For the second time, JR has lost her bid to shake her 11:30 p.m. curfew.
The reason? The Solicitor General says the curfew is already flexible. In fact, JR has been out on an overnighter and had another late night since being shot down at her last September review.
What for? JR is enjoying a pro-social “dance activities” these days. But she can’t take part because sometimes it requires travelling, and she’s being hindered by a curfew, court heard today.
Zumba or clubbing? Online commenters wasted no time wading into this one.
As humiliating as it likely is, the curfew was never intended as punishment for JR, but rather as a means rehabilitation. And as Justice Scott Brooker pointed out, it’s not doing her any damage having to follow the rules. Her sentence ends in about two years.
“I have not heard any evidence or suggestions that the curfew adversely affects her,” said Brooker.
In a Nov. 25 letter, the province gave a directive that the curfew stay as is.
JR’s mental health team has a difference of opinion. But the curfew remains.
Crown prosecutor Brandy Shaw said JR’s curfew makes supervision more effective and reduces risk to the community.
Defence lawyer Katherin Beyak says JR is just like any other 20-year-old, and they typically don’t have curfews to contend with.
That is too much bait for online folks: “Most 20-year-olds haven’t murdered their entire family,” and “sounds to me like she wants to go clubbing.”
It’s been fascinating to behold the conversations revolving around JR, her sentence and her progress. For their own reasons, the public is quick to distrust what they’re hearing from these annual and semi-annual sentence reviews. And seeing though there may be only two more of these, the public is going to have to get used to the fact that JR remains among them.
I’d love to know your thoughts.
MEDICINE HAT – A request from Canada’s youngest multiple killer to have her curfew lifted so she can travel out of the city for dance activity has been denied.
However the 20-year-old has already had an overnight leave and was allowed to stay out past midnight on another occasion in recent months.
There were no breaches reported.
It is the second time the woman has lost a request to have her 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew dropped entirely.
At a hearing this morning in Medicine Hat provincial court, Justice Scott Brooker said he agreed with a letter from the Solicitor General’s office that the curfew should remain in place, because it is flexible.
That means the woman can apply for extensions for specific “pro-social” activities during this final community supervision phase of her youth sentence.
Court heard the woman wants to pursue dance activities.
“I’m not satisfied there’s any compelling need to change it at this time,” said Brooker.
“If it comes to pass the curfew is causing particular difficulties for the young person concerning re-integration, I’m prepared to revisit it.”
The woman’s defence lawyer said the judge’s decision makes sense, but that the girl is ready for more freedom.
“She’s 20 years of age and at 20 years of age, most people don’t have an 11:30 p.m curfew,” said Katherin Beyak.
“In terms of reintegrating and becoming an adult and a productive member of society,” she is ready, said Beyak.
She was 12 when she helped her 23-year-old boyfriend, Jeremy Allan Steinke, murder her Medicine Hat parents and eight-year-old brother in 2006.
She was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to the maximum 10-year youth sentence. Her identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The woman has 2 1/2 years left in the final phase of her intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision (IRCS) program.
She is living independently with a roommate, holds down a job and is taking university courses in Calgary.
During an annual sentencing review hearing last September, Justice Scott Brooker denied the woman’s curfew request because she had only been living on her own since August.
The woman was reported to have had no curfew breaches, and her defence lawyer called her the “poster child” for rehabilitation.
The annual sentencing reviews are the only chance the public has to learn about the woman’s progress.
Her record will be wiped clean five years after her sentence ends if she doesn’t break the law.
Although the teen’s psychological assessments and therapy plan is kept private, case workers said last year they believe her remorse is “significant” and genuine.
In the past, it had been said the girl had a “failure to internalize” or take responsibility for her role in the killings.
She is in the final stretch of a four-phase program of stabilization, intensive therapy, transition and reintegration that saw her spend four years in custody at an Alberta Hospital and six on probation.
She had been living in a group home as she was being readied to reintegrate into society.
Her former boyfriend, Jeremy Allan Steinke, is serving a maximum sentence in Edmonton for three counts of first-degree murder.
The young woman’s family was stabbed to death in the middle of night in their suburban Medicine Hat home April 23, 2006.
Steinke and the girl had been carrying on an illicit romance for several weeks before her parents found out and tried to stop it. Through online messages under their user names “soul eater” and “runaway devil,” the pair discussed killing the girl’s parents so they could be together.
They were arrested trying to flee hours after being seen drinking and laughing at a nearby house party.
Steinke admitted stabbing the girl’s parents to death. The girl denied any role in the killings.
Neither has ever admitted to the little boy’s murder.