
POPULATED WITH MANY MORE FEMALE
LAWYERS AND JUDGES?

The caption changes to "Jill Presser. Criminal Defence Lawyer."
Then, it changes again to "No longer an old boys' club."

Jill says SO, STEVE, I WOULD TO START
OFF DISAGREE WITH THE FACT THAT
THERE WOULD EVEN BE TWO WOMEN IN
AN OFFICE OF CRIMINAL DEFENCE
LAWYERS 50 YEARS AGO.

Steve says NOT EVEN THAT MANY?

Jill says MAYBE IN SUPPORTING ROLES,
SUPPORT STAFF, RECEPTIONIST, BUT
NOT AS LAWYERS.
SO 50 YEARS AGO THERE WERE
PROBABLY NONE AT ALL.
WHAT'S DIFFERENT NOW IS THAT WE
DO HAVE MANY MORE WOMEN IN THE
CRIMINAL BAR.
WE KNOW THAT MEN AND WOMEN ENTER
OUR BAR IN ROUGHLY EQUAL NUMBERS
AND REMAIN ROUGHLY IN EQUAL
NUMBERS FOR THE FIRST FIVE YEARS
OF PRACTICE, BUT AFTER THAT,
WOMEN DROP OFF WHEN IT'S TIME TO
HAVE CHILDREN.
THEY LEAVE THE PRACTICE OF
CRIMINAL DEFENCE, AND THEY DON'T
COME BACK.

Steve says SO ONE OF THE
THINGS, JENNIFER, WE'VE GOT TO
FIGURE OUT, IS HOW TO GET THEM TO STAY?

The caption changes to "Jennifer Briscoe. Criminal Lawyer."

Jennifer says HOW TO GET THEM TO STAY IS A PROBLEM.
WE SEE AT TIMES THAT PEOPLE
LEAVE PRIVATE PRACTICE TO JOIN
THE CROWN'S OFFICE BECAUSE
THAT'S A PLACE WHERE THERE SEEMS
TO BE MORE OF A LIFE BALANCE
ALONG WITH THE CAREER.
SO THAT'S ONE OF THE AVENUES
THAT PEOPLE SEEM TO SEEK OUT.
BUT IT IS A PROBLEM.
IT'S AN ONGOING PROBLEM.
THE LAW SOCIETY IS TRYING TO
DEAL WITH IT AS WELL.

Steve says YOU TWO OBVIOUSLY
WROTE TWO OF THE CHAPTERS IN
THIS BOOK, "WOMEN IN CRIMINAL
JUSTICE," AND I WANT TO JUST
SORT OF TAP INTO YOUR RESPECTIVE
EXPERIENCES HERE.
JENNIFER, I'M GOING TO START
WITH YOU.
SO, JILL, GET COMFORTABLE FOR A
SECOND HERE.
I WAS REALLY FASCINATED BY THE
FACT THAT FOR MANY, MANY, MANY
YEARS IN A ROW NOW, YOU HAVE
GONE TO THE FAR NORTH OF THIS
COUNTRY TO DO YOUR THING.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START TO DO THAT?

Jennifer says I STARTED TO DO THAT IN THE
LATE '80s.
I WAS ENCOURAGED GREATLY BY THE
PEOPLE THAT I WORKED WITH TO DO
IT, AND I WAS FASCINATED BY, OF
COURSE, OUR COUNTRY AND HOW VAST
IT IS AND HOW DIFFERENT THE
NORTH WAS.

Steve says BECAUSE YOU'RE FROM
DOWN HERE.

Jennifer says I GREW UP IN MONTREAL, LIVED
IN OTTAWA, LIVED IN TORONTO,
PRACTISED IN ALL OF THOSE THREE
PLACES.

Steve says WHAT WAS YOUR JOB
SUPPOSED TO BE GOING UP THERE?

The caption changes to "Fly-in Justice in the north."

Jennifer says MY JOB INITIALLY WAS TO GO
OUT TO WHITEHORSE THE FIRST TIME
AND IT WAS TO DO A TRIAL, AND I
BELIEVE I WAS BEING CALLED UPON
BECAUSE I WAS BILINGUAL.
SO I WENT OUT TO DO A FRENCH
JURY TRIAL.

Steve says WERE YOU THE CROWN?

The caption changes to "Jennifer Briscoe. Contributor, 'Women in criminal justice.'"

Jennifer says I WAS THE CROWN.
AND I WAS CALLED BACK ON SEVERAL
OCCASIONS TO DO OTHER CASES, AND
THEN I HAD THIS OPPORTUNITY TO
GO TO OLD CROW.
THEY NEEDED SOMEBODY TO FLY IN
TO THAT COMMUNITY, AND I JUMPED
AT IT, BECAUSE WHILE I THOUGHT
WHITEHORSE WAS FANTASTIC
EXPERIENCE, GOING THAT MUCH
FARTHER NORTH WAS QUITE
ASTOUNDING.

