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Encyclopedia > Presumption of innocence
Criminal procedure
Criminal trials and convictions
Rights of the accused
Right to a fair trial  · Speedy trial
Jury trial  · Presumption of innocence
Exclusionary rule (U.S.)
Self-incrimination  · Double jeopardy
Verdict
Acquittal  · Conviction
Not proven (Scot.)  · Directed verdict
Sentencing
Mandatory  · Suspended  · Custodial
Dangerous offender (Can.)
Capital punishment  · Execution warrant
Cruel and unusual punishment
Post-conviction events
Parole  · Probation
Tariff (UK)  · Life licence (UK)
Miscarriage of justice
Exoneration  · Pardon
Related areas of law
Criminal defenses
Criminal law  · Evidence
Civil procedure
Portals: Law  · Criminal justice

Presumption of innocence is a legal right that the accused in criminal trials has in many modern nations. It states that no person shall be considered guilty until finally convicted by a court. The burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which has to convince the court that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In principle, the defense does not have to 'prove' anything. However, the defense may present evidence tending to show that there is a doubt as to the guilt of the accused. Image File history File links Scale_of_justice. ... Criminal procedure refers to the legal process for adjudicating claims that someone has violated the criminal law. ... Headline text The rights of the accused is a class of rights in that apply to a person in the time period between when they are formally accused of a crime and when they are either convicted or acquitted. ... The Right to a fair trial is an essential right in all countries respecting the rule of law. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For the 1980s television show, see Trial by Jury (TV). ... In United States constitutional law, the exclusionary rule is a legal principle holding that evidence collected or analyzed in violation of the U.S. Constitution is inadmissible for a criminal prosecution in a court of law (that is, it cannot be used in a criminal trial). ... Self-incrimination is the act of accusing oneself of a crime for which a person can then be prosecuted. ... Double jeopardy (also called autrefois acquit meaning already acquitted) is a procedural defense (and, in many countries such as the United States, Canada, and India, a constitutional right) that forbids a defendant from being tried a second time for the same crime. ... In law, a verdict indicates the judgment of a case before a court of law. ... In criminal law, an acquittal is the legal result of a verdict of not guilty, or some similar end of the proceeding that terminates it with prejudice without a verdict of guilty being entered against the accused. ... Not proven is a verdict available to a court in Scotland. ... In U.S. law, a directed verdict is an order from the judge presiding over a jury trial that one side or the other wins. ... In law, a sentence forms the final act of a judge-ruled process, and also the symbolic principal act connected to his function. ... A mandatory sentence is a judicial decision setting the punishment to be inflicted on a person convicted of a crime where judicial discretion is limited by law. ... A suspended sentence is a legal construct. ... A custodial sentence is a judicial sentence, imposing a punishment (and hence the resulting punishment itself) consisting of mandatory custody of the convict, either in prison (incarceration) or in some other closed therapeutic and/or (re)educational institution, such as a reformatory, (maximum security) psychiatry or drug detoxication (especially cold... In the Canadian legal system, the dangerous offender designation allows the courts to impose an indefinite sentence on a convicted person, regardless of whether the crime carries a life sentence or not. ... Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences. ... An execution warrant is a warrant which authorizes the execution or capital punishment of an individual. ... The statement that the government shall not inflict cruel and unusual punishment for crimes is found in the English Bill of Rights signed in 1689 by William of Orange and Queen Mary II who were then the joint rulers of England following the Glorious Revolution of 1688. ... Parole can have different meanings depending on the context. ... Probation is the suspension of a prison or jail sentence - the criminal who is on probation has been convicted of a crime, but instead of serving prison time, has been found by the Court to be amenable to probation and will be returned to the community for a period in... Under British criminal law, a tariff is the minimum period that a person serving an indefinite prison sentence must serve before that person becomes eligible for parole. ... Life licence is a term used in the British criminal justice system for the conditions under which a prisoner sentenced to life in jail may be released. ... A miscarriage of justice is primarily the conviction and punishment of a person for a crime that he or she did not commit. ... Exoneration occurs when a person who has been convicted of a crime is later proved to have been innocent of that crime. ... A pardon is the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. ... The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (e. ... Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the process that courts will follow when hearing cases of a civil nature (a civil action, as opposed to a criminal action). ... A right is the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled or a thing to which one has a just claim. ... In the common law legal system, an indictment is a formal charge of having committed a serious criminal offense. ... Criminal procedure refers to the legal process for adjudicating claims that someone has violated the criminal law. ... In the common law, burden of proof is the obligation to prove allegations which are presented in a legal action. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of law that regulates governmental sanctions (such as imprisonment and/or fines) as retaliation for crimes against the social order. ...


Conversely, in many authoritarian regimes the prosecution case is, in practice, believed by default unless the accused can prove he is innocent, a practice called presumption of guilt. Many people believe that presumption of guilt is unfair and even immoral because it allows the strategic targeting of any individual, since it's often difficult to firmly establish proof of innocence (for example, it's often impossible to establish an alibi if the person is home alone at the time of the crime). The term authoritarian is used to describe an organization or a state which enforces strong and sometimes oppressive measures against the population, generally without attempts at gaining the consent of the population. ...


