• Publication Date: December 1, 2023
  • ISBN: Print (Paperback): 9781552216903
  • ISBN: Digital (PDF): 9781552216910
  • 248 pages; 5½" x 8½"

You Be the Judge


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Product Description

Have you ever wanted to be a judge?

Here’s your chance. Sit on the dais beside criminal court judge and author Norm Douglas as he wrestles with difficult decisions that he had to make. This book presents twelve homicide cases and another twelve riveting true-crime cases where you, the reader, are either the judge or the prosecutor.

You Be the Judge provides an interactive legal exercise where the readers engage with the daily dilemmas and considerations faced inside the courtroom and gain behind-the-scenes access to the Canadian justice system. Based on Norm Douglas’s lifetime contributions to bringing the law into Canadian classrooms, the book is a testament to his career and the complexity of arriving at true justice. Experience a collaborative journey into ethics, morality, and legality as you adjudicate, deliberate, and judge. Perfect for legal enthusiasts, classroom teachers, and aspiring judges.

About the Author: His Life in Crime


Part I.  Your Daily Docket: Punishment or Compassion?

1. Assaulted in Her Sleep

2. The Stepfather

3. The Drunk Woman Who Drove into a Ditch

4. The Last Nazi

5. The Castrated Dog

6. The Artist from Trinidad

7. The Stolen Phone Booth

8. The Indigenous Repeat Offender

9. Assault with a Weapon, to Wit, a Dog Bowl

10. Boxer Breaks Man’s Jaw — Outside the Ring

11. The Gila Monster

12. The Handsome, Charming Rapist

Part II. Murder, Manslaughter, or Neither?

13. Crocodile Dundee

14. The Grandmother Murder

You Be the Jury

15. Killing Husband in His Sleep

16. Bonnie and Clyde

17. Murder in the House of Killers

18. Sentenced to Hang

19. The Crown Attorney Goes to Prison

20. Police Strangling

21. Murder in the School Girls’ Washroom

22. Texas Rangers Ride to the Rescue

23. Ken Dryden Helps Solve a Murder

24. School Bus Runs over a Child

Part III. Controlling the Courtroom

Conclusion: Judging Myself

Author’s Note: Forgiveness


“Justice Norman Douglas’s book You Be the Judge is a gem and inspiration and illuminating innovation.”
Right Honourable David Johnston, 28th Governor General of Canada (2010–2017)
“There is no one more qualified to give Canadians a truly accurate picture of the inner workings of our criminal justice system. A must read.”
Wallace “Wally” Oppal, OBC KC, B.C. Attorney General (2005–2009)
“You Be the Judge cracks open the door on excessive courtroom secrecy and helps the public to better understand the judicial role in an entertaining and accessible way.”
Betsy Powell, Toronto Star Crime and Courts reporter
“Every day, judges in the criminal trial courts are called upon to make decisions with profound consequences, not only for those charged but also for the public at large. In this impressive new book, Norman Douglas draws upon half a century of experience, including close to thirty years as a trial judge, to demonstrate that making those decisions is a deeply human process and that getting to the ‘right’ result requires both wisdom and compassion. In this respect, Douglas has made an important contribution to the public’s understanding of criminal justice in Canada.”
Justice Ian MacDonnell (retired)
“The criminal justice system is, by design, populated by people of all different backgrounds in a wide range of roles. Two of the most important of these are the Crown and the judge. With a wealth of experience, a colourful and candid approach, and a very personal style, Norm Douglas provides a rare insight into what goes through the mind of someone called upon to resolve some very challenging issues, inspiring the reader to come to grips with how these important matters must be addressed in order to provide fair and impartial justice.”
Jeff Manishen, Criminal Lawyer and Associate Counsel, Ross & McBride LLP
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