A Question of Guilt

Exonerees Speak at Innocence Project 2013 Gala

The True Story Behind Conviction

"An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.  ~~Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)
"An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. ~~Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)

Update 7-15-2014: This atrocity is still a serious life destroying issue read one mans story here.

We the people are guaranteed, by our constitution, the right to a FAIR and unbiased trial. Does it happen, and if so, for whom? Unless you are wealthy and can buy the best criminal defense attorney, it is not going to happen. A few good attorneys do pro-bono work, and they usually have a backlog of clients. Therefore, most of us, without the funds, will have to rely on court appointed attorneys; God help us!

I observed a few court sessions before writing this article and I was appalled at how biased and unfair our judicial system has become. Judges, DA’s, lawyers and politicians, have turned to a subjective agenda to maintain their positions and/or move up that preverbal judicial ladder. This leaves citizens at the (no pun intended) mercy of the court!

One case I listened to was a sex offense charge, which, by all appearances, takes on an automatic--- GUILTY---until proven innocent viewpoint. The young man was in his twenty’s when he became involved with a girl who lied about her age. She was 3 weeks away from turning 18, and had ignored her mother’s warnings to stay away from him. Unfortunately, her mother utterly detested this man. When the girl ended up pregnant, the mother initiated a sex offense charge against him.

Did the girl testify in court as to her accountability in this sorted mess---NO! Instead, she sat in silence and enabled the conviction of this young man. A crime she willingly participated in with full knowledge of the potential outcome for herself and him. Thus, because of our myopic legal system and an overzealous DA, he is now serving a prison sentence. Upon release, he will carry the scarlet letter of a sex offender thanks to registry laws.

In my opinion, all who became involved with this case handled it irresponsibly. First, and foremost, the parents should have made their daughter accountable for her actions. They also should have talked with the young man concerning her real age. The judge should have exercised better decision making by throwing the case out of court. Finally, yet importantly, the mother’s vindictive way in handling the situation deserved a reprimand from the judge.

Here are the egregious results of sex offender laws; did you know that children as young as four years old are not excluded from this charge or the registry? Did you know that urinating outside is a crime under this offense and will be prosecuted as such. Oh, and it will require whomever commits the dastardly deed to register as a sex offender!

We have become a society of “unaccountable” and unjust individuals. Our children live with this type of role model each day. The lack of educating one’s self on sex offense crimes is the driving force behind the constant changing of its laws ---and all for the worse. In fact, I was discussing my thoughts on this article with a friend recently. She expressed her carefulness with hugging (excluding her own family) when it involves a person of any age. How horrible that an innocent hug can, by assumption, be manipulated into something so ugly and perverse.

This whole experience prompted me to do further research on not only this crime, but also on a term I found called “false confessions.” Here’s an area of true police brutality! Many individuals are serving sentences for crimes they did not commit including sex offenses. Did you know officers can lie on the witness stand and they have immunity; you or I would go to jail for perjury.

Here’s another dreadful fact, there are individuals who have been executed, and later found to be innocence through DNA. Do you know how the state justifies the indefensible? With an answer of “it is not a crime to execute an innocent person!”

After learning about this hideous response by our courts, it reinforced my stand against the death penalty. It is also my stern belief that no jury should be allowed to request or hand down a death sentence. I have sat on a few juries, and not all in attendance took the time to assess evidence and ask questions. One man even told me, “If the police officer said it happened, it’s good enough for me.” Well sir, it’s not for me; there is a technicality called REASONABLE DOUBT!

I cannot stress enough that knowledge is power so educate yourself about our broken justice system. A sex offender crime has an extremely low recidivism rate. Of course, the media hides that detail. The outrageous laws surrounding this type of crime, and the abuse of its sentencing structure, are a threat to everyone. The links I have provided will supply you with compelling proof.

