Has anyone noticed the burden of proof shift from prosecutor- guilt to defendant proving innocence?
It is hard to answer that question for the whole country. It needs some context to answer.
I would say that the phrase, Innocent until proven Guilty is not true. From the moment a person is deemed even a person of interest much less arrested for a crime, there is a social cloud on their head that flashes Guilty.
Once that shroud appears, the person will never be innocent regardless of the outcome. I wrote a hub on it, but the bottom line is at the end of the trial, there are two outcomes, Guilty or Not Guilty, and Not Guilty is not the same as Innocent, because many person will assume guilt, and that the person escaped justice.
Reasonable doubt is a very strange concept for jurors, and today circumstantial evidence muddles that doubt. Today, circumstantial evidence is a story weaved by the prosecution to try and convict without a smoking gun held by the defendant. So the side that tells the most convincing story usually wins.
Part of this is the growing reliance on judges over juries with judges deferring to the prosecution.
The overloaded courts punishing people who don't take plea bargains contributes to the excessive piling on of crimes. The prosecutor charges you with 5 things that equal 50 years in prison but offer a 5 years in jail if you plead guilty, whereas if you go to jury trial, they try to compromise with the prosecutor so you get 25 years (and they assume with all those charges, you're really, really guilty).
When it comes to civil forfeiture, yes, they assume lots of cash equals criminal activity and seize it - and then you can't get it back without going to trial and proving the innocence of the property. Institute for Justice is fighting that, but it is a program at both the federal and state levels.
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