If a person is accused of having committed a crime, do you believe that they should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are proven guilty?

If a person is accused of having committed a crime, do you believe that they should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are proven guilty?
It seems that the media wants to have the public decide an accused person's guilt or innocence on the basis of what they (the media) choose to tell us about an accusation, rather than waiting for that person to have a fair trial. What do you think about that? Are we giving the media too much power? If you think the media is objective and fair. . . do you remember the media coverage of the allegations against the Duke lacrosse team? Remember Rolling Stone's "expose" about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity?

  • Yes, I believe in the presumption of innocence ALWAYS
    Vote A
  • Yes, I believe in the presumption of innocence but sometimes the allegations are "obviously" true
    Vote B
  • No, I do NOT believe in the presumption of innocence
    Vote C
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3d
If you are a victim of a crime and you feel that you have been treated unfairly, I understand and sympathize with that. What happened to you in your case is probably not a reason to change the entire judicial system. And if you are that sensitive about what happened ) such as a user who recently blocked me because I questioned her source for information), please state your personal stake at the outset. It is not my intent to offend anyone with this discussion.

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Have an opinion?

What Girls Said 20

  • I believe names shouldn't be allowed to be printed until found guilty but that's just me. It doesn't mean I think that person is innocent but it stops witch hunts. Especially since I read about Christopher Jefferies losing his entire life, essentially, after having committed no crime and had a trial by media. He simply looked odd and that was it. So, presume guilt in as far as to investigate but do not print it for the word to see.

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  • I think the problem with the latest hollywood scandals is that typically victims are telling the truth. We are walking a fine line because we don't want to call accusers liars, but we also don't want to get the pitch forks out unless someone is proven guilty.

    With the way that these alleged crimes were committed, it's hard to prove because they were behind closed doors. As well as there being a whole bunch of people who knew, but didn't do anything, and rumours surrounding the behaviour. For Wienstein it was well known he was an abuser. But no one wanted to come forward for fear of never working again.

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    • 3d

      Have these "alleged crimes" be proven? How do you "prove" it's not a lie? You can't say "i just know" in a court. Anyone can do that.

  • Usually when someone is accused of committing a crime, there is the assumption that the accuser has evidence that the accused is guilty. However, in the case of rape or sexual assault accusations it's a bit trickier because it's difficult to provide hard evdience. That's why the 'innocent until proven guilty' philosophy should only really be confined to the courts. I'm not going to not believe someone was raped because they have no evidence. Accusations should be taken seriously, with or without evidence.

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    • 3d

      So if a girl accuses a guy of rape, you believe it is true unless he proves he is innocent?

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    • 2d

      As much as I hate president dumbass. I have no reason to believe those women.

    • 2d

      @Tyberius I didn't ask whether you believe them or not.. but okay.

  • Media spotlights of alleged victims does challenge the cornerstone of the American justice system, Presumption of innocence. Sometimes to the detriment of the falsely accused. I count on the legal system to sort out fact from fiction. when this does irreparable harm to the falsely accused, I count on the court system agin for monetary reparations.

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  • It's not up to the public to decide the guilt OR innocence of anyone. However the average person is not unbiased enough to keep their personal opinions out of matters that have nothing to do with them. Media should have zero involvement. But they don't, because they feed off our desire to feel self important.

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  • in the law there is a presumption of innocence . (so i agree the question is worded weird ) .
    BUT in law there is also a degree of impartiality and credibility acknowledged equally
    for the accuser and the accused . or there should be . but it does not always
    work out that way . bc just as with public opinion and with media interference
    that can be unfair and biased based on social and political positions . so too can there be
    bias in the justice system where in courtrooms are some judges and attorneys who intentionally
    offset negate and ignore that balance of impartiality and credibility due to their own prejudices .
    all of which has nothing to do with each side having the right and duty to impeach the other
    in order to win .

