Throughout much of history, if someone was accused of a crime, that person would have to prove their innocence. The presumption was that the person was guilty if they were accused. Even today, the presumption of guilt exists in many parts of the world. The presumption of innocence is at the core of our legal system and one of our most valuable rights as citizens of the United States.
A healthy society has a strong sense of justice. This must be supported by a system with procedures designed to require the accuser to prove guilt without requiring the defendant to prove innocence. The Roman Justinian, in the sixth century, wrote that proof lies with the accuser. While not explicitly stated, the assumption would be that the accused is innocent. The precept was adopted into English common law and expanded into the American legal system we have today.
There are three critical components of this precept.
* The government must prove that the crime was committed and that the defendant was the perpetrator.
* The defendant is not obligated to prove anything, to testify or to call any witnesses. Of course, most defendants want an effective defense and would not be willing to sit and do nothing to counter the prosecutor’s case.
* The judge or jury must not draw any conclusions against the defendant because he has been charged and is sitting in court. They must decide only on the facts of the case.
In practice, cases are won and lost on the requirement of proof of guilt ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. This can be a very subjective requirement. We’re all familiar with cases where the judge or jury reached a decision that made no sense to others.
Powers & Costeck, Attorneys at Law, focus their practice on DUI and domestic violence cases in the state of Washington. These criminal attorneys also effectively represent clients who need defense for other misdemeanor and felony crimes. The constitutional presumption of innocence is a critical component of defense strategies designed by these skilled attorneys. They work hard to get charges reduced or dismissed entirely. Anyone who needs an experienced Criminal Attorney in Sedro Woolley, WA should schedule a visit to discuss the specifics of their legal problem. Learn more about the firm at www.skagitvalleylaw.com.