Steve says HOW MUCH FURTHER
NORTH IS THAT?

Jennifer says WELL, IT'S A GOOD 800
KILOMETRES.
IT'S A COUPLE OF HOURS IN A VERY
SMALL, SCARY PLANE, NORTH OF
WHERE I WAS, TO WHAT WAS A PLACE
THAT I COULD NOT DRIVE HOME
FROM.

Steve says AND HOW MANY YEARS
CONSECUTIVELY DID YOU CONTINUE
TO GO UP NORTH?

Jennifer says I DID IT THROUGHOUT MY CAREER.

Steve says SO 30 YEARS.

Jennifer says THIRTY YEARS.

Steve says HOW DIFFERENT DID
THE COURTROOM UP THERE LOOK FROM
ONE THAT YOU WOULD HAVE
PRACTISED IN DOWN HERE?

Jennifer says WELL, THERE IS NO REAL
COURTROOM.
SO THE FIRST ONE THAT I WENT TO
AT OLD CROW WAS ESSENTIALLY A
COMMUNITY CENTRE.
I HAD THE PHOTOS OF ALL THE
ELDERS AROUND US, AND IT WAS
JUST PUT TOGETHER.
SO WE ARRIVE, THE JUDGE, THE
TRANSLATOR, THE CLERK, THE
DEFENCE COUNSEL, AND WE SET UP
IN THERE, AND THEN BEGINS THE
PROCESS OF STARTING TO CALL THE
LIST AND THEN GOING ON TO
PROCEED TO DO TRIALS.
SO IT'S VERY DIFFERENT.
IT'S NOT SET UP, IN OTHER WORDS.

Steve says HAVE YOU EVER HAD A
CASE IN TORONTO WHERE SOMEBODY
BROKE INTO THE COURTROOM,
ANNOUNCED THAT SOMEBODY HAD
TIPPED THEIR CANOE IN LAKE
ONTARIO, HAVE EVERYBODY RUSH OUT
OF THE COURTROOM IN ORDER TO
HELP SAVE THAT PERSON?

Jennifer says NO, I CAN'T SAY THAT...

Steve says BUT THAT DID HAPPEN IN THE NORTH?

Jennifer says IT DID.
I'VE HAD PEOPLE JUMP OUT OF THE
BOX AND COME RUNNING EITHER AT A
JUDGE OR CROWN OR CROWN, BUT
I'VE NEVER HAD A SCENARIO LIKE THAT.

Steve says WAS IT UNUSUAL FOR A
FAMILY... YOU HAD TO DEAL WITH
OBVIOUSLY SOME VERY, VERY TOUGH CASES.
WAS IT UNUSUAL FOR A FAMILY TO
REFUSE TO TESTIFY AGAINST, SAY,
AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND OR FATHER
BECAUSE, IF THEY SUCCESSFULLY
PROSECUTED HIM AND HE ENDED UP
IN JAIL, THE FAMILY WOULD NO
LONGER EAT BECAUSE THERE WAS
YOUR HUNTER?

Jennifer says THAT WAS QUITE COMMON AND
THAT IS QUITE COMMON, BECAUSE
THEY DO LIVE OFF... MANY PEOPLE
DO LIVE OFF THE LAND.
IT'S SUPPLEMENTED OF COURSE WITH
INCOME AND PURCHASING SOME FOOD,
BUT FOR THE MOST PART, PEOPLE
ARE HUNTING AND FISHING.
SO WITHOUT THAT PERSON, IT IS
VERY PROBLEMATIC.
SO THEY RESIST TESTIFYING, AND
IT'S A DIFFICULT JOB FOR THE
CROWN TO ASSESS HOW TO PROCEED
IN THOSE CASES.

Steve says I WAS GOING TO ASK
YOU: HOW DO YOU HANDLE THAT?
ON THE ONE HAND, YOU KNOW, YOU
WANT JUSTICE.

Jennifer says YOU WANT JUSTICE.

Steve says ON THE OTHER HAND,
IF THE FAMILY DOESN'T EAT
ANYMORE BECAUSE THE HUSBAND IS
IN JAIL...

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Jennifer says THAT IS A PROBLEM.
SO IN THOSE INSTANCES, OBVIOUSLY
IT DEPENDS ON THE KINDS OF
INJURIES THAT YOU'VE GOT, AND
YOU ALSO ARE LOOKING TO SEE WHAT
KIND OF SUPPORT THERE IS FOR THE
FEMALE IN THE COMMUNITY, AND
WHEN I STARTED OUT, WE DIDN'T
HAVE COURT WORKERS.
BUT AS WE MOVED ALONG, WE DID
HAVE VICTIMS SERVICES.
SO YOU RELY HEAVILY ON THOSE
INDIVIDUALS TO FIGURE OUT,
BECAUSE THEY ARE FROM THE
COMMUNITIES, WHO IS SAFE, WHO
ISN'T, WHAT CASES YOU CAN
NEGOTIATE SOME SORT OF AGREEMENT
BETWEEN THE PARTIES AND WHICH
ONES HAVE TO BE PROSECUTED.

