Is there more to being “innocent until proven guilty”?

For a country that claims to always give everyone a fair trial and presumes them innocent until proven guilty, we have lost the ability to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. This has become a controversy, as new cases arise we begin to question whether innocent until proven guilty is really in fact true.

When you’re set free, are you really free? Or does everyone still think you’re guilty? I think this questions is always something we all think especially whenever we know that the person is truly guilty but are set free. From the get go we all make presumptions about the person, and we like to write them off as guilty or innocent. I think this question is hard to answer because there are different instances where the person really is innocent. When this question was brought up, I immediately thought of the movie Gone Girl. This movie is about a “happily” married couple. On their 50th anniversary, the wife goes missing. Of course, the husband is automatically seen as a suspect (so we assume he did something to her). So they arrest him and there is a lot of evidence that could convict him but in the end they let him go, the town still believes he had something to do with her disappearance. I would continue to tell you about the movie but I don’t want to spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it (it’s a great movie)! I think this movie is a great example of how we automatically make assumptions and we do this because we think that all this evidence has to mean they are guilty. Many of the articles I read expressed that we as humans automatically judge people and they discuss whether making an assumption of the suspect is right. So I think the question goes further into do assumptions affect you even after you’re set free?

Is the evidence always enough to convict people? Evidence can be very beneficial to the suspect or VERY convicting at times. I read an article that really interested me and I thought it really touched on this question. “It is critical to remember that “innocent until proven guilty” is a legal term and that just because a person is viewed  under the law as “innocent” does not mean that they did not commit the offense.  It simply means that a jury was unable to unanimously agree that the government was able to prove the crime beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt.” I thought this statement was very clear that evidence isn’t enough sometimes. Even though we many think that person is guilty, evidence will not be sufficient. Or the other way, sometimes evidence will seem to be enough to convict the person. I think further and question how do we know what is enough evidence or what isn’t enough? Does the court always use all the evidence provided or do they pick what they believe will help/convict the suspect after they have made their own assumptions of the suspect?

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ruth-grant/innocent-until-proven-gui_b_1166054.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-abrams/presumed-innocent-bernie_b_170933.html

http://boz.religionnews.com/2015/01/16/innocent-proven-guilty-really-mean/

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