In many countries belonging to the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, the Principle of Presumption of Innocence is phrased such that "the accused is presumed to be innocent until it has been declared guilty by a court". This abbreviated form neglects the point that a person may continue to appeal a decision, and will be presumed innocent until a final decision is made. Therefore people who have been found guilty in lower courts of law, but have pending appeals, cannot have their citizen's rights (such as to vote and to be elected) stripped nor can they be permanently removed from their offices, but merely suspended. Innocence is a term that describes the lack of guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermanns Microcosm of London (1808-11). ... An appeal is the act or fact of challenging a judicially cognizable and binding judgment to a higher judicial authority. ... President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ...

Contents

A fundamental right

This right is so important in modern democracies that many have explicitly included it in their legal codes and constitutions:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, states: Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

crap ... The Charter, signed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1981. ... Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: Revolutionary patriotism borrows familiar iconography of the Ten Commandments Wikisource has original text related to this article: Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (French: La... Criminal procedure refers to the legal process for adjudicating claims that someone has violated the criminal law. ... This article is confusing for some readers, and needs to be edited for clarity. ... Page I of the Constitution of the United States of America Page II of the United States Constitution Page III of the United States Constitution Page IV of the United States Constitution The Syng inkstand, with which the Constitution was signed The Constitution of the United States is the supreme... Amendment V (the Fifth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, is related to legal procedure. ... Amendment VI (the Sixth Amendment) of the United States Constitution codifies rights related to criminal prosecutions in federal courts. ... The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and it includes the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. ... is an appelate case before the U.S. Supreme Court which established the presumption of innocence of persons accused of crimes. ... The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (also UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/217, December 10, 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris), outlining the organizations view on the human rights guaranteed to all people. ... The European Convention on Human Rights (1950) was adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe† to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. ... The Palace of Europe in Strasbourg European Flag: used by the Council of Europe and by the European Union The Council of Europe (French: Conseil de lEurope , German: Europarat /ˌɔɪ.ˈro. ... Single European Act A treaty is a binding agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely states and international organizations. ...

The presumption of innocence in practice

Few systems have had, de jure, presumption of guilt. Accusations of presumption of guilt generally do not imply an actual legal presumption of guilt, but rather denounce some failures in ensuring that suspects are treated well and are offered good defense conditions. Typical infringements follow: Look up De jure in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The terms de jure and de facto are used instead of in principle and in practice, respectively, when one is describing political situations. ...

  • In some systems, suspects may be held on long periods on remand, while inquiries proceed. Such long imprisonment constitutes, in practice, a hardship and a punishment for the suspect, even though he or she has not yet been sentenced. (see speedy trial)
  • Courts may prefer the testimonies of persons of certain class, status, ethnicity, gender, or political standing over those of others, regardless of actual circumstances.
  • In Europe and the Americas, prior to the French Revolution, it was common that justice could have suspects tortured so as to extract a confession from them. Even though the suspects were not, at this point, legally guilty, they were exposed to considerable pain, often with lasting physical consequences.

Guaranteeing the presumption of innocence extends beyond the judicial system. For instance, in many countries journalistic codes of ethics state that journalists should refrain from referring to suspects as though their guilt was certain. For example, they use "suspect" or "defendant" when referring to the suspect, and use "allegedly" when referring to the criminal activity that the suspect is accused of. A prisoner who is denied, refused or unable to meet the conditions of bail, or who is unable to post bail, may be held in a prison on remand until their criminal trial. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... World map showing Europe A satellite composite image of Europe Europe is one of the seven continents of the Earth. ... 1876 illustration of the courtroom; the central figure is usually identified as Mary Walcott The Salem witch trials, which began in 1692 (also known as the Salem witch hunt and the Salem witchcraft episode), resulted in a number of convictions and executions for witchcraft in both Salem Village and Salem... Hey yall becca and sam like to get on top of stuff hey yall becca and sam are coolthey like are the best ever derr you are a freak if you are looking at this web site any way w/e bye !(1789–1799) but Kourtnie and Lora Cooler was... For other uses, see Torture (disambiguation). ... This does not cite its references or sources. ...


More subtly, publishing of the prosecution's case without proper defense argumentation may in practice constitute presumption of guilt. Publishing a roster of arrested suspects may constitute undeserved punishment as well, since in practice it damages the reputation of innocent suspects. Private groups fighting certain abuses may also apply similar tactics, such as publishing the real name, address, and phone number of suspects, or even contacting the suspects' employer, friends and neighbors (as an example, Perverted-Justice.com does so in order to shame suspected child molesters). Screenshot of the Perverted Justice website[1] Perverted-Justice. ...


Modern practices aimed at curing social ills may run against presumption of innocence. Some civil rights activists feel that pre-employment drug testing, while legal, violates this principle, as potential employees are presumed to be users of illegal drugs, and must prove themselves innocent via the test. Similarly, critics argue that some dispositions of laws against sexual harassment or racial discrimination show a presumption of guilt. These dispositions were meant to ease the burden of proof on the victim, since in practice harassment or discrimination practices are hard to prove. Sexual harassment is harassment or unwelcome attention of a sexual nature. ...