Let me just stress here that I do not condone any type of crime against an individual. What I am trying to instill is the dangerous groundwork laid by our political appointees, our legal system and faulty decision making by the public. Knowledge, facts and undebatable proof should be the only resources used for establishing guilt---not emotion or hear say.

Resources for your use:

John Grisham-- An Innocent Man/Non-Fiction

Movie Righteous Kill—Police officers talk about the corruption within their ranks and their blue wall of silence.

Criminal Justice and Police Perjury

THE INNOCENT PROJECT

Will you join me in the fight to free innocent people from prison?

I’m a member of the Innocence Project’s online community and I’m writing to invite you to join, too. It just takes 30 seconds, and you can sign up here - http://www.innocenceproject.org/youare. You’ll receive timely updates about the Innocence Project’s work and you’ll learn about opportunities to get involved.

I hope you agree with me that wrongful convictions are a pressing issue facing our country. The Innocence Project uses DNA testing to free innocent people from prison and pursues reforms that prevent wrongful convictions nationwide. It doesn't cost a dime to get involved. The Innocence Project needs more supporters in all 50 states to call upon for action when there's a case in need of attention or a reform bill before the state legislature.

The next few months are a critical time for the Innocence Project -- with federal and state reforms moving forward and an important U.S. Supreme Court case next month. They need us now more than ever. Can I count on you to join me?

You can learn more about their work and sign up for their email updates at http://www.innocenceproject.org/youare

Thank you for standing up against injustice.

P.S. You can also connect with the Innocence Project on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and YouTube.

Facebook: http://www.innocenceproject.org/facebook

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/innocenceblog

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/innocenceproject

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/innocenceproject

Comments 19 comments

billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

A very important hub about the destruction and annihilation of innocents. Firstly as you point out the majority think if someone is charged or even accused the majority assumes them to be guilty of a crime, whatever it maybe. The more heinous like sex crimes then a fair trial is unlikely. There is a further problem as pointed out the way people are labeled sex offenders. One of the most reprehensible acts is child sex offenders and that should be IMHO given a different charge or designation than sex offender. this is also in view of the innocent factor and the labeling of some of the acts Nancy pointed out as sex crimes. Given how disgusting the crimes are it it even more essential that the GUILTY not the INNOCENT are charged and put away.

Innocence is affectively denied when TPTB go after someone attacking their character and using all their funds to defend themselves. The masses shirking responsibility generally believe and take TPTB or the establishments side. Very sad and I could go on all day about this about some of the stuff I have seen over the years - you would be shocked. Basically be very wary in trusting and cling to your rights. Remember destroying the innocence also devastates their family and friends or others that may rely on them. Sady this issue is swept under the bed by most people until it affects them or someone close to them. Thanks for the hub Nancy.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 6 years ago from USA Author

Delores thanks for your comment and believe me, the Sex Offender laws are used against innocent people every day. It doesn’t take much to get caught up in this foul label. Kids as young as 5 & 6 (see above links) have suffered the scourge of this law…The accusation of such a charge doesn’t have to be true, it just has to be made and your guilty until proven innocent; by then, your life, character and reputation has been ruined.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Nancy, unfortunately, we seem to be a country that is moving away from the original concept of a government by the people and for the people. It's all about money and the power that it can purchase. There seems to be no real justice but a sad mockery of justice.

I have known that public urination goes down as a sex offense. How stupid to slap such an awful label on some dimwit who happens to relieve his bladder in an alley - probably had too much to drink. Stupid, yes. Illegal, okay. but to be forever labeled and thought of as some kind of sicko predator is unconscionable.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 6 years ago from USA Author

RK,

Thanks for your comment and visiting my hub …In answer to your question, I am completely opposed to the death sentence for many reasons but most definitely for the reasons mentioned in my article. Bad things happen---but a rape crime does not equate to murder?

The Supreme Court was right in rejecting the death penalty sentence for rape. Rape, is an accusation that does not have to be true, it just needs to be made. Victims, by choice, will stay in that role or decide to move on and live life as a survivor…

“Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are."

