Presumption of Guilt

1 Dec 2017 /

But some female lawmakers, like New York’s Kathleen Rice, have begun to ask why elected officials aren’t being drummed out like their private sector counterparts.

“You see the actions that CBS, NBC take when there are allegations against very well-known men in positions of power, and we don’t do the same,” Rice said. “I think it’s a disgrace.”

Kathleen Rice

Kathleen Rice

“Allegations.”

She’s talking about Al Franken and John Conyers. The Franken case has photographic evidence, so the allegations against him are provably true.

But Conyers vehemently denies the allegations made against him. Why should he be “drummed out”? Why is there a presumption of guilt?

Anyone who’s ever been alone with another person can be the subject of allegations. Why is there a presumption in favor of the accuser?

A case study on false allegations, which you probably remember if you’re old enough, is the McMartin preschool trial:

Members of the McMartin family, who operated a preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, were charged with numerous acts of sexual abuse of children in their care. Accusations were made in 1983. Arrests and the pretrial investigation ran from 1984 to 1987, and the trial ran from 1987 to 1990. After six years of criminal trials, no convictions were obtained, and all charges were dropped in 1990. When the trial ended in 1990, it had been the longest and most expensive criminal trial in American history — Wikipedia

When charges were finally dismissed against one of the defendants, teacher Ray Buckey, he had been jailed for five years.


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