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Guilty It's the law
Guilty? Not On Your life.
It is true that a good and competent attorney may guide a client through some of the pitfalls inherent in the justice system.
Woe anyone who gets trapped by the system. It may be years or never getting out of it. If you are innocent, well, once convicted, there is no innocence. If a court tramples your rights while a lawyer stands by with a dumb look on his face, maybe there's a deal and the defendant is just another piece of paper to be filed away, locked up, and forgotten.
Once released, there will be good citizens who will happily burn the accused out of the neighborhood. They will make sure that there will be no job, and harass and intimidate with death threats, little visits to the job, if there is one, the neighborhood, church, and even shops and stores. They can break into the computer, home, the car, and make sure they destroy anything they feel like--take records out of the house, break in while someone is home and threaten to maim and kill. They throw acid on the car, flatten the tires, stage drive by intimidation rallies with a hundred car parade.
Very often an innocent defendant will plead guilty in exchange for a certain outcome that might help to avoid a prison sentence, if wrongly convicted. Not everyone can deal with the judgment of the community that comes with a trial. Many defendants do not trust that they will get a fair shake by the system.
Oddly enough, criminals recognize an innocent man in jail or prison. It is also a myth that all criminals go around proclaiming their innocence. In fact the exact opposite is true. The criminal carries his conviction around as a symbol of pride. Most are guilty and afraid that if they deny guilt, they will lose face with fellow inmates. While watching television, inmates' cheers are for the bad guys. Except the innocent, who will silently cheer for the good guys.
If one looks at the miserable record of the system when it comes to murder convictions, it is replete with errors, illegal police activities, outright bias by the judge who hears the case, and phony witness identification of innocent defendants. "Jailhouse" witnesses who were denounced as liars at their own trial may testify against the defendant in exchange for favors, such as early release or confinement close to home.
One advocacy group for wrongly convicted murderers found at least 13 men out of 50 not guilty! The point is, the justice system is terribly harsh on the guilty as well as the innocent. There is no need for community retaliation against some who may not even be criminals.
The old prosecutor sell that only the guilty pay for crimes is not true. With good, legal representation sometimes the guilty go free. And sometimes the innocent are dragged through the system that will often extract a pint of blood at every turn. The reason? Because they can. Or, simply because it makes someone look good.
Community police have increased standards and often go out of their way to make sure they are fair and unbiased. Professionalism and pride are very high in most communities and there is little reason for the police to gain a conviction of someone who is innocent.
When politics are involved, such as when a District Attorney who wishes to keep the political wheels greased is interested only in a conviction, rights get trampled. Innocent, accused may be caught in a web of circumstances that causes honest people to make mistakes and vote the wrong way in a jury trial.
A doctor was convicted in California on circumstantial evidence of brutally killing his wife. His innocence was not proven until after he had spent 30 years behind bars. The prosecutor insisted the doctor was guilty, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence, including capture of the one-armed man described to a tee by the doctor who barely survived the same attack that killed his wife.
This case was made famous by the media and Hollywood which made a popular television series about it. Sadly, shortly after his release, the by now broken and in poor health victim of the system died.
The famous cases of punished innocence will become known but nothing is done to change the perception that everyone accused is guilty. The falsely accused is feeling very much the same as a convicted murderer when he shares the same prison cell. A conviction, regardless of the crime is a life killer. Those convicted of non-capital crimes should be allowed similar reviews as accused murderers. most of those accused of lesser crimes will serve as much or more time than the murderer. After prison, the real trial begins, and that is survival.