The Current

Retired judge John Reilly on 'Bad Justice' for Aboriginal offenders

As a circuit court judge for 33 years, John Reilly laboured against the justice system to bring awareness of the plight of aboriginal people.

When John Reilly first set eyes on the Nakoda Stoney First Nations Reserve, near Morley, Alberta, he likely knew he was at the beginning of a promising legal career. It was 1977. And he already held the distinction of being the youngest judge ever appointed to Alberta's Provincial Court.

But what the young judge likely couldn't have guessed was how much First Nations people, and the struggle for justice in their communities, would come to define his career.

John Reilly is retired from the bench and he's just finished his second book on First Nations people and the law. He joined us four years ago to talk about his first book, Bad Medicine: A Judge's Struggle for Justice in a First Nations Community.

Here is our interview with John Reilly from our archives:

For most of John Reilly's career he had jurisdiction over the Stoney Nakoda First Nation in Morley, Alberta. At first he thought he was doing good from his courtroom but eventually Judge Reilly's views changed. Here is our interview from November 2010. 18:31

John Reilly's followup book is titled, Bad Judgement: The Myths of First Nations Equality and Judicial Independence.

This segment was produced by produced by The Current's Marc Apollonio.


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