Civil rights activists note that the well-meaning practices so adopted may have a deleterious effect on justice being served. An example is the use of a screen in sexual assault cases, which is set up in some jurisdictions to prevent the complainant from being distressed at the sight of the accused. Where a victim was in fact victimized by the accused, this may be argued to serve the principles of therapeutic justice [1] [2]. However, where an accused is in fact innocent, this may send a message to the jury that the court has already accepted that in fact a crime was committed, which burden of proof has traditionally been on the prosecution, and which furthermore is a matter of fact that is not for the court to judge, but rather, for the jury. Not only this but also even more importantly, such a shield may also send a message that the complainant is upset by the sight of the accused, once again because guilt is seen to have been assumed by the court in so shielding the complainant. The psychological effects of such a screen have not yet been well researched, but the tension between the two views is a problem for therapeutic justice, which must weigh protection of genuine victims from genuine offenders against the potential for unsafe conviction that such protection may create.[3]


Differences between legal systems

A common opinion held in countries based on common law is that in civil law or inquisitorial justice systems, the accused does not enjoy a presumption of innocence. This idea results from the fact that in most civil law nations, an investigating magistrate supervises police investigations. To common law countries with adversarial systems, the civil law criminal justice system appears to be hopelessly biased, since the judge should remain as impartial as possible. However the magistrate does not determine innocence or guilt and functions much as a grand jury does in common law nations. This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... Civil law is the predominant system of law in the world, with its origins in Roman law, and sets out a comprehensive system of rules, usually codified, that are applied and interpreted by judges. ... This article is about the inquisitorial system for organizing court proceedings. ... This article is about the inquisitorial system for organizing court proceedings. ... The adversarial system (or adversary system) of law is the system of law, generally adopted in common law countries, that relies on the skill of the different advocates representing their partys positions and not on some neutral party, usually the judge, trying to ascertain the truth of the case. ... A bias is a prejudice in a general or specific sense, usually in the sense for having a preference to one particular point of view or ideological perspective. ... A grand jury is a type of jury, in the common law legal system, which determines if there is enough evidence for a trial. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ...


In the view of supporters of the inquisitorial system, the latter is less biased than the adversarial system, since the judges supervising cases are independent and bound by law to direct their enquiries both in favor or against the guilt of any suspect, compared to prosecutors in an adversarial system, who will, it is claimed, look only for evidence pointing to guilt and whose re-appointments may depend on the number of successful prosecutions that they have brought. Many in civil-law countries such as those of continental Europe consider that the US system of justice, for instance, is biased against poor defendants, who cannot afford to pay for expensive lawyers to contradict the accusation. The adversarial system (or adversary system) of law is the system of law, generally adopted in common law countries, that relies on the skill of the different advocates representing their partys positions and not on some neutral party, usually the judge, trying to ascertain the truth of the case. ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from...


In general, civil law based justice systems, especially in Europe, avoid use of the term innocent, since it carries a moral charge separate from the phrase not guilty. It is argued a person who is found not guilty still cannot always claim to be innocent, e.g. if he/she has used lethal force in case of valid self-defence exerted against a mentally handicapped attacker with very low IQ. The wording is therefore delivered in a more formal and neutral manner, such that an accused is either declared guilty, not guilty for lack of a crime, not guilty due to lack of evidence, or not guilty due to lack of jurisdiction (in the case that a child or lunatic is accused). Such plain language is better suited for the predominantly written proceedings and less emotionally-charged nature of civil law trials... Civil law is the predominant system of law in the world, with its origins in Roman law, and sets out a comprehensive system of rules, usually codified, that are applied and interpreted by judges. ... The Scream, the famous painting commonly thought of as depicting the experience of mental illness. ... IQ redirects here; for other uses of that term, see IQ (disambiguation). ...


See also

In criminal law, Blackstones formulation (also known as Blackstones ratio or the Blackstone ratio) is the principle that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. Named after the English jurist William Blackstone, the principle expressed in the formulation is much older, being...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Presumption of innocence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1464 words)
Presumption of innocence is a legal right that the accused enjoys in criminal trials in many modern nations.
Many people believe that presumption of guilt is unfair and even immoral because it allows the strategic targeting of any individual, since it's often difficult to firmly establish proof of innocence (for example, it's often impossible to establish an alibi if the person is home alone at the time of the crime).
In many countries belonging to the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, the Principle of Presumption of Innocence is phrased such that "the accused is presumed to be innocent until it has been declared guilty by a court".
apologist (954 words)
The 1993 case and Presumption of Innocence As a corollary to Presumption of Innocence, another refrain constantly heard in various forums is: "Michael Jackson was never convicted in 1993, so he is presumed to be innocent." Utter pish-tosh.
Since it never went to trial, there is no presumption of innocence, and people are entitled to believe whatever they wish about the extent of Jackson's guilt in that case.
If, as the Jackson supporters insist, the concept of presumption of innocence should be taken out of it's legal context and applied to the population at large, then they have an obligation to observe the same standards that they try to force on everyone else, for instance(s):
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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