It is a fact that, according to the judicial system in the US, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty – we all know that. But what we need to do is look at the reasons why ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is simply not true. Although many criminals are caught in the act, many are not, and thus members of the police force and other similar investigative units work hard to catch people they believe – through probable cause – have committed a crime.
Sometimes, even though they have been schooled and are skilled in this profession, they are not 100% right. If a person is caught in the act, that is an entirely different ball game. There is no need to prove their guilt because they were caught while committing the crime. However, in the case of speculation (probable cause), a person who is thought to be guilty is often harassed, questioned, badgered, and faces several trips to the police station to try and sort things out. More often than not, they are placed under arrest at their home, their place of work, or even right out on the street. This is why people aren’t innocent until proven guilty – the negative stigma that is attached to the wrongly accused stays with them forever.
After the initial shock wears off, the person who has been arrested faces a ‘reputation’ that they never live down. No matter if they are 100% innocent, the stigma of being falsely accused, lives with them forever. They might lose their family or their job, and some people find it impossible to shake the stress that comes with dealing with the police in the public eye when they’ve done nothing wrong. Even if they move out of state, they are still under a watchful eye; the record of the arrest follows them throughout their lifetime – even if it is erased from their record.
For these reasons, many believe that the US judicial system needs a good overhaul. Many changes need to be made, and one of them is discretion by authorities to make sure that they are not taking someone into custody who has done nothing wrong.
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