Steve says I WANT TO READ AN
EXCERPT FROM YOUR CHAPTER HERE,
OKAY? SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD?
LET'S BRING THE GRAPHIC UP.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Respect your elders." The quote reads "Elders are the core of each community there. They embody, preserve, and enhance the culture and important traditions. They are the key to any acceptance of a circuit court. Learning to respect them enhances respect for the rule of law being viable in their communities. I can't help but think of how often in criminal justice 'in the south' -in the big cities- the demonstrative absence of an 'Elder' results in the missing compass in many lives."
Quoted from Jennifer Briscoe, "Women in criminal justice." 2018.

Steve says IS THAT SOMETHING YOU
THINK WE COULD DO SOMETHING
ABOUT HERE IN THE SOUTH?

Jennifer says I DO.
I THINK THAT PEOPLE SHUN IN SOME
WAYS THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM.
THEY'RE AFRAID OF IT.
YOU DO HAVE FAMILIES THAT GATHER
AND WHO DO COME AND SUPPORT A
MEMBER OF THEIR FAMILY, BUT YOU
DON'T HAVE THAT SAME THING THAT
YOU HAVE IN THE NORTH.
YOU DON'T HAVE THE ELDERS THAT
COME AND PASS ON THEIR WISDOM
AND SUGGEST A MORE APPROPRIATE
COURSE OF ACTION FOR PEOPLE, AND
I THINK THAT KIND OF SUPPORT IS
REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT AS PART
OF THE PROCESS OF IMPROVING, AS
OPPOSED TO SIMPLY SETTING OUT TO
PUNISH INDIVIDUALS BECAUSE YOU
NEED THE REHABILITATION.
YOU WANT PEOPLE TO BE
FUNCTIONING PROPERLY IN SOCIETY.
YOU WANT THEM TO BE ABLE TO GO
BACK TO THEIR FAMILIES.
SO THE USE OF ELDERS IN THE
NORTH IS REALLY HELPFUL.
SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES IS
MISSING HERE, AND I CERTAINLY
HAD MY SHARE OF EXPERIENCES
DOING LARGE CASES WITH GUNS AND
GANGS WHERE YOU LOOKED OUT IN
THE COURTROOM AND SAW NO ONE.
NO ONE TO SUPPORT SOME VERY
YOUNG MALES WHO MIGHT HAVE
CHOSEN A DIFFERENT PATH OR MIGHT
HAVE SOME FUTURE IF THERE WAS
THAT KIND OF SUPPORT.

Steve says DO FIRST NATIONS
ELDERS HERE IN THE SOUTH PLAY
THAT KIND OF A ROLE HERE IN THE SOUTH?

Jennifer says NOT QUITE THE SAME WAY.
THERE ARE SERVICES AVAILABLE,
THERE'S A GLADUE COURT.
SO THERE ARE SPECIALIZED COURTS
IN TORONTO THAT DEAL WITH
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND THEY HAVE
THE SUPPORT THAT WAY BUT IT
DOESN'T PLAY OUT QUITE THE SAME
WAY IT DOES IN THE NORTH.

Steve says IN THE BOOK YOU
DESCRIBED A COURT SYSTEM THAT IS
VERY MUCH INTEGRATED INTO
EVERYDAY LIFE UP THERE IN A WAY
IT ISN'T HERE.
CAN YOU HELP US UNDERSTAND THAT BETTER?

Jennifer says IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, SOME
OF THE COMMUNITIES I WENT INTO
WERE POSSIBLY UP TO A THOUSAND
PEOPLE, LET'S SAY.
THOSE INDIVIDUALS, ONE OR TWO OR
20 PEOPLE WHO HAPPEN TO BE ON
THE DOCKET WHO ARE CHARGED WITH
OFFENCES NEED TO BE ABLE TO STAY
IN THAT COMMUNITY.
YOU DON'T WANT TO BE REMOVING
THEM FROM THE COMMUNITY.
SO THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE
COMMUNITY, THEIR INVOLVEMENT AND
KNOWING THAT THAT PERSON IS
GOING TO STAY WITHIN THE
COMMUNITY IS REALLY IMPORTANT.
YOU DON'T GET THAT SAME SENSE
WHEN YOU'RE IN A CITY WITH
3 MILLION PEOPLE THAT THE
SIGNIFICANCE OF EACH INDIVIDUAL
IS QUITE AS IMPORTANT, ALTHOUGH
EVERYBODY'S LIFE IS IMPORTANT,
OBVIOUSLY.

Steve says JUST FINALLY, WHAT
HAVE YOU GOT ON YOUR MANTLE AT HOME?

