Tag: Speedy Trial

May 22

The Presumption of Innocence, and other Quaint Ideals

The Presumption of Innocence, and other Quaint Ideals

Presumption of Innocence

(Innocent until proven guilty)

A principle that requires the government to prove the guilt of a criminal defendant and relieves the defendant of any burden to prove his or her innocence.

The presumption of innocence, an ancient tenet of Criminal Law, is actually a misnomer. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the presumption of the innocence of a criminal defendant is best described as an assumption of innocence that is indulged in the absence of contrary evidence

[…]

the presumption of innocence is essential to the criminal process. The mere mention of the phrase presumed innocent keeps judges and juries focused on the ultimate issue at hand in a criminal case: whether the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the alleged acts. The people of the United States have rejected the alternative to a presumption of innocence-a presumption of guilt-as being inquisitorial and contrary to the principles of a free society.

http://legal-dictionary.thefre…