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    • 2d

      A jury does not return a verdict of guilty or innocent. A jury returns a verdict of guilty or not guilty. The wording of the question just reflects my legal experience. It would make perfect sense to another lawyer but not to lay people.

    • 2d

      got it thanks

  • Honestly, we should be verifying and investigating, and get witnesses. Without confirmation there shouldn't be any punishment however by then the accused person can't just be let alone.

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  • It's situational. You can come to your own conclusions but legally you need to be presumed innocent unless there is no shadow of a doubt that a crime is committed. You aren't guilty just because you've been accused of something unfortunately.

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  • The presumption of innocence applies to criminal law, not public shame and outrage.

    I believe in it in a legal sense, but in the modern age not all bad behaviour is illegal, and people have a right to speak out.

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    • 3d

      Having the right to do something does not mean that it is the right thing to do,

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    • 2d

      That sounds like witch burning. Courts do present precedents when they arise or contradict dur to technicalities and 95% they workout. you're in the territory of people on the other side of the bench being incompetent. It is literally a battle of words and factual evidence in there.
      What you are implying is akin to witch hunts and Can and Do go out of control and can be radicalized... so no fucking thanks.

    • 2d

      @sexymonkeybanana I'm not saying I agree with it, I'm just saying its the reality. The public have a voice and they will use it.

  • 1 in 7 people on death row in Texas are innocent statistically.

    They've been get fair trials and the whole suspect line up or flip book is flawed forcing the victim to pick the best match.

    The one word I'm tired of hearing is "media". Broad term meaning any actor that participates in agame of telephone and rumors like Perez Hilton.

    Media, media , media...

    You can lashout as a private citizen but not POTUS. And the people covering his beat are journalists and reporters doing their best to keep personal beliefs out and be balanced.

    Trump got a fair analysis on his Asia trip so far.

    Reporting is media but lot all media is reporting. Such as thia post.

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    • 3d

      "You can lashout as a private citizen but not POTUS. . . ." Trouble sticking to the subject?

    • 2d

      Not really. You're yet again blaming this omnipotent boogeyman framed as "the media" for a cast full of problems.

      The issue of innocent until proven guilty is a very real one that take place from the time of arrest by the police and then the prosecutors. They will prosecute a person they know they have a very weak case for because that's what landed on their desk.

      Jurors often go in with preconceived notions.

      My sidestep on POTUS and the judicial system is his interfering and yelling send him to GTMO.

      I assume you tirade is about Roy Moore. Everyone says alledged but if you zoom out and look at the mains professional history only he isn't fit to serve any public office. My opinion and now he's so toxic even Paul Ryan is saying kick him out.

  • Innocent until proven guilty

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  • I do believe in the concept of innocent until proven guilty in a legal sense. I also don't think people's lives should be ruined over vague or hard to prove allegations. But sometimes, it is kind of obvious that accusations are probably true.

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    • 3d

      Thats the most bs hypocritical answer... you know allegations can ruin someones life even when found innocent years later

  • I’m assuming that you’re talking about the Harvey Weinstein etc cases.

    Do we not owe victims the courtesy of believing them? Would you go up to someone whose house has been broken into and robbed and say “Nah, fuck off. You’re just lying for the attention.”?

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    • 3d

      There are several incidents currently in the news that make this subject relevant.

      When the accused denies having committed the crime, do we not owe him or her the courtesy of believing them?

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    • 2d

      Anymore I automatically assume the defendant is innocent is sexual assault claim. The damage just the claim makes ruins people and it seldomly goes to court. So tired of this witch hunting, once one person says they were assaulted half of their state jumps on the bandwagon. Law by public opinion is unacceptable, and I don't believe these claims without physical evidence or a confession.

  • Yes, I believe in the presumption of innocence but sometimes the allegations are "obviously" true

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    • 3d

      "Obviously" is based on what the media reports?

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    • 2d

      I love your posts Woman!