Jennifer says I HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DRUM THAT
WAS MADE AND IT'S MY SYMBOL FOR
JUSTICE IN THE NORTH, AS I SAY
IN THE BOOK, IT'S A SYMBOL OF
DRUMMING AND SINGING WHICH IS
VERY MUCH AN EXPERIENCE THAT I
HAD IN THE NORTH, OF WATCHING
THAT, OF SHARING THAT TRADITION,
AND, YEAH, LOVELY TO LOOK AT.

Steve says OKAY.
JENNIFER, YOU GET COMFORTABLE.
NOW, JILL, YOU AND I ARE GOING
TO TALK ABOUT YOUR CHAPTER.
AND I WANT TO START WITH A CASE
THAT IS, YOU KNOW, INTEGRAL TO
THE CHAPTER YOU DESCRIBED.
A GUY BY THE NAME OF JOSH
DAHOLIS.
IS THAT THE NAME?
TELL US ABOUT THAT CASE.

Jill says THAT WAS A CASE THAT
MR. DAHOLIS WHO WAS AN
H.I.V.-POSITIVE GAY MAN WAS
CHARGED WITH SOME AGGRAVATED
SEXUAL ASSAULTS COMING OUT OF
THE BATHHOUSE SCENE IN TORONTO.
HE WAS TRIED IN TORONTO IN FRONT
OF A JURY, AND HE... IT WAS, IN
MY OPINION, AN EXTREMELY UNFAIR
TRIAL...

Steve says THEY FOUND HIM GUILTY.

The caption changes to "Motherhood, justice, and guilt."

Jill says THEY DID FIND HIM GUILTY, AND
SUBSEQUENT TO HIS CONVICTION, IT
BECAME EVIDENT THAT THE JURY
FOREMAN WENT ON RADIO AND MADE A
BUNCH OF HOMOPHOBIC JOKES A
NUMBER OF TIMES, BOTH BEFORE AND
AFTER CONVICTION.

Steve says ON A SORT OF A SHOCK
JOCK RADIO MORNING SHOW.

Jill says EXACTLY.

Steve says SO YOU HEARD THIS
TAPE AND YOU HEARD THE
HOMOPHOBIC SLURS THAT WERE A
PART OF THIS ROUTINE.

Jill says CORRECT.

Steve says SO WHAT DID THAT
PROMPT YOU TO DO?

Jill says I REPRESENTED MR. DAHOLIS ON
AN APPEAL OF HIS CONVICTION TO
THE COURT OF APPEAL FOR ONTARIO,
AND OUR POSITION IN THAT COURT
WAS THAT THE TRIAL WAS UNFAIR,
OR APPEARED TO BE UNFAIR, BY
REASON OF HOMOPHOBIC BIAS, AND
WE ASKED THE COURT OF APPEAL TO
OVERTURN MR. DAHOLIS'S
CONVICTION ON THE BASIS OF THIS
VERY CORROSIVE, HOMOPHOBIC BIAS
IN A JUROR.

Steve says WE'RE GOING TO HOLD OFF.
I DON'T WANT TO GIVE AWAY THE
WHOLE STORY YET.
WE'LL HOLD OFF ON WHAT THE
ULTIMATE VERDICT WAS.
YOU OBVIOUSLY WANT TO REPRESENT
ALL OF YOUR CLIENTS WELL, BUT
YOU TELL US IN YOUR CHAPTER THAT
THIS PARTICULAR CASE AND THIS
PARTICULAR DEFENDANT RESONATED
WITH YOU IN A PARTICULAR WAY.
HOW COME?

Jill says HE DID.
PARTLY IT WAS BECAUSE I REALLY
WANTED TO SEE JUSTICE DONE FOR
MEMBERS OF THE LGBTQ+
COMMUNITIES IN CANADA BUT
ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I'M THE
MOTHER OF A QUEER DAUGHTER, AND
SO ISSUES AROUND BIAS AGAINST
QUEER PEOPLE IN OUR SYSTEM
REALLY RESONATE FOR ME
PERSONALLY, NOT JUST AS A LAWYER.

Steve says AS YOU WERE
PREPARING FOR THE APPEAL, YOUR
DAUGHTER, YOU TELL US, WENT
THROUGH KIND OF A TOUGH BREAK-UP.

Jill says SHE DID.

Steve says IN HER LIFE.
AND YOU FOUND YOURSELF IN THE
CLASSIC SITUATION OF NEEDING TO
PREPARE SIGNIFICANTLY FOR YOUR
CLIENT AND YET BE THERE FOR HER
KID.
AND YOU TELL US IN YOUR CHAPTER
THAT THE... I THINK YOU CALL IT
MOMMY GUILT...

Jill says YES.

Steve says THE MOMMY GUILT FOR
FEMALE CRIMINAL LAWYERS IS WAY
MORE INTENSE THAN IT IS FOR
ANYBODY ELSE.
HOW COME?

The caption changes to "Jill Presser, @JillPresser."

