07 Oct The Presumption of Innocence
With the recent confirmation of the new Justice Kavanaugh, one has to wonder what happened to the presumption of innocence? This is not a political issue, its an issue concerning the core of our criminal justice system
What is the Presumption of Innocence?
Most people have no idea what the presumption of innocence is, and unless you have sat on a jury deciding a criminal case, you may not understand it either. In California, there are jury instructions that are read to the jury right after they hear all of the evidence (testimony) in a criminal case. One of the most important jury instructions is Calcrim 220 which discusses the presumption of innocence and states the following:
Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
The only time the presumption of innocence shifts to guilt is when the prosecution puts on enough evidence and testimony to prove the person charged is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the HIGHEST BURDEN OF PROOF in our legal system! Calcrim 220 also explains this burden of proof: