Rachel Poelzer joined Connolly & Associates in 2021 as a Student-at-law. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology (with distinction) at the University of Alberta in 2017, wherein she successfully completed two immersive field placements in the criminal justice system. Following her undergraduate studies, Rachel was awarded a Juris Doctor (with distinction) from the University of Alberta in 2021.
Throughout law school, Rachel tailored her course selection to focus on courses pertaining to criminal law, including Criminal Procedure, Law and Policing, Advanced Criminal Law, Wrongful Convictions, and Advanced Criminal Trial Advocacy. Additionally, she sought experiential learning opportunities to build practical legal skills such as mock court competitions (known as “moots”).
Rachel is eager to advocate for her clients’ interests and ensure that their rights are protected. She was drawn to a career in criminal law because of the profound impact criminal conduct can have on the parties involved as well as the greater community. Rachel has experience on both the prosecution and defense sides of the criminal law process through internships, summer jobs, and volunteer opportunities. Through her articles, Rachel hopes to serve the greater Lethbridge community and build relationships with new clients. Outside of the Courtroom and office, Rachel spends much of her free time dog-walking, playing hockey, and serving the community with her Rotary club.
To retain or to book a free consultation with Rachel, please call our office at (403) 329-8188, or email Rachel at email@example.com
Restricted Access to Courthouses
The Alberta Courts are attempting to balance the open court principle with public health priorities. The Courts are taking proactive preventative measures to protect justice system participants and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Effective March 30, 2020, access to all courthouses in the province of Alberta will be restricted until further notice.
Members of the general public will not be permitted to enter a courthouse unless they are:
- parties to the litigation/appeal,
- counsel to the parties to the litigation/appeal,
- interpreters whose presence is required for a proceeding,
- support persons as set out in s. 486.1(1) and (2) of the Criminal Code,
- support workers authorized by the Courts to assist parties to the litigation/appeal,
- members of the accredited media,
- persons paying a criminal fine or restitution order or paying bail or surety applications on behalf of an accused because they are unable to access electronic payment.
- persons filing documents at a Court registry.
- persons whose attendance has been approved by a judge or justice of the Court in which a proceeding is being held.
Lawyers are urged to make use of expanded access to email and fax filing in order to better manage traffic at courthouse counters. Lawyers, Court Runners and Litigants attending at courthouses to file documents in person are directed to make use of the dropboxes or the other alternative forms of filing that have been made available.
Attendance at all courthouses will also be refused to persons:
- who have been advised to self-isolate by public health officials or their doctor,
- who are self-isolating as a result of travel or contact with individuals with COVID-19, or
- who are experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms.
Contact our Lawyers at Connolly and Associates to learn more about the closure and how you are to proceed with your specific case.
As per the Provincial Courts of Alberta:
COVID-19 Resumption Final Stage – September 8, 2020
The Provincial Court of Alberta is very mindful of the need to expand in-person access to the Court, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of courts users and the public, and to contain the spread of COVID-19. Effective July 6, 2020, we increased the number of criminal, family and youth, and civil matters that could be heard in-person at base point locations. Starting September 8, circuit locations will start to open for in-person and remote hearings (trials only)
While we will do our best to keep our clients and community up-to-date on Covid-19 as we become aware, we do ask that you remain patient with us during this time and ask that you reach out to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling our office at 403-329-8188
For more information regarding Covid-19 and the Alberta Provincial Courts please visit:
UPDATE: Covid-19 – Legal Aid
Clients can now call Legal Aid and get coverage for criminal charges. Call 1-866-845-3425 and let Legal Aid know your charges and choice of counsel.
“Beginning Wednesday, April 15, 2020, we are implementing a new virtual out of custody process to support processing client applications for all out-of-custody criminal matters. If a client is eligible for coverage, we will issue certificates based on our normal process honoring our choice of counsel rules.”
If you previously contacted Legal Aid and were not assisted, please call again. Legal Aid has changed the Covid-19 policy and will begin taking applications again Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
Even though our office is closed, we are still willing to assist by phone 24 hours a day. If you have been charged and require assistance please call Connolly & Associates at 403-329-8188.
Until further notice, all Traffic Courts in Alberta will be closed effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
If you have an appearance, trial or application scheduled during the closure, do not attend court in person. Contact the court handling your matter by telephone, e-mail or fax.
Do not dispute your ticket but need time to pay, wish to adjourn your matter, or wish to plead not guilty and set a trial date. Not guilty pleas will also continue to be accepted by mail. Follow the instructions on your ticket for submitting a not guilty plea by mail.
If you fail to contact the court handling your matter on or before your scheduled appearance, trial or application date, you may be convicted in absence or a warrant may be issued for your arrest. If you are convicted in absence, you may be subject to a late payment charge.
DO NOT ATTEND THE COURTHOUSE TO PAY FINES IN PERSON
Fine payments can be made:
online at Fine Payments
by mail to the Provincial Traffic Production Centre, 601 5th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 5P7
through a Registry Office
We wanted to keep you in the loop during this pandemic so we will be sharing the following information from The Provincial Court of Alberta:
COVID-19 PANDEMIC PLANNING FOR THE SCHEDULING OF MATTERS
UPDATED APRIL 6, 2020
As of Tuesday March 17, 2020, if you have a criminal court or a Provincial Offences/traffic court appearance in the Alberta Provincial Court, you do not need to attend unless the matter is an in-custody or urgent criminal matter, or an urgent family or child protection matter.
No members of the public will be permitted in courthouses unless they are required for a court matter (parties, witnesses, media). Legal counsel is permitted access to the Court house for urgent court-related business ONLY.
Do not come into a courthouse in person if you have been advised to self-isolate by public health officials, your doctor or the Alberta Health Services website; or you are self-isolating as a result of travel or contact with individuals with COVID-19.
THE COURT IS REDUCING THE NUMBER OF COURTHOUSES AND COURTROOMS THAT ARE OPERATIONAL. Court locations that remain open are CONDUCTING URGENT BUSINESS ONLY.
CRIMINAL AND YOUTH CRIMINAL MATTERS
If you are not in custody and you have a criminal court appearance in the Alberta Provincial Court between Tuesday March 17 and Friday, May 22, 2020 you do not need to attend court. The Court website will be updated regularly to provide information regarding rescheduling, which will be 10 weeks from the date of your scheduled court appearance or the next court date thereafter.
All out of custody matters will be adjourned for 10 weeks from the date currently set. Counsel shall not attend for these presumptive 10 week adjournments.
All regional matters will return to their respective regional Case Management Office (CMO) location. If there is no CMO location in the region, it will return to the docket court of that location.
All in-custody matters will proceed including:
Sentencings with a priority given to those facing a time served situation
Preliminary inquiries and trials
Youth criminal sentence reviews
The Court will hear urgent out of custody criminal matters with leave of a judge.
The Court will be available to process urgent warrants and judicial authorizations.
The court will continue to post further information as it becomes available, so please continue to check the Provincial Court website for updates.
We will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available. Please keep in mind that our office is closed but we are still taking all your calls and emails so be sure to reach out to us via telephone at 403-329-8188 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org you can also find up-to-date information on our website under “Community” www.connollyandassociates.ca
We are so excited to congratulate our own Claudia Connolly for her well deserved appointment as Queen’s Counsel.
As an honorary of the Queen’s Counsel a Lawyer is appointed by letters patent to be one of “Her Majesty’s Counsel learned in the law”. Lawyers appointed the Queen’s Counsel are long serving lawyers, because their status is given by the Crown and recognized by the courts.
An Induction Ceremony for Claudia will be held at a later date at which time we will share and celebrate this accomplishment along side Claudia.