Jill says I THINK IT'S MORE... I MEAN,
I THINK ALL WORKING WOMEN WHO
HAVE CHILDREN DO EXPERIENCE
MOMMY GUILT.
I THINK IT'S PARTICULARLY
INTENSE FOR WOMEN CRIMINAL
LAWYERS BECAUSE OF THE INTENSITY
OF THE WORK THAT WE DO.
WE REPRESENT PEOPLE OFTEN AT THE
WORST POINT IN TIME IN THEIR
LIVES.
THEY ARE OFTEN INCREDIBLY
VULNERABLE.
WE OFTEN REPRESENT PEOPLE WHO
ARE SOCIOECONOMICALLY
DISADVANTAGED, WHO HAVE MENTAL
HEALTH ISSUES, WHO ARE
VULNERABLE IN ALL KINDS OF WAYS.
THEIR LIBERTY IS ON THE LINE.
SOMETIMES ALSO THEIR REPUTATION,
THEIR JOB, THEIR FAMILY
CONNECTIONS.
THEY NEED US VERY, VERY BADLY.
THEIR NEED IS GREAT.
AND THEREFORE THE HOURS ARE LONG
AND GRUELLING, THE WORK IS
INTENSE, THE PRESSURE IS SEVERE,
AND IT'S VERY HARD TO BALANCE
THOSE EXTRAORDINARY NEEDS OF OUR
CLIENTS WITH THE EVERYDAY NEEDS
OF RAISING CHILDREN.

Steve says AND HOW DID YOU DO IT?

Jill says WELL, PROBABLY NOT VERY WELL, STEVE.

Steve says I BET YOUR KIDS
WOULDN'T SAY THAT.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Jill says WELL, I'M NOT SURE.
IT... IT WAS A STRUGGLE TO
JUGGLE AND IT REMAINS A STRUGGLE
TO JUGGLE, ALTHOUGH BOTH OF MY
KIDS ARE TEENAGERS NOW.
I REALLY SORT OF TRIED TO DO
EVERYTHING, AND ALWAYS HAD THE
FEELING THAT I NEVER DID
ANYTHING VERY WELL.
SO I LAWYERED TO THE BEST AND
STILL LAWYER TO THE BEST OF MY
ABILITY, AND PARENTED TO THE
BEST OF MY ABILITY.
AND PROBABLY WHAT RESULTED WAS A
BIT OF A MUDDLY MESS OF DOING
EVERYTHING OKAY.

Steve says WELL, YOU WRITE IN
THE BOOK: "THE FACT THAT I HAVE
A SUPPORTIVE SPOUSE WHO IS THE
FATHER OF MY CHILDREN HAS NOT
SOLVED THESE CHALLENGES."
WHY DO YOU THINK NOT?

Jill says I THINK BECAUSE OF HOW WE'RE
SOCIALIZED. CERTAINLY PEOPLE IN OUR
GENERATION, WOMEN DO STILL TEND
TO BE PRIMARY CARE-GIVERS, EVEN
IN FAMILIES WHERE BOTH... AND
I'M TALKING ABOUT HETEROSEXUAL
FAMILIES... WHERE BOTH MOTHER,
WOMAN, AND HUSBAND, MAN, ARE
BOTH WORKING OUTSIDE THE HOME
BECAUSE OF HOW WE'VE BEEN
SOCIALIZED AND BECAUSE OF
PREVAILING SOCIAL PARADIGMS
ABOUT WHAT IT IS TO BE A WOMAN
AND WHAT IT IS TO BE A MAN,
WOMEN REMAIN PREDOMINANTLY
PRIMARY CARE-GIVERS TO CHILDREN,
AND OUR FAMILY WAS NO EXCEPTION.
OUR KIDS LOOKED TO ME FIRST
ALWAYS AND LEANED ON ME HARDEST,
ALTHOUGH BOTH OF THEIR PARENTS
WERE WORKING.

Steve says WHEN YOUR DAUGHTER
WAS FIVE YEARS OLD, SHE WROTE
OUT A PRAYER AT SCHOOL.

Jill says YES.

Steve says WHAT DID SHE PRAY FOR?

Jill says THIS WAS ACTUALLY THE YOUNGER
DAUGHTER, SO NOT THE ONE WHO IS
THE FOCUS OF THE CHAPTER.
BUT SHE WROTE OUT A PRAYER AS I
WAS ABSENT, BECAUSE I WAS
DEALING WITH AN ARREST CALL IN
THE HALLWAY OUTSIDE HER
CLASSROOM AND ALL OF HER
CLASSMATES HAD THEIR PARENTS
PRESENT.
I WAS IN THE HALL DEALING WITH
AN ARREST.
AND I CAME IN TO FIND THAT SHE
HAD WRITTEN A PRAYER THAT SAID:
DEAR GOD.
PLEASE MAKE MY MAMA WORK LESS.
I MISS HER.

Steve says AND HOW DID YOU TAKE
THAT WHEN YOU FOUND OUT?

Jill says WELL, I CRIED, BUT TRIED NOT
TO SHOW HER I WAS CRYING.
BUT IT WAS EXTRAORDINARILY PAINFUL.