~~Bernice Johnson Reagon


RK Sangha profile image

RK Sangha 6 years ago from USA

Thanks for a very good hub on conviction of innocents. Its really bad and a shame on civilized society. Yesterday I wrote a hub "A call for Death sentence to a confirmed rapist" but after reading your instant hub, I am thinking now whether I did right ? Or should I remove this hub of mine ? Till the judicial system becomes really responsible ?


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Tony for your comment...It sounds like both of our political dynasties are morally deficient…Hopefully, next election will see them ushered out the door. Whatever happens, I will continue to support the innocent project by promoting their material thru my hubs and blogs…

Blessings to you and yours…

"The beginning is always today."~~Mary Wollstonecraf


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

It is horrifying that so many innocent people go to jail, and some are even executed in error. Justice systems all over the world are corrupt to one degree or another. They cannot be otherwise, in view of the great power wielded by the people who operate the system - as Acton said about power, it tends to corrupt. And any system is only as good as the people who operate it. And we all know that humans are fallible and corruptable, some more than others.

South Africa has a brilliant, enlightened constitution and a whole host of excellent legislation, but still criminals get away with, literally, murder, and innocent people suffer at the hands of a system which, while great in concept, falls down because of the people who run it.

And of course, politicians being politicians, exploit this wholesale, to win votes and to save their own skins, whichever is needed at the time.

Keep up the work of the innocence project which will helop greatly to improve the system and hopefully the people who run it.

Love and peace

Tony


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Sweetie Pie, thanks for commenting on this issue. I to cringe when the letter arrives for jury duty. Nevertheless, take with you what you have read and viewed here. The most important thing to remember is this, “when reasonable doubt and proof exists” then guilt does not exist.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Very important issues that your bring to our attention here. Personally I know it sounds bad, but I do dread jury duty.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

mulberry

Thanks, for taking the time to read and comment on this particular article. It is extremely important that individuals know their rights. The more you read on our unfair-judicial system, the angrier you become.

Most of the overzealous prosecuting attorneys and judges are driven by political gain. Therefore, they are establishing legal precedents that are outrageous and unconstitutional. Example, the three strikes you’re out law, mandatory sentencing, and etc.

I recently read a report, which stated that the United States had 5% of the world’s population, of that 25% are incarcerated. This statistic should concern all of us!


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 7 years ago

Interesting. My husband often watches a show called American Justice and I have seen several episodes that look at cases related to the "Innocence Project" as well as a look at related cases that point out some of the odd trends in our justice system. You learn alot and not all of it is good!


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Thank you LondonGirl...I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and comment on its importance.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I cared - I thought it was very interesting.


issues veritas 7 years ago

Nancy,

Keep up the fight.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Veritas

Thanks for your comment and taking the time to read this blog. I’m appalled at how badly broken our justice system is. I'm also a fighter when it comes to principle. Research (plus jurors experience) has made my resolve on getting the word out there even stronger. It’s one reason I joined the Innocent Project…


issues veritas 7 years ago

Nancy

I did a hub on the presumption of innocence and no one seemed to care.

My viewpoint is that while it technically exists, it disappears as soon as a person becomes a suspect or even a person of interest.

This is similar to your experience as a juror that you mention in your hub.

Once someone is arrested, there is no way back to innocent, even if there is no conviction.

The trial is a mere formality.

Not that I want to protect the bad guys, just the really innocent.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Thanks premsingh for commenting on this article. Your right, it saddens me that our judicial system, at all levels, fails to exhibit the values of decency and reason.

 


premsingh profile image

premsingh 7 years ago

I am shocked to learn that problems are similar in nature everywhere. Corruption in system exists even in developed countries. Money and power counts even in judicial matters and judicial system is not fair to ordinary citizens even in advanced countries. Anyways, you have touched upon the issues that relates to all. Thumbs up.


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

another good hub

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working