America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response or AMBER is named after a 9 year old abducted and murdered in Texas, Ms. Amber Hagerman in 1996. These alerts are transmitted by commercial, internet and satellite radio, television, email, texts. Details are also added to Facebook, Google and Bing in order for the largest possible audience to receive this information and keep a look out. In December 2002, this alert system came to Canada, and Alberta launched the first province-wide system, Quebec launched on May 26, 2003. Ontario also displays its AMBER alerts on 9,000 lottery terminals. Twenty countries in Europe have some form of AMBER alert system.
The criteria a police department might assess is: whether the missing person is under 18; whether the police believe the person may be abducted; and whether there is reason to believe the physical safety or the life of the missing person person may be in danger. Sometimes, the police do not issue an AMBER alert until it is too late, as in the case of Victoria Stafford in 2009.
On February 14, 2019, a AMBER alert went out to locate a missing 11 year old, unfortunately authorities found the girl too late, but because of the AMBER alert, her father and sole suspect in her death was located, and arrested.
In the news, people are pleading guilty to very serious criminal charges. There are several reasons for a guilty plea. For a victim and their family, the details will not have to come out in trial or be in the news for a long period. For a defendant, they may have certainty as to the charges or possible sentence.
A defendant always chooses if they wish to enter a guilty plea or have a trial, after reviewing the case materials (disclosure) with their legal advisor, weighing their chances at trial and understanding all consequences.
A severe sentence is not a reason to plead guilty. Everyone is entitled to have a Crown Attorney prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt. Those that plead guilty, should do so ONLY if they have committed all the elements of the offence(s). The defendant should know that there may be additional consequences. Persons who are refugees, visiting students or permanent refugees may be unable to attain Canadian citizenship or appeal their removal, and could be deported. A criminal record may stop someone being able to travel to the United States, obtain employment, or volunteer at their child’s school, not be able to continue in their profession or lose the ability to drive for a long period. A criminal record is permanent, so any decision to plead guilty should be carefully considered knowing all consequences, not to get it over with.