Presumption

What’s this soap box doing here?

Presumption of innocence, otherwise known as innocent until proven guilty, is only relevant in one place; the courtroom.  It doesn’t apply to the local news.  It doesn’t apply to your neighbors.  It doesn’t apply to a national sports show, and it doesn’t apply to the police.

If you’re charged with a crime, and you choose to go to trial, the burden of proving your guilt rests solely on the prosecution.  Every member of the jury (or the judge) has to consider you innocent until the prosecutor proves otherwise.  If they can’t accomplish that, you’re acquitted.  The prosecution does this by presenting as much relevant information as they’re allowed, and trust me, there’s a lot of relevant information they’re not allowed to tell the jury.

A prosecutor has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The cops only need to believe it’s more likely than not a crime occurred.  The news only needs to know that you were arrested.  Your neighbor only has to see your neck tattoo.

If you think people shouldn’t form an opinion before they’ve heard all of the facts you’re delusional.  You’ll never hear all of the facts.  You’re also a hypocrite.  You didn’t know all of the facts when you pointed your favorite finger toward the sky and called the driver that cut you off some choice words.  Are they rude?  Are they late for work?  Is there a woman in labor in the back seat?  Are you going to follow them to their destination and politely interview them until you know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?  No.  You’re going to form an opinion and move on.

People form opinions based on the information available to them.  I’m a bald white male with a significant amount of visible tattoos.  Girl Scouts don’t ask me to buy cookies when I walk out of Safeway.  I don’t walk around whining about being judged based on my appearance.  If your urine contains enough opiates to put down a herd of elephants then people are going to form opinions.  No one has to wait for a verdict to call you heroin addict, unless of course they’re on the jury.

There are no rules in the court of public opinion.  You’re only innocent until your pee comes back hot; then all bets are off.  Sorry.

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4 Responses to Presumption

  1. Funny you should mention the tattoos – I wondered about your moniker and couldn’t decide if that meant you were writing often or actually had been inked. Now we know. =)

    • inkedcop says:

      I love tattoos; large tattoos, small tattoos, dark tattoos, bright tattoos, good tattoos, bad tattoos, it doesn’t matter. I love the imagination and artistic prowess necessary to create a beautiful tattoo. I love the stories behind bad tattoos. I love to recognize great ink as much as I love to criticize bad ink. My agency is very lenient on the subject. I can’t tattoo anything below my wrists, or anything above my collarbone. I guess I’ll have to wait until I retire to get those knuckle tattoos I’ve had a hankering for. Of course, I could always wear knuckle sleeves to cover them. It might be worth it. The neck tattoo will have to wait though; I can’t stand turtlenecks. As a cop, it helps to always have a topic of interest you can talk about with a suspect, or even a citizen. If you can get someone talking about a subject not related to a current incident it helps them open up about the incident that brought you together. My personal life is off limits, and I don’t share my other interests, but tattoos are fair game. Everyone has an opinion, and it’s an easy subject to broach, which is usually done by the subject I’m talking to. I love the culture.

      • Very cool. I’m a newly-inked engineer personally. One on my neck just below the polo neckline and another on my left inner forearm. I’m thinking I’ll probably stick to the same wrist/collar guideline myself but that leaves a lot of area to cover over the next several years.

  2. Jay says:

    Thank God public opinion is still alive and well.
    Re the knuckle tatoos you have got me curious. What would you have? Perhaps “Duck any time now”.

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