    • 2d

      just cause all these women are accusing him doesn’t mean he did anymore or less

  • I agree with the first poll.

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  • Human nature

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  • Yes because that's what the constitution states

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    • 2d

      I meant no... it should be what the constitution states guilty until proven otherwise

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    • 2d

      I know right

    • 2d

      Never worth it

  • People can believe in the victims and agree that the person is not guilty until proven. The allegations against Harvey Weinstein are obviously true, but until he's convicted in court, no one can call him a criminal.

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    • 2d

      but how are they true for sure there no video evidence. of any of this am not saying he didn’t do it.

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    • 1d

      so if 40 women don’t like one guy say Trump is it possible for them to make up a story of sexual abuse. am not saying harvey didn’t do this am just looking at both sides and the evidence that they could come up with.

    • 1d

      @hornymike6969 If 40 women claimed they were sexually assaulted by Trump I would believe them. I would believe even if it was just one, because his character is well know. But even if I believed the victims, I don't think he should leave office (even though I would like him to get out), before going to court and being convicted. In a modern society we can't make justice through our own hands, even if we know someone is a criminal. So if we don't even have proof yet, we definitely can't call the person a criminal and have them fired. That's why there is a judicial system.

  • The judicial system that we have, when you are arrested, 99% of the time, the evidence is there and that's why you are guilty until proven innocent.
    Perfect world would be the other way around.

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    • 3d

      You should never serve on a jury.

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    • 3d

      Actually she would be excluded from serving on a jury, they ask these sorts of questions in jury selection.

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      @Smegskull Yes, I understand that very well!

  • hey older and wiser-
    I am not sure that i approve of the way you framed the question. And I also believe that you could have provided a number of answers that might have unpacked the ramifications of this question without being so one sided.
    At least I understand on what side of the political fence you stand. One thing we can both agree on though, this event is sure to polarize our country even more than it presently is.

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    • 3d

      No, I like the way i framed it because the issue really is that simple.

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    • 1d

      Yes. I readily acknowledge that my opinion is just my opinion.

      You started talking about Fox and Breitbart as examples of right-wing biased news and I responded by pointing out many more examples of left-wing biased news, to which you responded with a comment about me being more blinded than you. So, if you don't want to "trade barbs for the next 20 years," and you would prefer to have a discussion, don't sling barbs and stay on the discussion.

    • 18h

      you also stay on discussion. I think it was you who started us down this rabbit hole

What Guys Said 50

  • But of bloodyfuckingcourse they should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Any other way is barbaric.

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  • If they were arrested, I assume they are guilty, because they probably are. This is the reason why anyone in jail or prison who claims they are innocent will just get laughed at.

    However the burden of proof is still on the state. If I were on a jury, the prosecution will have to make their case.

    As for the media, this is one reason why I quit watching news 25 years ago. They sensationalize everything. I think news should be dry and boring, not entertainment and big business. The days of poker faced news is long past.

    Personally I don't think even the name of the accused should be published, let alone milking it for everything they can. This is partly the fault of the public who eat this stuff up. As long as people keep watching / reading every little tidbit of information the media can dig up, the media will keep doing it. The media sells what people want.

    People are so busy soaking up every bit of gossip they can, that thoughts of guilt or innocence don't even enter their mind any more. It's a weird form of voyeurism that people are completely fascinated with. The media is big business, and will continue feeding the frenzy as long as they can.

    I never agreed with cameras in the courtroom. I never agreed with publishing information on the accused. A jury by peers, and a public trial, are supposed to protect us, not condemn us. The intentions may be fine, but I'm not so sure about the results, at least not in the big highly publicized cases.

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      I would hope you've never done and are never selected for jury service. I have nothing but sympathy for Joanna Yeates' former landlord. Instead of waiting for evidence, the media went into a frenzy painting him as a scumbag murderer, which I'm sure was motivated by him having an eccentric demeanour. When he was cleared beyond any reasonable doubt, his life had been made a living hell despite Yeates' actual murderer being convicted.

