A primer in Innocence

I sent a version of this to WildBigSur in response to Bill Monning’s comment, but Jack has a way of censoring me, and not posting my comments, so I wanted to share this here.

Please remember, we only have allegations at this point, and we only have a very narrow, and incomplete story. All these individuals are INNOCENT until they are either found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of their peers, or they plead guilty to any possible charges, which may be much less than what they were arrested for. Family members and loved ones of those accused are reading the comments posted online at news sites, and it is adding to the pain they are already feeling. I have talked to several of them throughout the day and night, and they are in shock, pain, and reaching out to make sense of what is happening. Public comments make that harder.

My 31 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney for indigent clients has taught me that the initial charges are often times very exaggerated, and the charges actually filed by an attorney for the District Attorney’s Office may be less than what the police are asking for, and what is found true or admitted may be even less still. “Overcharging” is a common way to “force” a plea’bargain, which might not otherwise happen, and a way to keep defendants locked up in jail on outrageous bail amounts.

Be considerate and kind in your thoughts and comments. Unless you are on the jury with evidence from both sides presented to you, it is not up to us to judge.