Steve says YOUR OLDER DAUGHTER
ONCE TOLD YOU SHE WAS GOING TO
COMMIT A CRIME BECAUSE...

Jill says BECAUSE MAYBE THAT WAY I
WOULD PAY MORE ATTENTION TO HER,
AS I DO TO MY CLIENTS.

Steve says WHICH BEGS THE
OBVIOUS QUESTION: WHY NOT SCALE BACK?
WHY NOT WORK PART-TIME?
WHY NOT FIGURE OUT A DIFFERENT WAY?

Jill says YOU KNOW, THAT'S A REALLY
GOOD QUESTION.
THIS KIND OF WORK IS VERY...
CRIMINAL DEFENCE WORK IS VERY
HARD TO DO PART TIME.
IT'S HARD TO BE IN WITH ONE
FOOT.
IT'S ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE
YOU'RE SORT OF IN FOR A PENNY,
IN FOR A POUND, AND PART OF
THAT, STEVE, IS ABOUT THE
ECONOMICS OF THE BUSINESS.
WHEN YOU PAY LAW SOCIETY FEES
AND INSURANCE AND RENT AN OFFICE
AND HAVE AN ASSISTANT, THE
OVERHEAD IS STEEP.
AND WHEN YOU DEFEND PEOPLE
CHARGED WITH CRIMES, YOU END UP
TAKING LEGAL AID CERTIFICATES,
WHICH ARE NOT VERY LUCRATIVE.
THE MARGINS ARE SLIM.
AND IN ORDER TO COVER YOUR
OVERHEAD AND MAKE A LIVING WAGE,
YOU END UP HAVING TO DO A VOLUME
OF WORK TO SUPPORT YOURSELF AND
YOUR FAMILY THAT REALLY IS
INCOMPATIBLE WITH FAMILY LIFE.

Steve says SO THE ECONOMICS
JUST DON'T WORK?

Jill says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says TRYING TO DO IT THAT WAY.
LET'S COME FULL CIRCLE.
HOW DID THINGS WORK OUT FOR
JOSH, YOUR CLIENT?

Jill says I'M VERY PLEASED TO SAY THAT
JOSH DAHOLIS WON HIS APPEAL.
THE COURT OVERTURNED THE
CONVICTION ON THE BASIS OF THE
APPARENT HOMOPHOBIC BIAS OF THE
JUROR.
THAT COURT ORDERED A NEW TRIAL
FOR JOSH DAHOLIS, BUT THE CROWN
ELECTED NOT TO PREPROSECUTE.
SO I FEEL THERE WAS VINDICATION
FOR HIM PERSONALLY AS WELL
PERSONALLY VINDICATION FOR
LGBTQ+ PEOPLE.
THE COURT RECOGNIZED THAT
HOMOPHOBIC BIAS... EVERYTHING
WORKED OUT WELL FOR MY DAUGHTER TOO.

Steve says WELL, I THINK THAT'S
PROBABLY TRUE BECAUSE... AND WE
DIDN'T SET THIS UP AND YOU DON'T
KNOW THIS IS COMING, BUT I'M
GOING TO ASK YOU TO READ
SOMETHING HERE.

Jill says OH, MY.

Steve says YOU GOT IT IN THE
BOOK.
SHE WROTE YOU A NOTE.

Jill says SHE DID.

Steve says READ AWAY.

Jill says I'M GOING TO HAVE TO PUT ON
THE GLASSES.
"ON THE MORNING OF THE DAHOLIS
APPEAL I HAD BEEN RACKED WITH
GUILT, TORN FROM HER AS SHE
GRIEVED HER FIRST BIG
HEARTBREAK, AND PREPPING FOR
THIS BIG APPEAL, AND ON THE
MORNING OF THAT APPEAL, SHE
HANDED ME A NOTE, AND THE NOTE
SAID...

She reads
DEAR MAMA: GOOD LUCK IN
COURT TODAY AND EVERY OTHER DAY.
I KNOW YOU ARE WORKING TO MAKE
THIS COUNTRY A MORE JUST PLACE.
I'M PROUD OF YOU, AND HOPE TO DO
SOMETHING AS MEANINGFUL WITH MY
LIFE AS YOU'VE DONE WITH YOURS.
I LOVE YOU."

She continues
AND I PUT THAT NOTE IN THE
POCKET OF MY COURT ROBES... YOU
KNOW, WE WEAR ROBES AND VESTS.
IT'S IN MY WAISTCOAT POCKET, AND
IT IS STILL THERE WITH ME.
SO EVERY TIME I GO TO COURT, I
HAVE HER NOTE AND HER SENTIMENTS
WITH ME TO REMIND ME THAT SHE
AND MY OTHER DAUGHTER ARE WITH
ME AND THE LESSONS THAT I'VE
LEARNED AS A MOTHER ENRICH AND
ENHANCE ME AS A LAWYER, AND
MAYBE VICE VERSA.