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      @SebShaw82

      You apparently didn't read the part where I said the burden of proof is on the state.

  • Look, celebrities and politicians love to use the media by leaking stories they want told, telling paparazzi where to find them and so on. They do it for 20-30 years making money off the media but then want to whine when somebody else uses the media to tell a story they don’t like? F-k em! Live by the sword, die by the sword.

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  • There is no legality in the court of public opinion.

    I assume you're talking about Roy Moore. This is a situation in which there is little to no actual evidence one way or another, and all witness accounts are better than forty years old. It won't ever be investigated any further than this, as it's clearly past the statute of limitations.

    However, there is the court of public opinion. And much like in an actual courtroom, by this being publicized the way it is, we're being asked to pick a side. And if you don't think a lot of court cases come down to "he said, she said" and picking a side, then you've clearly never served on a jury. They have to decide who they're going to believe.

    And while there may not be any legal ramifications for judgements by the court of public opinion, there are certainly consequences. Right or wrong, people do make judgements about others. We do it all the time, and for things far more petty than criminal accusations, and without much evidence at all. Especially where public figures are concerned.

    Hell, we even stick to those personal judgements once actual courts and investigations have yielded nothing, because that's how people work.

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  • I believe that people should be "treated" as if they are innoscent, but the public can come up with their own opinions on whether or not they accused is innoscent.

    For example, whenever a story comes out I usually make internal assumptions about the person's innocence, but I don't believe in making death threats or demanding that the person loses their job unless it can be proven that they did what they are accused of.

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  • If they are accused without any evidence, then they should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

    The media is something else.

    I don't think the media have too much power bc we the people can choose to ignore everything they talk about. They do have the C. I. A. working for and with them.

    I wish the media would publicize ALL murder cases like how they for Trayvon Martin, Freddie Grey, Walter Scott, JonBenét Ramsey and many others bc I believe a lot of unsolved murders will get solved.

    If we don't like what the media is doing we all can come together and start our own media company.

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  • Rumor has it that's the way the systems supposed to work. No real data to support that these days though.

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  • Women benig more judgmental and not understanding the reasons behind "innocent until proven guilty".

    What a surprise.

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  • Not enough responses. In a court of law, you should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, the media is not state-run and therefore is essentially free to report as long as they don't threaten or knowingly slander the person in question. This freedom would be better left intact, despite the cons. Having a free press outweighs them I would think. Once the precedent has been set that restrictions can be placed on the free press in one way, it makes it easier to restrict the free press in other ways.

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    • 3d

      There was never any question of curtailing any constitutional rights and I never suggested that the press did not have the right to do what it is doing. My question presents a different and more fundamental question: is it the right thing to do?

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    • 3d

      Once again, trying to fix the general public is a fool's game. More or less people as a group will act as they always have. And it's not like the next time the news does a story about a college rape, I can take a few days off work and go do my own investigative report. That's why we have people that can go do it for me, i. e. reporters. They aren't perfect, but they're the best we got, and they are useful and competent enough most of the time.

    • 3d

      Yes, I am still a bit of an idealist.

  • With the way the legal system is now and innocent people are being charged for crimes they didn't commit, I believe more in being innocent until proven guilty. Most lawyers "proof" is so flimsy now a days.

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  • Voted B, but the legal rule here in the u. s. is that it's innocent until proven guilty. Sadly the media doesn't even believe in this and likes to frame people or misconstrue evidence. The main issue here is the stupid laws and petty laws that they have here. Like Casey Anthony was obviously guilty, but because of the legal court system not having "enough evidence" she was proven not guilty.

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  • The problem with the media in these cases is they tend to ruin peoples lives through the court of public opinion, which they largely control, despite a person's guilt or innocence.
    I think the real question we should ask as a society is; do the accused deserve the public attention they receive, or do they have a reasonable right to privacy, at least until their trial has been complete.

