Guilty until *you* prove your innocence (literally). Don't get busted in Florida!

This is so fucked up…

And people say liberals make for activist judges.

I mean, they’re only tossing 100+ years of due process law out the window here.

Fuck off Florida. This is bullshit.

Presumption of innocence has been a cornerstone of criminal law for a long time. It was one of the few things in law I didn’t think anyone of any stripe questioned.

Guess I was wrong.

Holy shit, this is awful. I guess I always assumed these laws were dictated by the federal government. Any change of this decision getting overturned?

It is going to be pretty easy to screw up someone’s life in Florida now. Here, sit down, let me take your coat. I’ll be right back. I just have to make a phone call.

Could this be appealed all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court?

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.

If he did say that (I haven’t bothered looking it up and will take you at your word) then by his logic he was guilty in the Wedtech scandal.

Certainly they can try.

Whether the Supreme Court will hear the case and if they do which way they would decide on this issue is sadly, these days, open to some doubt.

Come back when you understand what you’re talking about.

Hint: does the statutory rape law also require an accused to prove his innocence?

Hi. I don’t know a lot about legal issues. Do you think you could include some information with that snark?

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.

To be fair, the news article says (emphasis added):

Is that wrong?

How about this:

WaM: Hey billfish678, when you go to the store would you mind dropping off this package at my friend’s house? It’s on your way.

billfish678: Sure thing. No problem.

You then get pulled over and they find the package I gave you is filled with marijuana. You are in possession of an illegal substance.

Florida is now saying that YOU have to prove your innocence. I of course, being the dick I am, will not take the fall if I can help it and say I know nothing about this.

According the the Florida Chief Justice I would never give something like that to you without you knowing it or me trusting you so you HAD to have known you were a drug mule.

Good luck in court…

Just a WAG, but is this just a rebuttable presumption of a different character? Just indicating when the burden of proof has been shifted?

It starts with the rebuttable presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

You are then found with illegal drugs. Burden of proof has shifted and you’ve got some explaining to do.

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.

Everywhere except Florida, I guess.

This doesn’t affect the presumption of innocence, it makes possession of drugs a strict liability crime. The State will still have to prove you had the drugs.

Not that I think this ruling is right, but attacking it on the wrong grounds is stupid.

Yeah that sucks for me (like most things :slight_smile: ).

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 ? :slight_smile:

What wrong grounds?

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.

Right. And here, if the prosecution can’t prove the substance was drugs, or can’t prove that the defendant possessed them, then the defendant is acquitted.

No, the law says that if you possess the drugs you are not factually innocent, whether you know they are there or not. The prosecution still has to prove that you possess them.

Nothing has changed regarding presumption of innocence. What has changed is that the court has upheld strict liability for drug possession laws. There is no burden of proof on the defendant.

It’s very alarmist and deceptive. Perfect for the Whack-a-Moles of the world.