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Innocent until proven guilty?

We all know that you are suppose to be innocent until proven guilty, but is that really true anymore? In theory, the way the court system is setup, the state has the burden to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But anymore it seems to be the opposite way, wherein you have the burden to prove that you are not guilty.

Are we so hell bent on justice in our society that we want someone to be guilty even if they are not the person(s) who committed the crime? I ask these questions after looking at the story of the former lacrosse players from Duke University, and that over a year later the charges against them have been dropped.

So for the purpose of this entry, let’s just say that they are truly innocent. Also I want to make this clear that I am not trying to say one way or the other if they are guilty or not. I do not know enough about the case to theorize about that, and therefore I will not.

Let’s put you in the shoes of one of the 3 lacrosse players. You have been changed, and basically made to look guilty of a crime that you did not commit. From all accounts in the media, you look guilty and are now poster boy for the rowdy behavior of privileged students at a prestigious university.

So now you have been judged and found guilty by the media and most of America, if not the world. You have also now been placed on administrative leave by your university, but yet you are still in theory not guilty of the crime you have been accused of.

This happens all too often in our society that we live in. I understand the need for justice (if a crime really happened) as it bring closure and can allow the victims involved to start the healing process, but is our need for justice so high that we are will to convict innocent people?

David Evans, one of the accused lacrosse players said this which I do hold to be true: “Many people across this country, across this state would not have the opportunity that we did, and this could simply have been brushed underneath the rug just as another case and some innocent person would end up in jail for their entire life,” Evans said. “It's just not right.”.

What Evans is talking about is that innocent people go to prison ever day across this country because they can't afford high-powered legal teams to defend them. As much as I am sure the public defenders try, they are not as good as some high power, high priced lawyer from some nationally known legal firm. Sure as hell, if OJ had been represented by a public defender, his ass would be in jail right now.

Anyway, here is hope that the 3 lacrosse players can get back to life and leave this all behind them. I also hope, like the 3 players, that change will come from all of this. Maybe its time our 200 year old legal system gets an overhall. Maybe its time once again for you to be innocent until proven guilty, and not guilty until proven innocent.

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Kevin Murray

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