John Reilly

Judge John Reilly is a native-born Calgarian who came to Canmore 17 years ago. He is the longest-serving provincial court judge in Alberta. He says he wanted to be a judge to avoid conflict. He did not like being an advocate in the adversarial legal system, and thought he was better suited to being a referee. He failed in his ambition to avoid conflict by becoming an outspoken advocate for better justice for aboriginal people, something for which he is still fighting. He is the author of the best selling book, “Bad Medicine: A judge’s struggle for justice in a First Nations community” which he wrote after he retired. Judge Reilly is a married father of four and grandfather of two.

Bad Judgment: The Myths of First Nations Equality and Judicial Independence in Canada
Authors:
John Reilly
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

Judge John Reilly, now retired, was the youngest judge ever appointed to the Provincial Court of Alberta. For most of his 33 years on the bench he was the circuit judge for the Stoney Indian Reserve at Morley, Alberta.

During his career he became interested in aboriginal justice and saw the failure of the “white” legal system to do justice for aboriginal people, the harm caused to them by Canadian colonialism, and the failure of all levels of government, including tribal government, to alleviate their suffering and deal with the conflicting natures of European-style law and Indigenous tradition and circumstance.

As a result of these realizations, Judge Reilly vowed to improve the delivery of justice to the aboriginal people in his community and used his perceived power as a jurist to make changes to improve the lives of the people in his jurisdiction. Along the way, he came into direct conflict with Canadian judicial administration and various questionable leaders among the echelons of both Canadian and First Nation governments.

John Reilly’s first book, Bad Medicine: A Judge’s Struggle for Justice in a First Nations Community, was a Canadian bestseller that sparked controversy and elicited praise nationwide for his honest portrayal of First Nations tribal corruption. Bad Judgment details Reilly’s battle with the Canadian justice system and the difficulties he faced trying to adapt Eurocentric Canadian law for the benefit of First Nations people across the country.

Authentic Canadian Content
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Bad Medicine: A Judge's Struggle for Justice in a First Nations Community
Authors:
John Reilly
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Stoney-Nakoda;

Early in his career, Judge John Reilly did everything by the book. His jurisdiction included a First Nations community plagued by suicide, addiction, poverty, violence and corruption. He steadily handed out prison sentences with little regard for long-term consequences and even less knowledge as to why crime was so rampant on the reserve in the first place.

In an unprecedented move that pitted him against his superiors, the legal system he was part of, and one of Canada's best-known Indian chiefs, the Reverend Dr. Chief John Snow, Judge Reilly ordered an investigation into the tragic and corrupt conditions on the reserve. A flurry of media attention ensued. Some labelled him a racist; others thought he should be removed from his post, claiming he had lost his objectivity. But many on the Stoney Reserve hailed him a hero as he attempted to uncover the dark challenges and difficult history many First Nations communities face.

At a time when government is proposing new tough on crime legislation, Judge Reilly provides an enlightening and timely perspective. He shows us why harsher punishments for offenders don't necessarily make our societies safer, why the white justice system is failing First Nations communities, why jail time is not the cure-all answer some think it to be, and how corruption continues to plague tribal leadership.

Authentic Canadian Content
$22.95

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