We all have different jobs to do in the American Legal System
People commonly ask, "How can you sleep at night defending criminals?" The truth I am amazed at how quickly people jump to conclusions about a person's guilty. It is easy for a person to comprehend that an officer should, and commonly does, error on the side of caution. It only makes sense to arrest a person if they believe the individual may be too impaired to safety operate an motor vehicle. In fact, I hope they do. It is also well known that the level needed to make an arrest is "Probable Cause" to believe the crime was committed. It is also universally known that "Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" is needed to convict a person at jury trial for a crime in the United States.
All too often people believe I enjoy picking at technicalities and getting guilty people off. I can truly say that most of the time guilty people going home free, is not the problem today in our court system. It is quite the opposite. Innocent people, convicted absent proof beyond a reasonable doubt because jury's assume guilty is a much larger problem in today's court. The proof is the fact that jury's all too often convict, when the separation between the proof needed, "beyond a reasonable doubt" and the evidence needed to make an arrest, "probable cause standard" leaves such a large gap any statistical analysis would truly show there is a problem. Either the officers are failing to arrest, or the jury's are failing to hold the government to their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
One example is an article in the Fresno Bee newspaper on Friday October 31st. The Headline read, "Wrong way driver arrested on DUI charges in Fatal Highway 180 collision" in brief it states a Fresno man was arrested on charges of DUI after a fatal wrong-way crash early that morning on highway 180. The CHP said Gurpinder Gill age 26 was westbound n the highways' eastbound lane about 12:30 am in a Nissan Altima when his car collided head-on with a Toyota Camry east of Fowler Ave. The Coroner identified the man who died, and other passenger sustained major injuries. Gill only sustained minor injuries. The crash remains under investigation. No other details were available. (Not a direct quote of the entire article)
I use this article to illustrate my point that people jump to conclusions, and feel they know the entire story. We only know that a the individual is suspected of DUI, appears to have been driving the wrong way on a major highway, and was involved in a fatal accident. There isn't a single mention of alcohol or drugs being in his system in the entire article. Yet, many people would jump straight to conviction, without paying attention to the details. A now retired judge once said something along the lines of, "We don't know if they are guilty, that is why we have trials." I would hope the general public can keep an open mind about the different standards for arrest and conviction. Give the officer credit-for doing their job well, arresting at the probable cause standard, and jurors must remember to do their job, and hold the government to their burden.
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