guilty until proven innocent

14 05 2006

It’s supposed to be the other way around, right?  Our law is pretty clear that we are to be considered innocent until proven guilty.  However, in some cases, it’s even worse than the subject, where someone remains guilty (to a degree) in the eyes of the general public even after being proven innocent.  An example of this is Michael Jackson.  Now, depending on how much you listen to the media, you might have a myriad of emotions and opinions spring up that are unwarranted.  This is because he was treated as guilty, and he still is treated as guilty (except there’s no prison term).

For a moment, forget about your opinions of him as a person or as an artist, and let’s consider his legal status as a U.S. citizen.  During the trial, he should’ve been treated fairly by the media (but of course he wasn’t, and they’ve been after him for years).  And now, the courts have decided that he is innocent of the crimes he was accused of.  But is there any way he can return to his “normal” life?  No.  He has been treated so harshly that he has left the country.  Many (if not most) people still think he was guilty, and as such, he’s talked about in bad ways and he’s treated badly by some people.  But yet he’s innocent!  (Yeah, I know, people will debate that endlessly, but the fact is that we don’t know for sure what happened, and the courts used all the evidence they had and found him innocent.  And so by law he should be treated as an innocent man, regardless of what people think.)

You may be saying to yourself, “Yeah, I see your point, but why should I care?  He’s still rich and famous, and this has nothing to do with me.”  True, his case has nothing to do with you directly.  But my point is, our system is broken.  To relate better to what I’m saying, put yourself in his shoes.  Let’s suppose some family accuses you of molesting their children, and the media shows your face all over the world, telling everyone what an evil person you are.  And the court battle goes on for months and months, while you have no resemblance of a normal life, where you are hated by many people (even though you’re innocent), and it costs you millions of dollars in lawyer fees, and even when you are found innocent, many people still think you are guilty and evil because of how the media has blown this out of proportion and declared their opinions and assumptions as facts.  How would you feel?  Now it’s a much different story, isn’t it?

So what’s the solution?  I’m not sure…  Perhaps people who are accused of a crime shouldn’t be announced publicly until convicted.  I don’t know if this is feasible in all cases or not.  But I do know it’s not right that a man’s reputation is dragged through the mud when he may be innocent of all charges!  So something should change about the way it’s handled now…

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One response

16 05 2006
Beppo

Notice how in the Duke lacrosse case that another guy just got indicted, and the media not only posted his name and picture all over the place, but also mention his parents and where they work. If he’s guilty, then he should be punished, of course; but if he’s not guilty, then why is his name being dishonored? I don’t think it’s right that all this is associated with someone before they are found to be guilty.

Also an affect of this : “After the woman reported the attack, Duke canceled the rest of the lacrosse team’s season and accepted the resignation of its coach.” IF the players are actually innocent, many people will have been affected because of someone’s false accusations. (And of course, if the players are guilty, they should be punished.) But as of yet, we don’t know, and yet all this has taken place.

And these are not the only examples of such things — keep this in mind when watching the news and see how often it happens.

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