Time has clouded the details, but I distinctly recall one of Reagan’s AGs (Meese?) claiming that someone accused of a crime didn’t deserve presumption of innocence because if they were innocent, they wouldn’t be accused of a crime. The term “circular logic” apparently wasn’t anywhere to be found in his legal education.
Is this a case of “we found you with illegal drugs” therefore you are guilty of being in possesion of illegal drugs? Because, if so, I thought thats how it pretty much worked already. Yeah, there was/is always a chance you were framed or in the wrong place at the wrong time. And in that case, yeah you are going to have “prove” that happened (well at least make it believable enough for the ole reasonable doubt thing to kick in).
But thats much different than we suspect you of murdering Bob therefore you are guilty unless you can prove you didn’t murder Bob.
Um…no. If the prosecution can’t prove that the act occurred, or that the victim was underage, the defendant is acquitted. It might be funny to think, in this day and age, that there might be people whose age is not known and not establishable by evidence, but such people do exist. Was the victim 17 or 18? If the prosecutor doesn’t know, the presumption of innocence wins.
But in practice I don’t really see a practical difference from what would happen in other states in a trial for por ole me.
Me: Hey, I didn’t know what was in that package!
Prosecutor: Oh, our bad! You are free to go!
Of course I have no idea of how these things go down in real court trials. How does a prosecutor “prove” you knew what was in the package? (assuming of course they didn’t actually catch you talking about it or selling it).
Now, don’t get me wrong. I would really rather prefer that to find you guilty of drug possesion you’d NEED to have very strong proof. First because I think drugs being illegal is crock and does more harm than good overall. But secondly, exactly because its easy to frame someone or make them an unknowing mule.
But it has always been my impression that regardless of what state you were in if you were found with drugs you were pretty much screwed unless you had a good cover story (which basically means “proving” your innocence anyway).
Again though, is that impression wrong? Has CSI and Law and Order been misleading me all these years ?
Instead of presuming you are innocent and the prosecutor having to make his/her case it now becomes incumbent upon the accused to prove they are innocent.
Obviously if you are caught with drugs in your possession you will be arrested. That is the job of the police. Then you go to court and certainly you have one thing already going against you…you were in possession of an illegal drug. However, now it is up to YOU to prove you didn’t know you were in possession of the drugs. Prior to this the prosecutor had to make that case beyond a reasonable doubt. No longer in Florida.
Establishing reasonable doubt is a much lower hurdle for the accused to achieve than proving they are actually innocent.
The burden is moved from the state to the accused so presumption of innocence is not in play anymore.