Why You Can’t Always Count on Being “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”March 31, 2016
The United States’ criminal justice system is based upon the tenet that individuals are always “innocent until proven guilty.” This means that when an individual is tried for a crime, the burden of proving his guilt rests with the prosecution. However, despite the fact that this ideal is meant to be a basic right of all citizens, there are many reasons you cannot always count on this principle during a trial, making it essential to mount an aggressive and solid defense.
During a trial, the jury is meant to be an impartial body that determines whether there is sufficient evidence to convict the individual on trial of the crime with which he is charged. While the jury should always presume innocence until guilt is proven, the truth is that jurors often unintentionally assume before the case even begins that if an individual has been charged and arrested, he is likely to be guilty. Furthermore, personal or perceived views based on race or wealth can also lead to incorrect assumptions regarding guilt before a trial begins.
The prevalence of media coverage and the ease with which individuals can access news and other information can also have an effect on the assumptions made by a jury or judge. Because media stories often sensationalize court cases and may even make presumptions about guilt or innocence without a factual basis, these factors can affect the ultimate decision that a jury makes during a trial. Even when jurors have no previous or outside knowledge of the case they are evaluating, the type of thinking promoted by other media stories may influence the decision-making process and the assumption of innocence or guilt.
If you have been charged with a crime, your first step should be to seek experienced legal counsel and assistance. Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law can help you navigate the legal system and provide the support and defense you need during a trial to ensure your rights are upheld. Please visit our website or call (520) 247-1789 for more information about criminal defense in Tucson.