Decision and Aftermath

AuthorCraig Jones
Decision and Aftermath
Judgment Day
On 8 August 2011, the day of Jes’s sentencing in Texas, I received a brief
note from Christine Judd, the Chief Justice’s law ocer. Could we provide
her, she asked, with the names of our counsel as they might appear on the
rst page of the Court s Reasons for Judgment?
Could this mean that the judgment was imminent? It seemed so, but
it had only been four months since the trial had ended. is would be
quick in a routine case; for something with the complexity of the Po-
lygamy Reference, it seemed impossible. I resisted the temptation to pry
some improper information from the ever-proper Ms Judd, and submitted
the six names of our lawyers who had appeared: myself, Greathead, Hors-
man, Bevan, Ross, and Za ltz.
e next day I received a phone call from Ms Judd: “I realize that my
e-mail yesterday might have led you to believe the judgment was immin-
ent,” she said. “I don’t want anybody to expect that it will be released this
week or next week . . .”
So we exhaled. A nd waited as summer turned into fall. A second false
start came on October 14, when Global TV ran a story on its 16: 9 pro-
gram on Bountiful. e reporter, Carolyn Jarvis, had apparently become
the latest “outsider” to be wooed by Winston Blackmore with promises
of exclusive access to “his” community, and Global had produced a docu-
mentary which said very little new. However, everybody’s attention was
gripped by Jarvis’s repeated statements to the eect that the decision in
the reference was expected “with in days.” In a teaser for the documentary
on Global’s morning show, Jarvis told the hosts that Global had been in-
formed by the Chief Justice’s oce that the judgment would be down that
week or the next. We inhaled again. en . . . nothi ng. Not that week, not
the next. Not the week after that.
A Cruel Arit hmetic: Inside the Case Against Polygamy
Finally, on 8 November 2011, we received notice that the Court would
release its reasons on 23 November 2011, precisely a year and a day since
the trial had begun.
Two months earlier, Sarah Galashan, the CTV repor ter, had asked
me whether the Court would do a “media lockup,” where the court revea ls
the judgment to sequestered reporters in advance of its public release, so
that the press could more eectively comment once it is made public. As
far as I knew, the BC Courts had never done one, but it was an occasional
practice of the Supreme Court of Canada in part icularly high-prole cases.
I passed the idea along to the Court through Ms Judd, and apparently it
had been embraced by the Chief Justice. As a consequence, the Court had
arranged “ lockups” for both media and counsel.
e lockup was not the only unusual aspect of the decision’s release:
the two-week lead time was also much longer than the ordinary two or
three days’ notice provided by the Courts to counsel. is was a mixed
blessing; it helped to plan our month, for sure, but it also meant that
those in government charged with preparing to deal with the va rious out-
comes communications people, law enforcement, and executives up to
the Attorney General herself, would be ask ing a lot of questions and de-
manding briengs and messag ing on all possible outcomes, of which there
were an almost innite number.
Some counsel had placed friendly bets on the date of release, and
others preferred to guess at the length of the wr itten reasons. Deputy At-
torney General Loukidel is guessed that the judgment would be 400 pages.
I thought it would be shorter, at around 150. Loukidelis’s estimate turned
out to be far closer than mine, but in any event it was clear to us that it
would be a very lengthy decision, and had no doubt consumed a great deal
of Chief Justice Bauman’s attention given that it had been produced in
seven months, still a relatively short period of time.
Later in the same day that the notice had been distributed, November 8,
I attended the annual Bench and Bar Dinner, a popular banquet held in a
ballroom of a downtown hotel. Not surprisingly, I saw the Chief Justice as
we were being seated. As I mentioned earlier when I described Bauman’s
good-humoured intervention in our post-trial drink at the Hotel Vancou-
ver, lawyers and judges working on the same case tend to be careful when
they ran into each other at social events. e collegiality of bench and bar
embraces social contact, but discussion of the substance of any case before
the judge, even one in which the lawy er is not involved, should be avoided.
Government lawyers, in particular, should be concerned not to be seen as
too friendly with the independent judiciary, so there is often something
of an awkwardness in any thing longer than a perfunctory greeting. Even

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