Robert Latimer killed his daughter Tracey Latimer, who had cerebral palsy, in 1993 and after several trials and two Supreme Court decisions, began serving his “life” sentence for second degree murder on Jan. 18, 2001. By March 2008, he was out of prison on day parole. The Canadian Press has reported that Corrections Canada’s parole board had to recently admonish Latimer after he took advantage of his extended leave privileges. The CP reports: “A warrant was issued and Latimer was taken into custody, although the warrant was later cancelled when he explained that he had made a mistake in not returning to his halfway house” The board’s report said it was troubling this step had to be taken because Latimer is already granted privileges “well beyond the norm for other offenders.”
Why is any murderer given special privileges? The clear message of this lenient treatment is that Robert Latimer was in some way justified in taking the life of his daughter and that the life of disabled victims are somehow worth less than other victims of murder. Robert Latimer should be treated in the same manner as any other person who is on parole for second degree murder.
Tracy Latimer, the daughter that he killed 17 years ago, deserved to be treated with equality. Her disability should not be treated as a mitigating factor. To suggest that her disability is a mitigating factor creates an inequality in our justice system providing less protection for people with disabilities.