Steve says WHEN YOU READ THAT
NOTE FOR THE FIRST TIME, HOW DID
YOU REACT?

Jill says I SEEM TO BE TALKING A LOT
ABOUT CRYING, BUT I GUESS I DO
DO A LOT OF CRYING.
I CRIED AND I WAS DELIGHTED AND
RELIEVED.

Steve says I MEAN, IF YOU'RE A
PARENT, IT DOESN'T GET BETTER
THAN THAT.

Jill says NOPE.
SURE DOESN'T.

Steve says WELL, OKAY.
JENNIFER, THAT STORY... MUCH OF
WHAT JILL TALKED ABOUT THERE
POINTS TO WHETHER IT IS ACTUALLY
POSSIBLE FOR THE LEGAL
PROFESSION, FOR THE JUSTICE
SYSTEM, TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY
AND ACCOMMODATE PEOPLE WHO HAVE,
YOU KNOW, OTHER NEEDS BESIDES
JUST PUTTING IN 80 OR 90 HOURS A
WEEK ON THE JOB, TO LEAD MORE
BALANCED LIVES SO FEWER WOMEN
LEAVE THE PROFESSION.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE THAT MISSION?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Jennifer says IT'S A TOUGH BALANCE.
I THINK BACK ON THE
OPPORTUNITIES I WAS GIVEN AND I
RECALL WHEN I WAS TRANSFERRING
HERE TO TORONTO FROM MONTREAL, I
CAME AND I HAD A DIRECTOR WHO IS
A FEMALE LAWYER.
SHE WAS VERY SUPPORTIVE OF
PEOPLE THAT HAD FAMILIES...
THAT'S NOT TO SAY THAT HER
PREDECESSOR HADN'T BEEN, BUT IT
SEEMED PARTICULAR TO HER.
AND AT ONE POINT SHE APPROACHED
ME ABOUT TAKING ON THE JOB OF
BEING THE TEAM LEADER, MANAGER,
AT OLD CITY HALL, WHICH AT THE
TIME WAS THE LARGEST INTAKE
COURT IN CANADA.
AND I REMEMBER FEELING
OVERWHELMED THINKING I'M JUST
MAKING ENDS MEET RAISING A
FAMILY, I HAVE A HOUSE FULL OF
KIDS, AND I'M WORKING REALLY
HARD.
HOW AM I GOING TO TAKE THAT ON?
AND I REMEMBER SAYING TO HER, I
DON'T HAVE ANY MANAGEMENT
EXPERIENCE.
I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU WOULD ASK
ME TO DO THAT SORT OF THING.
I'M HONOURED, BUT I'M NOT SURE I
CAN DO IT.
AND SHE SAID, WELL, OF COURSE
YOU DO.
YOU MANAGE ALL THOSE KIDS AND
YOU'VE GOT THAT HOUSE ALL
ORGANIZED.
YOU CAN TAKE THIS JOB ON.
YOU DON'T NEED ANYTHING MORE
THAN THAT.
AND SHE DID PROVIDE THE SUPPORT
THAT I NEEDED.
BUT I WENT IN WITH THAT AS A
CAVEAT, THAT THE PRIORITY FOR
ME, WHILE IT WAS TO DO MY JOB...
LIKE JILL, IT'S NOT QUITE THE
SAME WHEN YOU'RE AT THE CROWN'S
OFFICE, BUT YOU DO HAVE AN
INCREDIBLE VOLUME OF WORK AND
OFTEN YOU'RE GIVEN YOUR TRIAL
BRIEF AND YOU MIGHT HAVE A TON,
A STACK OF THEM, AND YOU HAVE TO
HAVE THEM READY FOR THE NEXT
DAY.
SO IT IS A LITTLE BIT OF A
FIGHT, AND YOU DO HAVE TO... YOU
HAVE TO AT TIMES SCALE BACK.
BUT IT'S SOMETHING YOU'VE GOT TO
NEGOTIATE WITH YOUR EMPLOYER.
OBVIOUSLY IN PRIVATE PRACTICE,
WE'VE HEARD FROM JILL HOW IT'S
REALLY NOT FEASIBLE.
SO IT IS PROBLEMATIC FOR PEOPLE,
BUT I THINK IF YOU HAVE MEMBERS
OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
WHO ARE MORE SENSITIVE TO THE
ISSUE THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO FIND A
BALANCE, THERE'S A LITTLE MORE
ACCEPTANCE.
CERTAINLY IF I HAD TRIED AT THE
OUTSET OF MY PRACTICE TO DO
SOMETHING LIKE, SAY TO A
JUDGE, "I'M SORRY, I'M NOT GOING
TO BE AVAILABLE UNTIL 10:30 OR
11:00 TOMORROW BECAUSE I'VE GOT
AN APPOINTMENT FOR A CHILD OR
I'VE GOT SOME NEED TO ATTEND TO
IN THE FAMILY," IT WOULD NOT
HAVE GONE OVER.
IN FACT, I CAN THINK OF HAVING
COME BACK AS A YOUNG LAWYER TO
MY OFFICE AND HAVING MY MANAGER
SAY, "GEE, I GOT A CALL FROM A
TRIAL LAWYER TODAY.
HE WANTED ME TO PASS ON THIS
MESSAGE.
THE GIRL THAT WAS IN COURT
TODAY, CAN YOU TELL HER NOT TO
WEAR A PANTSUIT BEFORE ME
AGAIN?"
SO ARCHAIC, OLD FASHIONED...

