The state since her charges were overturned. A

The
presumption of innocence is important to our criminal justice system as it
remains a principal and an extension of freedom our nation relies on. Although
our criminal justice system is not perfect, the presumption of innocence is
only one way our system works to bring balance between the rights of the
individual and protecting the community.  

Last
year President Trump spoke in Long Island, New York telling Law Enforcement to
not be so nice with criminals as they are placing them in the car. Paraphrasing
for the President, he basically told the police to take their hand off the top
of their head as they are placed in the car. (Swanson, 2017) They are guilty so
it’s okay to handle them roughly. He basically threw presumption of innocence
out of the window by placing the guilt on them allowing the justification for
them to be mistreated. Although the president thinks that everyone who is
arrested is guilty, it’s not right course of action to take. If a person is
automatically presumed to be guilty of a charge that has been brought against
them, without there being proof, how is the system providing a fair trial?

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Very
often the U.S. criminal justice system along with personal prejudice and the
involvement of the media, we initially formulate guilty judgements on those who
should be presumed innocent. If I was accused of committing a crime,
I would want the people to presume my innocence rather than convicting me of a
crime without proving I’m at fault of that crime. I shouldn’t have to prove I
am innocent. Instead, it would be the prosecutors job to prove that I am
guilty.  

Nelson
v. Colorado is an example of a case in which someone’s presumption of innocence
was violated. Shannon Nelson was arrested and charged with sexual assault
crimes. However, Nelson was acquitted of all charges. As a result, she
requested to receive a refund from the state since her charges were overturned.
A trial court ordered that it did not have the authority to order her refund,
but a Colorado court of appeals reversed and ruled in her favor, ordering that
Nelson be refunded. Then the ruling of the appeals court was reversed by the Colorado
Supreme Court
ordering that Nelson pursue her refund under requirements of the state’s
Exoneration Act. With this act, it requires an exonerated person to prove their
innocence with convincing evidence in order for their money to be refunded to
them. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in the case, opposing the Colorado law that forced
people to go to court to prove their own innocence. They found this to be
unconstitutional as requiring people to prove their own innocence throws out
the presumption of innocence right. It is unlawful under the Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment. ( Findlaw’s, n.d.)

The
Constitution does not specifically mention the presumption of innocence but is
protected under the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments. The fifth amendment requires
that due process of law be part of any proceeding that denies
a citizen “life, liberty or property”. The sixth amendment protects the accused
against conviction except upon proof beyond a reasonable doubt of every fact needed
to establish the crime that is being charged. The 14th amendment
ensures the defendant’s right to a fair trial and due process, guarantees
“equal protection under the law.” (The Presumption of Innocence, (n.d.).

In
many other countries the accused are guilty until they prove their innocence,
or the government has failed to prove its case. In contrast, here in the United
States, criminals are innocent in any crime until proven guilty. The term “presumption
of innocence” is a criminal law principal that releases a person from the
burden of responsibility of proving their guilt. Instead the responsibility is
given to the prosecutor to come up with sufficient argument and evidence to
prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. (Samaha, 2016, p 47) Regardless
to the prosecution or the charges that are brought against the defendant along
with personal feelings, if guilt cannot be proven, the defendant is considered
not guilty of the crime.