View Poll Results: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

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  • Yes, "innocent" would be a welcome addition as an option.

    11 28.95%
  • No, but we should treat "not guilty" as "innocent".

    7 18.42%
  • No, the current system works fine. ('Splain yerself, Lucy)

    18 47.37%
  • Something else.

    2 5.26%
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Thread: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

  1. #11
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Adding "innocent" as an option would actually eliminate some of the uncertainty.
    It's not about certainty, it's about doubt in the prosecution case.
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    No, but also it is not required for anyone to agree then the person was innocent.

    It is rarely possible for a person to prove being innocent beyond a reasonable doubt either.

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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    It's all just semantics.

    Armchair legal experts will still make their own decisions, regardless of how it is phrased. Fortunately, public opinions are meaningless.

  4. #14
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    I think the finding of not guilty has always been the case. It seems to me like way back in hte black and white Perry Mason days one of the shows talked about finding people not guilty but not innocent. Does the OP really think the Z man should get extra super not guilty status?
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by mak2 View Post
    I think the finding of not guilty has always been the case. It seems to me like way back in hte black and white Perry Mason days one of the shows talked about finding people not guilty but not innocent. Does the OP really think the Z man should get extra super not guilty status?
    The OP poses the question in a generic sense. GZ is not, in anyway shape or form, specified either directly or indirectly. The OP, in fact, didn't follow the trial so the OP cannot say one way or another as far as that is concerned. In spite of the fact that GZ may be the current example for many, similar situations pop up routinely over time, and public policy should NEVER be about a single case anyway, hence the generic aspect of the question.

    It should also be clarified (for those unable to understand the concept), that adding "innocent" as an option would not eliminate "not guilty" as an option.
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Why? How would adding "innocent" as an option upset anything?
    What is the legal difference in your mind between "not guilty" and "innocent" because if you are giving the jury a choice, then you will need to be able to define the difference in an objective, meaningful way or it is useless, and therefore unnecessary.

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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    In theory. Not in practical real-world application.
    And in theory adding "innocent" will help but in reality people minds are made up, and the verdict, whether it be guilty, not guilty, or innocent isn't going to change each individuals perception. By your logic we need to add "clearly guilty" verdict to persuade all those who believe that they should be acquitted to believing he/she is a criminal. Nothing we do is going to change the tunnel vision Americans have. Once they have the blinders on and decide something no manipulation of words is going to alter that opinion.
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    For those of you that cant undertad the concpet, a trial is designed to find someone guilty, or not. Finding them innocent would require standards of proof of innoence, which are not necessary if the accused is not guilty. .
    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    The OP poses the question in a generic sense. GZ is not, in anyway shape or form, specified either directly or indirectly. The OP, in fact, didn't follow the trial so the OP cannot say one way or another as far as that is concerned. In spite of the fact that GZ may be the current example for many, similar situations pop up routinely over time, and public policy should NEVER be about a single case anyway, hence the generic aspect of the question.

    It should also be clarified (for those unable to understand the concept), that adding "innocent" as an option would not eliminate "not guilty" as an option.
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  9. #19
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisher View Post
    What is the legal difference in your mind between "not guilty" and "innocent" because if you are giving the jury a choice, then you will need to be able to define the difference in an objective, meaningful way or it is useless, and therefore unnecessary.
    "Not guilty" would remain pretty much as it is now... the defendant may be guilty, but the burden of proof was not established.

    "Innocent" would be something like... not only has the burden of proof not been established, but we believe this case is ridiculous and don't buy the charges/accusations at all, hence "innocent".

    I do not believe "innocent" would be used often, but it would be a useful option to save some defendants from unnecessary additional prosecution. A factually innocent person... and they do exist... could be freed from after-the-fact political grandstanding such as civil rights violation charges, and so on.

    "Not guilty" could still leave open the potential for civil suits, etc.



    Quote Originally Posted by iacardsfan View Post
    And in theory adding "innocent" will help but in reality people minds are made up, and the verdict, whether it be guilty, not guilty, or innocent isn't going to change each individuals perception. By your logic we need to add "clearly guilty" verdict to persuade all those who believe that they should be acquitted to believing he/she is a criminal. Nothing we do is going to change the tunnel vision Americans have. Once they have the blinders on and decide something no manipulation of words is going to alter that opinion.
    You'd never be able to fix people's individual opinions and biases. The purpose would be to clean up some of the additional legal ramifications and spare some people who are indeed factually innocent from facing never-ending financial ruin from constantly having to spend every spare cent in court.
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  10. #20
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Legal culpability is predicated on guilt or innocence.
    Not necessarily. Legal culpability is based on whether you are legally responsible for your actions. That's what the insanity defense is about, and that's what the Zimmerman verdict is about -- you may have done something, but legally you aren't responsible.


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    Too bad we have to observe human rights.

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