Judging from the headlines, we might believe we live in times that are more violent than in the past. In the wake of several recent trials in which juries acquitted police officers charged in deadly shootings, it might also leave some asking whether justice has taken a biased turn for the worse.
The rule of law here and across the U.S. is what is supposed to be the deciding factor in the administration of justice. Part of that rule is the constitutionally established premise that anyone charged with a crime – minor to serious – is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Trusting the system
The weighing of proof is part of every criminal case. Sometimes, as the matter works through the system, a lack of evidence might lead to reduced or dismissed charges. If the case makes it to court, a jury typically decides the matter, or a judge does through a bench trial. Different circumstances call for different strategies.
Regardless of how a case is resolved, the one thing that tends to be common is that the public never sees all the relevant information. That’s something reserved to those responsible for making a final determination of guilt or innocence
When a final decision runs counter to expectations based on what’s known from news reports, public shock or anger is understandable. However, if jurors have a chance to explain their deliberations as happened after one recent high-profile trial, the contrast between presumed guilt and presumed innocence often becomes clear.
Skilled criminal defense attorneys understand these issues and are prepared to offer their experience on behalf of clients.