Saturday, March 13, 2010

Innocence ('89)

This letter of mine was published in the LATimes Feb. 1989:

[Colman] McCarthy tells of 23 wrongful executions, and how many people find that acceptable. It horrifies me, and I am ashamed for our country.

Doesn't anyone else remember civics classes which taught "innocent until proven guilty," and "the burden of proof is on the prosecution," and "better that 100 criminals go free than that one innocent person is convicted"? I remember how proud I was to learn that our justice system honored those exacting rules.

It wasn't just me. Everyone I knew really believed in those precepts. When did that change?

Today, anyone speaking up for such ideals is ridiculed as "soft on crime" and as "caring more about the rights of the criminal than the rights of the victim."

No one sees any distinction between "accused" and "guilty" when it comes to violent crimes; instead anyone charged with a violent crime is labeled a criminal. The general public and, of course, all politicians, have joined the prosecutors and police in decrying rules which protect the accused.

When did it change?

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