Steve says HOW LONG AGO WAS THAT?

Jennifer says THIRTY YEARS AGO.

Steve says YOU WOULD NOT HEAR THAT TODAY.

Jennifer says YOU WOULD NOT HEAR THAT TODAY.

Steve says OKAY.

Jennifer says SO THE PROFESSION HAS LEARNED
TO BE A LITTLE BIT MORE
SENSITIVE, AND I THINK PEOPLE DO
HAVE TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE, BUT
THEN WE ALSO, BY THE SAME TOKEN,
HAVE MALES WHO ARE TENDING TO
TAKE ON GREATER RESPONSIBILITY
IN THE HOME.

Steve says JILL, LET ME ASK
YOU... IF YOU USED THAT LINE
TODAY LET'S SAY IN FRONT OF A
FEMALE JUDGE WHO MAYBE RAISED A
FAMILY OF HER OWN, AND COULD YOU
SAY TO A FEMALE JUDGE TODAY, "I
NEED TOMORROW'S TRIAL TO START
AN HOUR LATE BECAUSE I HAVE TO
TAKE MY KID TO THE EYE DOCTOR."
COULD YOU DO THAT?

The caption changes to "A retention problem?"

Jill says I DON'T THINK SO.
I DON'T THINK SO.
IN FACT, I'VE SEEN CASES THAT
I'VE WORKED ON ON APPEAL WHERE
THE TRIAL LAWYER HAD CHILD CARE
ISSUES AND JUST DIDN'T WANT
COURT TO START EARLY, DIDN'T
WANT COURT TO START AT 8:30, AND
THE TRIAL JUDGE SAID NO.

Steve says MAN OR A WOMAN?

Jill says MAN, A MALE JUDGE.

Steve says MALE JUDGE IN THAT CASE.

Jill says YEAH.

Steve says IF THERE HAD BEEN A
FEMALE JUDGE, MIGHT HAVE HAVE
BEEN MORE UNDERSTANDING?

Jill says MAYBE.

Steve says AND MAYBE NOT.

Jill says MAYBE NOT.

Jennifer says I THINK IT DEPENDS.
IT'S A PERSONALITY QUESTION TOO.
I THINK THAT OVER TIME THERE'S
BEEN A CHANGE, AN ATTITUDINAL
CHANGE ABOUT THAT AND I THINK
THERE'S A FAIR DEGREE OF...
YOU'VE GOT TO DIG IN, YOU REALLY
HAVE TO DIG IN AND SAY, THIS IS
WHAT I'VE GOT TO DO.
I CAN'T BE HERE UNTIL THAT TIME.

Steve says IS THERE ONE IDEA
YOU COULD SHARE THAT WOULD MAKE
THIS PROFESSION LESS HOSTILE, IF
YOU LIKE, TO WOMEN WHO WANT TO
STAY IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL?
IS THERE AN IDEA OUT THERE THAT
HAS SOME CONSENSUS?

Jill says ASIDE FROM BETTER FUNDING OF
THE LEGAL AID PLAN, I WOULD SAY
THAT ALL CRIMINAL LAWYERS NEED
TO THINK ABOUT MAKING WOMEN FEEL
WELCOME, AND THAT MEANS MEN AND
WOMEN, SENIOR MEN AND SENIOR
WOMEN, NEED TO OFFER MENTORSHIP,
THEY NEED TO THINK ABOUT
REFERRING CASES TO WOMEN, NOT
JUST TO MEN, OFFERING SUPPORT
AND GENERALLY BEING AWARE OF
CASUAL SEXIST COMMENTS OR CASUAL
HARASSING COMMENTS SO THAT WOMEN
FEEL MORE WELCOME IN THE
COURTROOM AND THE SYSTEM.

The caption changes to "Producer: Steve Paikin, @spaikin."

Steve says GOTCHA.
WELL, WE HOPE WE HAVE WHETTED
THE PUBLIC'S APPETITE FOR WHAT
YOU TWO DO.
THESE ARE BUT TWO OF 18 STORIES
IN A BOOK CALLED: "WOMEN IN
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: TRUE CASES BY
AND ABOUT CANADIAN WOMEN AND THE
LAW." JENNIFER BRISCOE AND
JILL PRESSER, GOOD OF BOTH OF
YOU TO COME INTO TVO TONIGHT.
THANKS SO MUCH.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Jill says THANK YOU.

Jennifer says THANK YOU, STEVE.

Watch: Women in Criminal Law