The internet has changed the world in arguably more ways than any other invention in human history. At the click of a button, we have the ability to share our thoughts and beliefs across the globe. We can access the wealth of global knowledge on our cell phone. While the advances made because of the internet are astounding, there are a few downsides to being constantly connected to the rest of the world, especially as they relate to allegations of illegal activity.
Recently, a multitude of men and woman have come forward to accuse others—mostly high-profile individuals—of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and even rape. The public’s response to these allegations has been intense. While it is understandable that many people have emotional reactions to news involving terrible crimes, it is a mistake to automatically assume that any person accused of a crime is guilty.
However, because we have the ability to disseminate information at almost instantaneous speeds, the rumor mill is more powerful than ever. This can lead to inaccurate assumptions being perpetuated throughout social media. Anyone can make a statement about another which will be seen by possibly millions of people. It is therefore more important than ever before to grant accused individuals the presumption of innocence.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
The United States Constitution states that “No person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This clause is the only one which appears twice in the Constitution—once in the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth. This should be a clue as to its importance. Due process means that every citizen of the United States has the right to an unbiased trial, the opportunity to present a counterargument to the charges leveled against them—including the right to present evidence and call witnesses to support their claim—and be represented by a qualified legal professional. When the court of public opinion tries the case before the real trial can occur, the trial is no longer unbiased.
Consider for a moment the possibility that the cases being made against individuals like Harvey Weinstein may someday see the inside of courtroom. Of course, he has already been tried and found guilty in the proverbial court of public opinion, making it nearly impossible to find neutral, unbiased people to serve on a jury. Thus, the presumption of guilt, ironically, could make it impossible for a court to convict a guilty person properly..
If you have been accused of a crime, you deserve an aggressive defense. An experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney can help you navigate your legal options and choose the best course of action for your unique case. Call The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889 for a free consultation today.