Innocent Until Proven Guilty

April 27, 2009
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Does innocent until proven guilty mean anything in our modern society? Why are we so eager to think the worst of people and not give them the benefit of the doubt? It has become human nature to always believe that the accuser is always telling the truth, along with the accused always being guilty.

The main problem is that by the time logic returns to our minds, it is sometimes too late, and lives have been ruined. A very good example of this was the Duke Lacrosse Team rape case, and also the Kobe Bryant rape case. In the Duke case a girl accused some players on the team of raping her. Immediately this girl was put on a pedestal and the lacrosse players in question were kicked off the team, and out of school. This all took place before the case had been fully investigated. To make a long story short, the authorities discovered that the accusation was phony. The investigation spanned so long that some of the boys were not able to graduate with their class. This whole time they were presumed guilty, and were looked upon as criminals. Thankfully they were able to finish their education and try to go back to their normal lives. A similar result occurred in the Kobe Bryant “rape” case. The truth in this case is that he actually did have an affair, but did not rape the alleged victim; contrary to what she claimed. In the end the story was plastered across magazine cover pages for months, and the case was eventually dismissed based on insufficient evidence and the plaintiff’s ever-changing story. The overall outcome of this case was that Kobe Bryant’s name is now synonymous with scandals and rape.

This can be related back to The Crucible. In this play, as soon as one of the children charged a villager, the person had one of two choices: admit to witchcraft and consorting with the devil, or hang. The people were so focused on what they could do to the witch (or wizard), that they never thought if they should do it. Also, the people in the book were so biased towards the accused that often inadequate evidence was enough to convict someone. This bias can be seen when some of the girls are being questioned. Instead of asking an impartial question, the court would ask a question hinting towards the defendant’s guilt.

Those who argue against my view would say that people who are accused should not be in the company of those who are committing criminal activities; people should not give any reasons for suspicion to arise. It could also be said that there is enough evidence to believe someone is guilty, and that they also say that the person in question looks like a criminal, and take everything he or she says as incriminating evidence, or an outright lie. Many of us have thought like this. For instance, in the Natalie Holloway case even though the public barely knew anything about the case, once they saw who she was last with, they immediately saw him as the guilty one. Most people still think he is responsible. Is it human nature to make a judgment on someone based on little information?

How can someone sentence a person based on half of the story, or not all of the facts. Emotions can influence a person’s decision, but people need to learn from past mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, there are many instances when an actual crime is committed, but that doesn’t mean all of them are that way. We need to preserve the idea created by our founding fathers that everyone has the right to due process and is presumed innocent until proven guilty. We cannot allow a travesty like the Salem Witch Trials to occur again. If you find a decision by a court wrong or unlawful relating to presumption of guilt, write the court, or better yet write your senator. It’s their job to fix things in our government; give them something to do. I ask you to give people the benefit of the doubt; who knows, it might be you on the other side next time. How would you like to be treated?





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jwellington said...
May 7, 2009 at 3:16 am
The most amazing thing i have ever heard!!!!!!! so true!!!
 
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