Until the early 20th century, criminal law was obsessed with self-interest. It was considered so obvious that an accused person would lie to save himself that he wasn’t even allowed to testify in his own defense. Deterrence was the overwhelming principle of sentencing. Motive was central to criminal investigations and many trials. The rules of evidence, principles of sentencing and investigative practices have all evolved away from that focus on self-interest, and this evolution is considered to have been progressive and enlightened. At the same time though, the criminal courtroom is still one of the few forums in which “I did it because it was good for ME” is a perilous and counterproductive position to take. And then there are the lawyers themselves.
James Marentette received his law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1979 and was called to the bar of Ontario in 1981. He immediately started his own practice in Kitchener-Waterloo, concentrating on the defense of criminal cases. In 1999 he was certified as a specialist in criminal law by the Law Society of Upper Canada, the governing body of lawyers in Ontario. As criminal defense council, Marentette has successfully defended hundreds of clients, including young persons, charged with first and second degree murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm, possession, production and trafficking of controlled drugs, robbery, extortion, breaking and entering, theft, fraud, forgery, counterfeiting, perjury, breaching court orders, and almost every other offense in Canada’s Criminal Code.