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  • The second option gets voted by people who let themselves being manipulated. " ... but sometimes the allegations are "obviously" true". You dont know how many cases seemed so "obviously" true but where manipulated to get innocent people in jail.

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  • Innocent until proven guilty. No compromise on that. If man isn't guilty, he should not suffer for accusations.

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  • In China, they lock you up first and then decide if you can be free. If you are innocent well get fked and rot in prison and serve the term anyways.

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    • 3d

      That's a good reason to never move to China.

    • 3d

      That is what happens when you are deemed guilty before trial. And now my uncle was accused of a crime which he did not commit. I won't be able to see him under a few years later now. by the way visiting is not allowed...

  • That is essentially why we have legal systems. The general public, and press are always too keen on making snap judgements without all the relevant information.

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  • Yes, I believe in the presumption of innocence ALWAYS

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  • In reality, you're guilty unless proven innocent. As soon as those hand cuffs you're presumed guilty. In court, you're trying to prove your innocence. Everything they tell you is bullshit

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  • The media outlets more often than not work with an agenda. For them to operate outside of that agenda would be to impede their own progress. Those who operate under such conditions as a matter of course cannot be objective.

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  • I voted A, but meant to vote B.

    I presume everyone is innocent until proven guilty unless the circumstanial evidence is overwhelming against them.

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    • 3d

      And what is your source for determining what evidence exists?

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    • 2d

      Obviously an investigation will have to take place.

    • 2d

      But the media doesn't wait for an investigation. Neither did our former president.

  • Bit of all really, I don't agree with the presumption of innocence because I feel the courts are there to prove guilt not innocent.

    So by not guilty I see it as we can't prove guilt but what the media is doing is nothing short of mob rule and I don't agree with that.

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  • Innocent until proven guilty. Except in some cases where evidence simply stacks against them such as video footage of crime. I mean seriously.

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    • 2d

      Sometimes even video isn't enough. The media may show you only a few seconds of a video and what happened earlier may actually show that the "victim" was the aggressor and the "perpetrator" was engaged in self-defense.

    • 2d

      Oh I've seen plenty of examples of that. I'm talking straight up full video proof. I don't have cable. I do my own research. That's just me though. I don't trust any news outlet. Hell I trust most people and things as far as I can throw them.

  • I believe in a fair trial, regardless of whether I think they did it.

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  • Yes. Freedom of the press is only getting stronger and stronger while freedom of speech is eroding further and further. They media can produce whatever they want but soon we won't have the power to critisise them anymore.

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  • @Astoriana the question isn't, "what does one gain from accusing someone of rape," the better question is "what does one lose once accused of rape."

    Which is everything: job, family, friends, reputation, etc.

    There are tons of cases where bitter women (and men) have accused someone of rape falsely. THIS is why you can't jump to conclusions about any case. Facts and evidence should always be considered before ignorantly sympathizing with an accuser.

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  • real life versus fantasy

    big difference that more and more cannot seem to split- very disturbing

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  • Presumption of innocence

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  • shouldn’t there be a time limit where you have to file charges how can you have evidence from 20 years ago

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    • 2d

      Yes, they are known as statutes of limitation. But they vary from state to state and a few crimes, like first degree murder, have no statute of limitation.

    • 2d

      why if we’re one country is there so many different laws from state to state EVERY. state should have the same laws wouldn’t it make a lot more sense. how can some of these women say or this guy grabbed my butt 35 years ago and now am going to file charges. Where is the evidence just cause she said so. ?

    • 2d

      If you understood the history of how our nation was formed, you would understand why each state has separate laws. If the states all were forced to have the same laws, each state would have an individual income tax, the same school system, the same regulation of professions, etc. and there would be no reason to have any state government.

  • If this is about roy moore I don't doubt his accusers, its not we didn't already know he doesn't have a lick or decency

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  • yeah

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